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Calculating Range for a Constant Velocity Activity
If so instructed by your teacher, print out a worksheet page for these problems.

Open the slide called Range - Constant Velocity. Read the information on this page. Pay special attention to the four forces affecting an airplane. Open the link Unbalanced Forces and observe the animation of how flight is affected by the change in these forces. When these force are equal, the airliner is said to be a Cruising Airliner and velocity is a constant. If we assume the condition of a cruising airliner, then we can calculate velocity, distance (range), and time using the equation given on the top of the Range page. This equation is d = V t .

Following the directions given in the introduction to the activity, you have investigated some properties of air travel. You have learned that for an airplane traveling at a constant velocity and for a given amount of time, we can calculate the distance the airplane will travel. Also, if given any of the two variables of velocity, distance, and time, you can solve an equation for the missing variable.

  1. In this activity, you will take a virtual flight in an airplane. You must first decide the city from which you are flying, and in which city you will be landing. Visit this Web site to determine the distance you will be traveling.
    (Use the back button located on your browser to return)
    Beginning city: ______________

    Destination city: _____________

    Distance traveled = _______________ miles

    Convert distance traveled from miles to kilometers (hint: 1 mile = 1.6 km)

    d = ______________ miles = ______________ km

  3. Different airlines have different maximum velocities. Two Boeing airliners are shown below.
    Choose the plane on which you would like to fly and find the maximum velocity for that airliner.
  4. Boeing 737

    Boeing 747 - 400

    Boeing 737-300
    Boeing 747-400


  5. Indicate the airliner on which you will be flying and record its maximum speed. (You may need our on-line calculator to calculate the velocity from the Mach number and altitude).

    Boeing 737-300 v = __________ km/h

    Boeing 747-400 v = __________ km/h



  7. Now that you have values for the velocity and distance variables, use the formula from the Range
    page to calculate how long the flight will take you. (Remember the values you are using are
    averages. Do not consider time for take off and landing).

    t = __________ km / __________ km/h = __________ hrs.




  9. Where in the world are Orville and Wilbur going now?

    Orville and his brother Wilbur stepped onto a plane in Cleveland,Ohio, and flew on a Boeing 737-300
    for about 4 hours. Use the
    distance page to find out where in the world they are.

    What was Oriville and Wilbur's first destination? (Circle the correct answer.)

    1. a) Miami, FL

      b) Los Angeles, CA

      c) San Antonio, TX




  11. The Concorde is a supersonic jet which flies people at Mach 2 (that's twice as fast as the speed of sound!). It takes the Concorde about 3 hours to fly from New York City to London, England. The Concorde flies at about 1350 m/hr.

    Use this information to make the following calculations:

    1. a. Convert m/hr to km/h (remember 1 mile = 1.6 km) 1350 m/hr = ________ km/hr

      b. Use the d = velocity X time formula to figure out the approximate distance between
      New York City and London.

      d = __________ km

Related Pages:
Lesson Index
Aerodynamics Index


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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Thu, May 13 02:38:26 PM EDT 2021

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