Here's a page for you to explore the relative velocity between an
aircraft in flight, the ground, and the air through which the
airplane moves. In this animation, the white clouds move relative to
the ground at the wind speed, the airplane moves relative to the
ground at the ground speed, and the airplane moves relative to the
air at the airspeed. Airspeed is the important velocity for the
generation of lift and drag.
Both aircraft have the same airspeed (160 mph). The top aircraft
flies with the 40 mph wind, so its ground speed is 200 mph.
(Airpseed = Ground Speed - Wind Speed; 160 = 200 - 40 ). The lower
aircraft flies into the 40 mph wind, so its ground speed is only 120 mph.
(160 = 120 - (-40) ).
More information about these velocities
is given on the Relative Velocity
- Beginner's Guide Home Page