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Q:

How does the length of the wing and width affect how a plane flies?

A:

 

Aspect Ratio is the ratio of the length of a wing to its width. Long, thin, narrow wings have a higher Aspect Ratio. Short, wide, stubby wings have a lower Aspect ratio. Defined mathematically

 

Aspect ratio = wing length (m)/wing width (m).

 

The Lockheed U2 spy plane with long, thin, narrow wings having a high Aspect Ratio, can stay aloft much longer which is good for photo reconnaissance. An F4-Phantom II military fighter plane with short, wide, stubby wings having a lower Aspect Ratio, can turn much more quickly which is useful in aerial combat. For more information on the Lockheed U2 spy plane and the F4-Phantom II, military fighter, visit www.airandspace.si.edu/collections.

 

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Categories: Aerodynamics