Share

Forces of Flight on this Page

This indicator shows which forces of flight are covered on this page.

Gravity & Air

Understanding the basics—gravity and air—is key.

To rise above it all, you have to face some facts:

You must grapple with gravity no matter how or where you fly, because gravity is everywhere—you can’t escape it. You can’t ignore air either. Air is “stuff” that you must fly through, and it produces two forces of flight: lift and drag. 

Space Shuttle Discovery, photographed from the International Space Station, against the backdrop of the blue and white Earth.
Credit: NASA

Ask an Explainer

Have a question about How Things Fly? Ask our knowledgeable Explainers your question or browse previous questions and answers.

Distance Challenge

6,586,732 miles flown

How far can your plane fly in 30 days? Start a flight and see!

Take Flight!

Create Your Own Paper Airplane

It's easy. Just choose your airplane body style, select a design and insignia and then print, fly, and share it.

Begin