# Plane flying in a straight line

• justice25
In summary, the conversation discusses the forces acting on an aircraft flying in a straight line. The question arises whether there are no forces acting on the aircraft or if there is an upward force acting on it. The individual, who wants to be a pilot in the future, is trying to understand the concept of aerodynamics. They suggest that there is equal lift and equal weight acting on the plane, resulting in no net force. However, there are still forces present, with weight and lift being two of them. The conversation concludes with a warm welcome to the individual joining the discussion.
justice25
If an aircraft is flying in a straight line, are there no forces acting on it, or is there an upward force acting on it?

Last edited:
What do you think? (I assume you mean in a straight line with constant speed.)

What do Newton's laws tell you?

Hello, thank you for the reply.

I'm only 11 years old, but I want to be a pilot when I'm older so I'm trying to learn what I can about aerodynamics and I came across this question, please go easy on me

I think from what I've read, that there is equal lift and equal weight, so there is no resultant force, but the question asks "are there any forces acting on the plane?" so I'm just a bit confused about what to answer, thank you for your time.

I think you've got it: The key is that since the plane is moving in a straight line at constant speed there is no net force on it. But there are certainly forces acting on it. Weight and lift are two of them.

Welcome to PF, by the way.

## What is the physics behind plane flying in a straight line?

The physics behind plane flying in a straight line is based on the principle of lift, which is created by the shape of the wings and the speed of the aircraft. As the plane moves forward, the air flows over the curved upper surface of the wing, creating an area of low pressure. This difference in pressure between the upper and lower surfaces of the wing creates lift, allowing the plane to stay in the air and travel in a straight line.

## How does a pilot maintain a straight line during flight?

A pilot maintains a straight line during flight by using the plane's control surfaces, such as the ailerons, elevator, and rudder. The ailerons control the roll of the plane, the elevator controls the pitch, and the rudder controls the yaw. By making precise adjustments to these control surfaces, the pilot can keep the plane on a straight and level path.

## What factors can cause a plane to deviate from a straight line?

Several factors can cause a plane to deviate from a straight line, including wind, turbulence, and changes in air density. These external forces can affect the lift and drag on the plane, causing it to veer off course. Additionally, mechanical issues or pilot error can also contribute to a plane deviating from its intended path.

## Can a plane fly in a straight line without a pilot?

Yes, a plane can fly in a straight line without a pilot through the use of autopilot systems. These systems use computer algorithms and sensors to maintain the plane's heading and altitude, allowing it to fly on a predetermined course. However, a pilot is still necessary for takeoff, landing, and handling any unexpected situations that may arise during the flight.

## Why do planes sometimes fly in curved paths instead of straight lines?

Planes may fly in curved paths instead of straight lines due to several reasons. One reason is to avoid turbulence or bad weather. Another reason is to follow air traffic control instructions and stay on a designated flight path. Additionally, during takeoff and landing, planes often follow curved paths to align with the runway or avoid obstacles on the ground.

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