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Dec 09 2012

A Wing is an Odd Thing

20121209-085914.jpg“And a wing is an odd thing. Strangely behaved, hard to understand, tricky to handle. In many important aspects, a wing’s behavior is exactly contrary to common sense. On wings it is safe to be high, dangerous to be low; safe to go fast, dangerous to go slow. Generally speaking, if you want the airplane to go up, you point its nose up; but point its nose up a little to much, and you go down in a stall or a spin. In landing an airplane, to make it sink down on the runway and stay down, you move the controls much as for an extreme upward zoom. In the glide, in you want to descend more steeply, you point your airplane’s nose down less steeply; if you want to descend less steeply, you point the airplane’s nose down more steeply! And – most spectacular contrariness of all – in emergencies, when the airplane is sinking toward the ground in a “mush” or falling in a stall or spin, and you are afraid of crashing into the ground, the only way to keep it from crashing is to point its nose down and dive at the ground, as if you wanted to crash!”

-Wolfgang Langewiesche
“Stick and Rudder”

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