Introductio to AeroSpace 04

OPENING QUESTION:  Is it possible for ALL the forces acting on an airplane to be balanced AND for the plane to be flying straight and level?




  • Thurst ("forward pushing force")
  • Air Friction ("resists forward motion")
  • Lift ("Lower pressure, upward pull")
  • Gravity ("downward pull")




Let's Review our persuasive argument presentation. Any questions?

Let's take a VERY quick look at our list of planes...

Here's kind of an interesting thought, could you put a Messerschmitt 262 jet engine on Charles Lindberg's plane?

Why or why not?


As we just discussed, the enemy of all flying things is weight. The more weight the plane has, the more thrust it has to have to increase airflow over the wings to increase. However, adding more engines greatly increases the mass and we are back to a weight problem again...

How did builders (ESPECIALLY between WWI and WWII) solve that problem?


Here's the bomber that the US flew during the early years of WWII:



Let's now compare those specifications with the bomber flying at the END of WWII-- The B-24 "Liberator"


B29 SuperFortress

First Flew: 1944 Payload: 2000 lbs Range: 5592 miles
Altitude: 30,000 Total Weight: 74,500 lb Speed: 350 mph
Wingspan: 141 ft Length: 99 feet Engines: 4


Now let's compare that to the venerable B-52 "Stratofortress": The bomber that first flew in the late 1950's and is STILL in service today:

First Flew: 1955 Payload: 70,000 lbs Range:
Altitude 43,000 ft Total Weight: 490,000 Speed: 500 mph
Wingspan: 185 ft Length: 159 feet Engines: 8


And finally the B-2: Interesting note-- It is often quoted that the B-2 Bomber would be cheaper if it were made out of solid gold. If we take away gas and bombs and such the raw weight of the plane is 158,100 lbs.

There are 16 ounces in one pound so the B2 weighs (158,100 lbs) x (16 oz/lb) = 2,529,600 ounces.

Today's price for gold is $1,226.60

So... 2,529,600 ounces x $1,226.60/ounce = $3,102,807,360

Now... if we take the total cost of all maintenance, building, supplying, spare parts and such it turns out the cost-per-plane for the B2 Bomber is $3,140,000,000

So, if we factor in all associated costs with building the B2 then it would pretty much be worth its weight in GOLD

Let's mush on

Fun Fact: The B-2 bomber would be cheaper if it were built out of solid gold (calculating all costs such as development, spare parts testing etc... for 21 aircraft built = $3.1 billion per plane). If we take the maximum takeoff weight -- including gas and bombs and such as a base, it would be worth around $400 million if it were made out of solid gold.

First Flew: 1989 Payload: 40,000 lbs Range: 6,000 miles
Altitude: 50,000 ft Total Wt: 376,000 lb Speed: 630 mph
Wingspan: 172 ft Length: 69 ft Engines: 4