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General Aviation: An Introduction to Flight

            On a day-to-day basis people like you and I choose to take to the skies for varying reasons. Some reluctantly, others with no concern for their safety at all. Fear is often associated with flying in general. Many of us have fears associated with the loss of loved ones; some others have fear as a result of the media. Whatever your reason for fearing aviation is you must remember that you are placing your trust into the hands of someone that you probably haven't even met before. Can this be avoided? Do we have to blindly place our trust into the hands of an unknown someone? The answer is yes. However, through education on the basic concepts of aviation I hope to reduce the fears that many people have concerning aviation and provide an insight to aviation in our future.
             Flight Principles and Aircraft Operation.
             Understanding the principles by which an airplane flies is crucial to becoming a proficient pilot. Pilots log hundreds, even thousands of hours in aircraft of various types before they are considered to be proficient. Proficiency in aviation is not so much of an intellectual reward. Rather pilots who have logged thousands of hours and encountered unfavorable flying conditions are considered to be proficient. That is, experience is what separates a good pilot from all others. However, the art of flying is not really as sophisticated as most people believe. In fact, it is rather simple to operate an airplane once one understands how airplanes fly and what a pilot must do to maneuver them. .
             The Four Forces of Flight.
             How airplanes fly may be the most difficult aspect of aviation for people to understand. In aviation, we are basically concerned with four forces. Thrust, drag, lift, and weight are the four forces that act on airplanes and are often referred to as vectors. For our purposes it is easiest to pair these forces together. Thrust and drag oppose one another as does lift and weight.

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