How to Apply Newton's laws of motion to landings with NASA

Want to know about Newton's three laws of motion and how they affect aircraft landings? NASA has answers. NASA, aka the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, tells how Newton's laws apply to landings. There's no better place to learn from than the juggernaut of space exploration.

This NASA video segment from "Flight Testing Newton's Laws" explores how Newton's laws apply to landing an airplane. Viewers watch an instructor at NASA's National Test Pilot School and learn that landing an airplane involves three phases, that the airplane's mass and touchdown velocity determine the necessary runway length, and that smooth landings require pilot skill in balancing forces. The instructor explains how to calculate the minimal runway length. This video is comprised of the following segments:

The Landing: Approach

Watch an instructor at NASA's National Test Pilot School and learn that the approach is the first phase of landing an airplane, that the flaps on an airplane's wings help decrease the speed of the aircraft, and that the curvature of the wings helps keep the airplane aloft at slower speeds.

The Landing: Flare

Watch an instructor at NASA's National Test Pilot School explain what happens during the flare phase of landing and how mistakes in a pilot's timing can make landing impossible.

The Landing: Rollout

Watch an instructor at NASA's National Test Pilot School explain that during the rollout phase of landing, the biggest concern is runway length. Viewers also learn about various braking mechanisms used to stop large commercial airplanes on a runway and jets on an aircraft carrier.

The Landing: Summary

See an instructor at NASA's National Test Pilot School explain that each step of an airplane's landing can be described with physics. Viewers also learn that a test pilot's job is to find the optimal methods for landing an aircraft.

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