Aerodynamics of Flight

Aerodynamics is the study of the dynamics of gases, the interaction between a moving object and the atmosphere. The movement of an object and its reaction to the air flow around it can be seen when watching water passing the bow of a ship. The major difference between water and air is that air is compressible and water is incompressible. The action of the airflow over a body is a large part of the study of aerodynamics.

The term aerodynamics is derived from the combination of two Greek words: “aero,” meaning air, and “dyne,” meaning force of power. Thus, when “aero” joins “dynamics” the result is “aerodynamics”—the study of objects in motion through the air and the forces that produce or change such motion.

This section presents aerodynamic fundamentals and principles as they apply to helicopters. The content relates to flight operations and performance of normal flight tasks. It covers theory and application of aerodynamics for the pilot, whether in flight training or general flight operations.

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