Abi Coates – How to build a glider


Hello my name is Abi and I work at
Airbus where we design aircraft. Now today I want to talk to you about the
problem where one day we will have no more fossil fuels. So the aircraft that we see
flying above our heads, they rely very heavily on fuel and one
day we wouldn’t have that so, what can we use instead? Now here I have an elastic band
as you are well aware of and you can store potential elastic energy by pulling it
back and of course when you release it, ping, you transfer the potential
energy which you’ve stored into the kinetic energy of the elastic band,
which you can fire people, which is great fun Now, I want to talk to you about aircraft
design and how we can potentially apply that in the future. So here we have an
aircraft, as you will recognise and this is a glider so this is specifically for
aircraft which will fly really really long distances, but crucially, as you can see, no engines.
So with an aircraft which just uses gravity and the shape of the wing to
produce enough lift, we need to focus on reducing the drag. So as you can see we
have extremely long wings they’re quite thin which reduces the drag and means
that the large surface area produces enough lift to keep this aircraft in the
sky. Now here I have made a little glider, this is something that you can do at
home very easily. I made this in the office with some tea stirrers and some card.
So I use some of these principles that I use in the office and my work into
making this glider. So as you can see the first thing I looked at was the centre
of gravity. Now in order for it to to not no dive, or do a tail up and then stall,
you need to have the centre of gravity just at the back of the wing there, so
it’s just behind where the lift is from the wing, from the wings. So you want to
have it about thereish, like so. I also, like this glider here which I
spoke about, you want a really, really large wingspan, in order to have enough
lift to fly. At the back here I’ve got a tail so I’ve got a vertical tail plane
there, which keeps it stable in the air so it doesn’t roll from side to side and
also got horizontal tail plane as well for the same reason. So using the elastic
potential energy we spoke about earlier we can launch such a glider and fire it,
just like that. Thank you for watching. For more information about our schools
workshop, Keep calm, I’m an engineer! Check out our website, and connect with us
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