# BTEC HND Level 3 Unit 48: Aircraft Flight Principles and Practice Assignments Example

In this unit, learners will develop an understanding of the principles that govern aircraft flight. They will learn about the airflow around a wing and how it creates lift and the principles of stability and control. Learners will also study the operation of aircraft engines and the use of navigation aids. This unit also covers the principles of safe flight, including aircraft collision avoidance. In this unit, we will explore the principles of flight and some of the physics that make it possible. We will also look at how engineers design aircraft to take advantage of these principles.

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## Assignment Activity 1: Examine the atmospheric, mechanical, and fluid principles affecting flight.

Atmospheric pressure: The Earth’s atmosphere is a vital factor in the flight of an aircraft. The higher the altitude, the thinner the atmosphere. This means that there is less air to provide lift and thrust. At high altitudes, the air is also colder and less dense.

The International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) is a model of the Earth’s atmosphere, which is used by pilots and air traffic controllers. The ISA defines the atmospheric pressure, temperature, and density at various altitudes.

The atmosphere exerts pressure on everything it surrounds. This pressure is greatest at the Earth’s surface and decreases as you go up in altitude. The higher you go, the less atmospheric pressure there is. This is why high-altitude aircraft need pressurized cabins – to maintain healthy air pressure for the passengers and crew.

Mechanical forces: Aircraft wings are designed to create a lifting force by exploiting the mechanical principle of Bernoulli’s theorem. This states that when fluid flow is constricted, its speed increases. The high speed of the air over the top of the wing creates a low-pressure region, which sucks the wing up.

Fluid dynamics: The airflow around a wing is a complex interaction of fluids (air and water) in motion. The shape of the wing, the angle of attack, and the speed of the aircraft all affect the way the air flows over and around it. This gives the aircraft its lifting force and stability in flight.

## Assignment Activity 2: Explore safely the lift and drag force generation and interaction that create aircraft flight.

Lift force: An aircraft wing is designed to create a lifting force by exploiting the mechanical principle of Bernoulli’s theorem. This states that when fluid flow is constricted, its speed increases. The high speed of the air over the top of the wing creates a low-pressure region, which sucks the wing up.

The lift force is generated by the difference in air pressure between the upper and lower surfaces of the wing. This difference is greatest at the wingtips, so the lift force is strongest there. The lift force acts perpendicular to the direction of flight, lifting the aircraft upward.

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Drag force: The drag force is created by the resistance of air to move. It opposes the aircraft’s forward motion, slowing it down. The drag force is greatest at the front of the aircraft and decreases as you move back.

The amount of drag a wing generates is determined by its shape and size, and the speed of the aircraft. A large, flat wing will generate more drag than a small, curved one. And a high-speed aircraft will create more drag than a low-speed one.

The lift and drag forces interact with each other to create the motion of the aircraft. The lift force acts perpendicular to the direction of flight, while the drag force acts in the opposite direction. The combination of these forces determines the speed and direction of flight.

## Assignment Activity 3: Investigate the nature and methods used to stabilize and control aircraft.

Fixed-wing aircraft stability: A fixed-wing aircraft is stable in flight if it is unaffected by wind gusts and minor changes in the airflow. This is because the lift and drag forces are in equilibrium, with no net force acting on the aircraft.

An aircraft is unstable if the lift and drag forces are not in equilibrium. This can cause the aircraft to yaw ( rotate about its vertical axis) or roll ( rotate about its long axis). An unstable aircraft is difficult to control and can be dangerous.

An aircraft is said to be in trim if the lift and drag forces are in equilibrium. The aircraft’s controls (such as the rudder and ailerons) are used to adjust its trim so that it is stable in flight.

Fixed-wing aircraft control: Fixed-wing aircraft are controlled by the movement of their flight control surfaces. The most common flight control surfaces are the rudder, ailerons, and elevator.

• The rudder is used to turn the aircraft left or right. It is located at the rear of the aircraft and is hinged to the tail.
• The ailerons are used to roll the aircraft left or right. They are located on the trailing edge of the wings and are attached to a movable linkage.
• The elevator is used to pitch the aircraft up or down. It is located at the front of the aircraft and is attached to a movable linkage.

Aircraft stability and control systems: Aircraft stability and control systems are used to stabilize and control the aircraft. These systems include the autopilot, stability augmentation system (SAS), and fly-by-wire system.

The autopilot is a computer-controlled system that maintains the aircraft’s flight path and altitude. It is used to fly the aircraft manually or to automatically land it.

The stability augmentation system (SAS) is used to improve the aircraft’s stability. It senses the aircraft’s attitude and motion and sends signals to the autopilot to correct any errors.

The fly-by-wire system is a computer-controlled system that replaces the traditional manual controls with electronic signals. This provides more stable and accurate control of the aircraft.

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