Flight of a Glider

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This Demonstration shows the flight path of a glider, depending on the initial velocity of the plane, its release angle, and the plane's drag coefficient . The flight is governed by Lanchester's system of autonomous nonlinear differential equations:




where is the velocity of the plane at a given time and is the angle between the horizontal and the plane at time . The plot shows the distance traveled versus the height of the plane above the ground.


Contributed by: Helmut Knaust (January 2013)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA




[1] F. W. Lanchester, Aerial Flight: Aerodonetics, London: Constable, 1908.

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