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Aviation Basics

Forces of Flight

Thrust is created by the engines. As propeller blades push air through the engine (or as jet fuel is combusted to accomplish the same end), the aircraft moves forward. As the wings cut through the air in front of the aircraft, lift is created. This is the force that pushes an aircraft up into the air.

Lift occurs because air flows both over and under the surface of the wing. The wing is designed so that the top surface is "longer" than the bottom surface in any given crosssection. In other words, the distance between points A to B is greater along the top of the wing than under it. The air moving over the wing must travel from A to B in the same amount of time. Therefore, the air is moving faster along the top of the wing.

Drag opposes thrust. Although it mainly occurs because of air resistance as air flows around the wing, several different types of drag exist. Drag is mainly created by simple skin friction as air molecules "stick" to the wing's surface. Smoother surfaces incur less drag, while bulky structures create additional drag.

Gravity is actually a force of acceleration on an object. The Earth exerts this natural force on all objects. Being a constant force, it always acts in the same direction: downward. Thrust creates lift to counteract gravity. In order for an aircraft to take off, enough lift must be created to overcome the force of gravity pushing down on the aircraft.

G-Force A "G" is a measurement of force that is equal to the force of gravity pushing down on a stationary object on the earth's surface. Gravitational force actually refers to an object's weight (Force equals Mass times Acceleration, or F = ma.). An aircraft flying level at low altitudes experiences 1G. Extra G-forces in any direction can be artificially created by sudden changes in velocity or in the direction of motion.


Global Applications

How Airline Freight Works

You can ship just about anything by air. Letters, packages, cars, horses, construction equipment and even other airplanes can be shipped air freight.

Air freight can be separated into three main categories:

1. Freight that rides on passenger airlines

2. Freight that rides on dedicated cargo planes

3. Huge payloads that ride in super cargo planes

How your packages are shipped

When a package is shipped on your flight, it is usually consolidated with other packages and freight and packed into special containers that fit in the storage area under the passenger compartment. For instance, a Boeing 747-400 (one of the largest passenger planes) can hold 416 passengers along with 5,330 cubic feet (150 m3) of cargo. That's about as much cargo as can fit in two semi-truck trailers.


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

UAV Technology - How Drones Work

A typical unmanned aircraft is made of light composite materials to reduce weight and increase maneuverability. This composite material strength allows military drones to cruise at extremely high altitudes.

Radar Positioning

Many of the latest drones have dual Global Navigational Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS and GLONASS. Drones can fly in both GNSS and non satellite modes. Highly accurate drone navigation is very important when flying and in drone applications such as to build 3D maps, surving landscape and SAR (Search and Rescue) missions.

Gyro Stabilization

Gyro stabilization technology is one of the components which gives the drone its smooth flight capabilities. The gyroscope needs to work almost instantly to the forces moving against the drone. The gyroscope provides essential navigational information to the central flight controller.


Career Choices

Careers in Aviation

Those who dream of hitting the skies can do so for a living, whether it be in the pilot’s seat or on the ground. Careers in aviation offer many opportunities for advancement in piloting, engineering and mechanics, airport operations, and aircraft manufacturing. These jobs often take place in commercial airlines, private manufacturing companies, airports, and government organizations. Many aviation and aerospace manufacturing companies hire technicians and engineers to perform repairs and maintenance services on various types of aircraft before they are sold. Others may need technicians to perform tests and develop new elements for various aircraft. Those with a strong background and a degree in mathematics, science or industrial engineering may fare particularly well in aviation.

Aviation Job Outlook

Air traffic is expected to increase gradually through 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which means job prospects and opportunities for commercial and private airline pilots, aircraft manufacturers, and those employed by airports look promising. Newer aircraft are expected to require less maintenance than older models, which may limit job opportunities for certain types of aviation mechanics and avionics professionals.

Skills to learn

Many jobs in the aviation field are highly technical in nature and require a strong background in mathematics, engineering, and related fields. Most position require working as a team with other engineers and aviation professionals so strong communication and interpersonal skills are essential for handling day-to-day job duties. Strong attention to detail and being able to follow rules and protocol are also essential skills to have in any aviation job. Almost all aviation professionals need to have at least a high school diploma or bachelor’s degree to enter this field. Completing an FAA-approved training program is mandatory for certain positions — the Airframe and/or Powerplant (A and P) Certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration is a basic requirement for aircraft maintenance technicians and can be a valuable certificate to have when working in aviation mechanics and engineering. Many companies and employers provide hands-on training for new employees and encourage employees to grow with the company by investing in additional training programs.



Colleges and Universities

Many colleges and universities offer excellent aviation-related programs that will launch you into an aviation career. Explore what these schools have to offer!

Associates Degrees

While you earn the Associate of Science or the Associate of Applied Science degree, you will also earn the FAA ratings required to become a professional pilot. Specifically, the private pilot certificate, instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, multi-engine rating (airplane track), and the Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) certificate. Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII) certificate and Multiengine Instructor (MEI) ratings are optional. Helicopter students will earn the private pilot certificate, instrument rating, commercial pilot certificate, and the Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) certificate. The Unmanned Aerial Systems Program is designed to provide the graduate an Associates of Applied Science Degree, and the level of training currently being used by the unmanned aerial systems industry. Program requirements will reflect FAA, and industry standards to the greatest extent possible.

Aviator College of Aeronautical Science and Technology (ACAST)

The mission of Aviator College of Aeronautical Science and Technology (ACAST) is to provide educational opportunities that emphasize the skills, knowledge and experience that will allow the student to adjust through a lifetime of technological and social change.



Val Archer

Barrington Irving

Tuskegee Airmen

Dr. Bernard Harris

Bessie Coleman

Mae Jemison

Alexander Jefferson

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