How Do Airplanes Actually Fly? 🛩️

Henry Belcaster
Henry Belcaster
3 min read

Morning Orville!

That was Durd on the first ever airplane.

Oops. Sorry Durd.

In theory, though, how does a heavy airplane like that actually fly?

Let’s cut to modern day and look at Durd trying to take off with his Boeing 737:


We really cut the aviation budget here at Smart Nonsense, didn’t we?

Luckily if Durd can get going fast enough, it doesn’t really matter.

See, air is a fluid.

It’s just way less dense than liquids like water, but its fluid-y principles are the same:

Okay, but ya. That’s the problem!

How the f*ck do you make an airplane lighter than air??

Okay, back to Durd.

Just start moving, dammit.




Okay, now zoom in on Durd’s wing:

And make the air visible, please.

As you can see, as Durd moves down the runway, the airplane wing starts affecting the fluid air around it.

The lines are all bent.

Some air goes above the wing:

Some air goes below the wing:

Now, the air above the wing is accelerated by the wing’s curve.

This causes it to move much faster than the air below the wing.

Faster moving air molecules means less molecules are colliding with one another.

Less molecules colliding with one another means there’s a lower pressure.

And in the case of Durd’s wing, lower pressure above and higher pressure below means the wing will experience a force upward!


Physics is doing it, Durd.

Stay Cute,
Henry & Dylan 🌈

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