For those of us who fly, we know our ability to fly is predicated on mathematics and air. In other words, to fly you must have lift and to generate lift, you have to have a lot of air pressure. Mathematically, we can express the lift equation in many ways. One essential element of the math involves the concept of “q.”
Another way of expressing q is by the term “airspeed.” Aeronautical engineers also refer to q or airspeed as “dynamic pressure.” Fighter pilots sometimes refer to it as “smack.” All of these terms refer to the same concept of a mighty blast of wind.
When we speak of wind as aviators, most of the time we are talking about dealing “relative wind.” When pilots talk of relative wind, what we are referring to is the wind generated by the movement of our vehicle through the atmosphere. Relative wind is always directly in the opposite direction of the movement of the vehicle.
The first time we become aware of relative wind is when, as a child, we stick our hand outside the window of the car as our fathers drove down the highway. What we discovered, even at that young age, was that the faster our dad drove, the greater the wind pulled on our hand. We may have even discovered the concept of angle-of-attack; by playing around with our hand out the window, we might have found that when we put the front of our hand at a higher angle than the back of our hand, the force of the wind actually lifted our arm.
A group of people went beyond the engineering and decided to make something they could use just for fun in capturing this idea of high dynamic pressure. Oh yes, they were also able to use it to train for “relative work” (RW) in sky diving.
Still, others turned it into an art form.
My friend, Mike, sent me an e-mail with this YouTube hyperlink. The depth of the human imagination is amazing! This involves mathematics, engineering, athletics, choreography, mechanics, music, and dance.
Turn up the volume on your computer and make the screen big.
(Found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkDLLpSB0Vs.)
©2011 J. Clark