My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 8 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Tell me, mummy ... How do aeroplanes stay in the sky?

Week 4 of our linky, Tell me, mummy ...?, and she keeps them coming!
Every day, Munch asks hundreds of questions! Ok, so I can't provide answers for every single one, I mean, how am I supposed to know who let the chicken out near the road, or why he wanted to cross it in the first place?! Some of her questions are pretty random. But they're questions all the same, and it shows that our little girls is developing a true sense of curiosity and intrigue, and she is no longer accepting everything she sees at face value. An answer of "it just is" is no longer sufficient for her, and she needs to know WHY all of the time.

Hence the birth of Tell me, mummy ...?

This week, she has shown a particular interest in aeroplanes. We've been seeing a lot of them this week. Of course, it's the summer holiday season, and the warm weather we have been having means the sky is particularly clear and the planes are easily visible. We're not a million miles away from the nearest airport either, so activity in the sky is quite regular during the day.

"How do aeroplanes stay in the sky, mummy?"

It has always fascinated me, how something as huge and heavy as a Boeing 747 can leave the runway and take to the sky with such ease and grace! Munch has never been on a plane. I didn't for the first time until I was 15 years old, when I flew to Florida with my family. However, she gets very excited when she sees one in the sky, especially if it is flying low or if we are out in the car and see one coming in to land, catching it as it disappears behind the trees.

What was really bothering Munch about aeroplanes was the fact that they seem to defy everything she has learned recently about gravity. We talked about her confusion a little more ...

"Birds stay in the sky because they flap their wings. That takes them higher and higher. But planes don't have wings that flap. If a bird just opened his wings and jumped out of a tree, he would fall if he didn't flap them!"

I really like the fact that she is using what she knows about other things that fly and relating it to this current problem. I wanted to answer this one the best I could, so I remembered my dad explaining it to me when we were sitting on that Florida-bound plane, cruising through the clouds.

"In the air, there are 'plates', almost like invisible shelves in the sky. Aeroplanes position their wings so they 'sit' on these shelves and this keeps them in the sky, cruising at a consistent height. Although a plane doesn't 'flap' its wings like a bird, parts of the wings do change angle to allow the plane to travel upwards, downwards and to change direction."

She was particularly interested in the idea of the wings of a plane having parts that moved around in the air, which meant we spent the next 30 minutes looking at pictures of different aeroplane wings! Google, you were my friend that day!!

Whilst doing that, I looked up a proper explanation as to how aeroplanes stay in the air ...

"Four forces keep an airplane in the sky. They are lift, weight, thrust and drag.

Lift pushes the airplane up. The way air moves around the wings gives the airplane lift. The shape of the wings helps with lift, too.

Weight is the force that pulls the airplane toward Earth. Airplanes are built so that their weight is spread from front to back. This keeps the airplane balanced.

Thrust is the force that moves the airplane forward. Engines give thrust to airplanes. Sometimes an engine turns a propeller. Sometimes it is a jet engine. It doesn't matter as long as air keeps going over the wings.

Drag slows the airplane. You can feel drag when you walk against a strong wind. Airplanes are designed to let air pass around them with less drag.

An airplane flies when all four forces work together. But, most airplanes need one more thing: They need a pilot to fly them!"

This week's explanation has been taken from NASA.

I'm not entirely sure if my explanation was close or not?!! What do you think ...?

Well, that was Week 4 of our new linky, "Tell me, Mummy", done. We would love for you to join in and share the big, difficult, embarrassing questions that your little ones have asked you. Did you offer an answer? We're you left speechless? Did your quest for a response lead you to some amazing resources that you'd like to share with others? Whatever it is, if it relates to one of the millions of questions our children ask us, it has a place here! Just enter yourself on the linky and grab the badge code below to add to the bottom of your post! For a more detailed explanation of what Tell me, mummy is all about, take a look here.

Tell me mummy

See you next week!