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The simplicity of flight
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Human powered flight
Imagine you have a school project to build a human powered plane.
You test your best athlete and discover that he can turn out 250 watts for a sustained period. He weighs 60kg. You decide you can build a plane weighing 40kg with a finesse of 20.
So your total weight will be
100kg (1,000 newtons) and your
drag 50 newtons (1,000 ÷ 20).
If your drag is 50 newtons
and power is 250 watts,
your speed will be 250 ÷ 50 or 5m/sec.
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The Equations of Flight
wing area & weight |  weight & velocity |  finesse & power |  human powered flight
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At 5m/sec, with a weight of 1,000 newtons, how big do your wings need to be?
s = w ÷ (0.3 x 1.25 x v²)
= 1,000 ÷ (0.3 x 1.25 x 5²)
= 100m²
w = weight
0.3 = lift coefficient
d = air density    v = velocity
s = wing area