Flight is the process by which an object moves, through an atmosphere (the air in the case of earth) or beyond it (as in the case of spaceflight) without direct support from any surface. This can be achieved by generating aerodynamic lift, propulsive thrust, aerostatically using buoyancy, or by ballistic movement.

An aerostat is a system that remains aloft primarily through the use of buoyancy to give an aircraft the same overall density as air. Aerostats include free balloons, airships, and moored balloons. An aerostat’s main structural component is its envelope, a lightweight skin containing a lifting gas to provide buoyancy, to which other components are attached.

Humans have managed to construct lighter than air vehicles that raise off the ground and fly, due to their buoyancy in air.
Humans have managed to construct lighter than air vehicles that raise off the ground and fly, due to their buoyancy in air.

Flying fish can glide using enlarged wing-like fins, and have been observed soaring for hundreds of meters. It is thought that this ability was chosen by natural selection because it was an effective means of escape from underwater predators. The longest recorded flight of a flying fish was 45 seconds.

Aircraft and Rotorcraft

A heavier than air craft, known as an aerodyne, includes flighted animals and insects, fixed-wing aircraft and rotorcraft. Because the craft is heavier than air, it must generate lift to overcome its weight. The wind resistance caused by the craft moving through the air is called drag and is overcome by propulsive thrust except in the case of gliding.

These machines include aircraft such as airplanes, gliders, helicopters, autogyros, airships, balloons, ornithopters as well as spacecraft. Gliders are capable of unpowered flight. Another form of mechanical flight is para-sailing where a parachute-like object is pulled by a boat.

Air safety is a term encompassing the theory, investigation and categorization of flight failures, and the prevention of such failures through regulation, education and training.

There are different approaches to flight. If an object has a lower density than air, then it is buoyant and is able to float in the air without using energy. A heavier than air craft, known as an aerodyne, includes flighted animals and insects, fixed-wing aircraft and rotorcraft. Because the craft is heavier than air, it must generate lift to overcome its weight. The wind resistance caused by the craft moving through the air is called drag and is overcome by propulsive thrust except in the case of gliding.

Visual Observations

The techniques used for navigation in the air will depend on whether the aircraft is flying under the visual flight rules (VFR) or the instrument flight rules (IFR). In the latter case, the pilot will navigate exclusively using instruments and radio navigation aids such as beacons, or as directed under radar control by air traffic control. In the VFR case, a pilot will largely navigate using dead reckoning combined with visual observations (known as pilotage), with reference to appropriate maps.

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Vehicles that can fly can have different ways to takeoff and land. Conventional aircraft accelerate along the ground until sufficient lift is generated for takeoff, and reverse the process for landing. Some aircraft can take off at low speed; this is called a short takeoff. Some aircraft such as helicopters and Harrier jump jets can take off and land vertically. Rockets also usually take off and land vertically, but some designs can land horizontally.

Another form of mechanical flight is para-sailing where a parachute-like object is pulled by a boat. In an airplane, lift is created by the wings; the shape of the wings of the airplane are designed specially for the type of flight desired. These machines include aircraft such as airplanes, gliders, helicopters, autogyros, airships, balloons, ornithopters as well as spacecraft. Gliders are capable of unpowered flight.

Source: Wikipedia.

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