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Vortex theory of flight

3rd July 2019

Fred’s passion for flight began during a transatlantic trip when he observed the flight of birds gliding next to the boat on which he was travelling.  He was fascinated by the movement and the shape of their wings and began to develop a theory of flight based on the twisting flow of air or ‘vortex’ caused by the friction of the air moving over the slender shape of the wings.

Although it wasn’t fully understood at the time, this fundamental understanding of the way air flowed over surfaces would lead to many developments in aerodynamics and aeronautics in the following years.

Eventually it was exploited in modern aircraft to reduce drag and increase efficiency through the use of advanced winglets.

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