Some photographs during landing
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Some photographs during landing

Going to far destinations needs flights. It is not practical to photograph views far underneath. However, when landing after one of my firsts flights, while sitting near the wing of the plane, I have seen motions of parts of the wing and took photographs.

A large plane needs to change the configuration (shape) of the wings, for flight, or landing or take-off. The long flight needs minimum drag. Landing needs to preserve the lift in spite of decreasing velocity, thus needs to increase the wings' area. It is more complicated than that, but actually this is the principle. Therefore, the pilot increases the area of the wings by extending flaps designed exactly for this. The increased drag is compensated by increasing the forward force supplied by the engines.

Somewhat later, just after touch down, the plane needs maximum braking force. To avoid slip, spoilers are deployed upwards, which give downwards "lift," actually adding significant downwards force to the weight of the plane, thus obtaining smoother deceleration and avoiding slipping during the braking. Elsewhere the spoilers are nicknamed "air brakes" and other names. (A major accident happened later in USA when the pilots forgot to deploy these spoilers after touch down, preventing the plane to stop before the end of the runway).

I took my camera and photographed all these. Later I showed the photographs to aeronautical engineer friend. He was astonished. He told me that in all his flights as a passenger he deliberately sat near the wings and tried to photograph all these with his modern camera, but in vain. He never succeeded to get photographs. Sometimes too much Sun light, sometimes clouds, sometimes inappropriate angle, sometimes reflections. He asked me which camera I used.

He was astonished even more to hear that I photographed with the cheapest simplest instamatic camera. We concluded that I was lucky.

The aeronautical engineer A.B. is not among us anymore.

Following are the photographs, made by N. Ben-Amots during landing in Ben-Gurion Airport (BGU).

Wings in normal flight configuration

Approaching landing the flaps are extended

And extended furthermore

And extended even furthermore

After touch down, spoilers are deployed, to help the brakes in the wheels.

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