In this activity, students explore the importance of wing shape and size and how this determines the flight capabilities of birds and planes.

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • understand wing loading and work out some simple wing loads
  • recognise low and high wing aspect ratios of birds and planes
  • explain in a simple and general way how differences in wing size and shape affect the capabilities (such as speed, gliding and manoeuvrability) of a plane or bird.

Download the Word file for:

  • introduction/background notes
  • answers and explanations for student activities
  • what you need
  • what to do
  • student worksheets.
    Published 21 September 2011