Film: 3823

Aviation | 1960 | Sound | Colour

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Synopsis:

Exploring the factors that need to be considered with high speed flight, and an explanation of how aircraft are designed for subsonic, transonic and supersonic flight - swept thin wings etc.

Opening titles: “High Speed Flight, Simplified Version” appears in white in the middle of a screen on a blue background, “A Shell Film” is seen in small white text below it. “Compiled by Denis Segaller from the films” appears in white at the top on the same blue background, the titles of three other films then appear below: “Approaching The Speed Of Sound”, “Transonic Flight” and “Beyond The Speed Of Sound”. A Lockheed Constellation airliner, with “Pakistan International” liveries, takes off along a runway towards the camera, the camera follows it as it flies away, the narrator begins to tell us about the basics of flight, as the aircraft moves air flows over its wings, and this generates lift. Close up of one of the wings of the Constellation in flight, the camera pans to show the front of the wing and an engine as the narrator tells us the airflow keeps the aircraft in the air during flight. Wide shot from above and in front of the Constellation, the plane is flying above an ocean. Left side view of another Constellation in flight, this plane has “Japan Air Lines” liveries. Graphic animation of a white wing stationary in the centre of the screen on a black background with white “air particles” flowing past it, the narrator explains the principles of flight, lower air pressure above the wing leads to lift. A Boeing 707 jet airliner with PanAm liveries is seen flying leftwards in the shot; the narrator explains when aircraft fly faster “things begin to get complicated”. View of a De Havilland Comet jet airliner with BOAC liveries flying towards and to the left of the camera. A Gloster Javelin jet fighter is seen flying leftwards; the camera zooms in on it as the narrator tells us that the speed of sound affects aircraft flying at high speeds. Hawker Hunter jet fighter flies to the left of the shot, the narrator tells us supersonic aircraft have to be designed differently. A man hits a tuning fork on a table and holds it so it makes a sound, he then proceeds to do this again as the narrator tells us to “first consider how sound travels”. Close up slow motion shot of the tuning fork showing the ends vibrating. A man is making waves on a spring; the narrator tells us these “pressure waves” are similar to sound waves. Close up slow motion of the spring showing the waves. A small stone falls into a still pool, showing the waves expanding out, the narrator tells us sound waves expand in all directions like the waves. Graphic showing waves expanding from a source, the narrator tells us all pressure disturbances travel at the speed of sound. View showing a small island in the middle of the sea at a distance, a small explosion goes off on the island, the narrator explains due to the distance from the camera to the island the sound will take five seconds to hear. Graphic showing a representation of the sound propagating from the explosion, the narrator explains sound travels about 760 mph at sea level, the graphic shows a red line moving outwards from the point of the explosion to represent the sound, the narrator then says at higher altitudes the air is colder so the speed of sound is different. A jet is flying away from the camera in the distance at high altitude, leaving a vapour trail behind it, the narrator tells us that the speed of sound is about 660 mph at this altitude, about 36000 ft. Graphic of a wing, the narrator explains tiny disturbances cause pressure waves that move outwards from the wing, these are shown on the graphic, smoke lines representing airflow are then shown passing the wing, the flap on the wing moves down, causing the air to flow around it, and the narrator explains that the disturbances on the wing help keep a smooth airflow. View looking down on a Blackburn Beverly transport flying to the left of the screen, the narrator tells us that the airflow is smooth for planes flying below the speed of sound. Close up of a Hawker Sea Hawk flying to the left of the screen. Graphic of the sound propagating from the explosion again, but this time there is a small jet that moves behind the sound line, the narrator tells us the relationship between the speed of the aircraft and the speed of sound is important. Close up of the aircraft again, the word “Mach” in white overlays the aircraft, the other letters disappear leaving only the M, the narrator tells us the Mach number tells us the relation between the speeds. The same graphic as before is shown, but a white line follows the aircraft and the sound wave, these lines then turn into white numbers “6” and “10” respectively, the narrator explains mach is calculated from the distance an aircraft travels compared to the distance sound travels in the same conditions, the number 6 moves to above the 10, becoming a 6/10 fraction, this turns into the number “.6” which moves to the right side and “M =” appears next to it, the narrator explains that this aircraft would be travelling at mach 0.6, the graphic repeats itself with a faster aircraft that is travelling at M = .9. Close up of a pilot’s face inside a jet, he is wearing a full flight suit and helmet. Close up of a mach gauge inside the aircraft’s cockpit, the narrator says they are fitted to all high speed aircraft. A hunter flies above and past to the left of the camera. Graphic showing air flowing over a wing, mach speeds appear on the wing and to the left of it, the speed is M=.6, and on the wing the speed is M=.8, the narrator tells us this is because the air speeds up as it moves over the wing, both of the numbers increase until the speed on the wing is Mach 1, the narrator tells us the aircraft’s mach number at this speed is the critical mach, “MCRIT”, the mach number showing the speed of the plane changes to show MCRIT and the graphic zooms in on this. Close up of the pilot in gear inside a jet’s cockpit, the narrator tells us the aircraft can experience effects at and above the critical Mach speed. Close up of the cockpit controls, the camera is shaking and the narrator says that the plane is buffeting. A U-2 spy jet flies towards the camera. View inside the cockpit looking forward, the camera is behind the pilot and the aircraft is shaking, the narrator tells us the turbulence is caused by shockwaves. Coloured wind tunnel view of a wing on a green background, a blue colour slowly appears at the leading edge of the wing, the narrator tells us that this is “Schlieren” photography, and the colour represents changes in pressure, green is constant, blue is falling pressure and red is increasing pressure. Graphic diagram close up of the wing, M=1 appears on the wing, the narrator explains this is when the aircraft is travelling at critical Mach, an area is formed where the airflow is faster than sound, this area is shown on the diagram and labelled with M>1, the rest of the diagram is labelled with M<1, the Mach numbers then disappear, and the area faster than sound increases, the narrator tells us the back edge of this section is a shockwave, the shockwave gets larger as the aircraft speeds up, the narrator then rhetorically asks “What causes the shockwave?”, he explains it is due to the disturbances explained earlier, as the pressure waves caused by them propagate at the speed of sound, when they reach the point where the airflow is moving at the speed of sound, they cannot move any further and build up a shockwave, the graphic partially fades to show an escalator with a man trying to walk the wrong way on it but he isn’t making any progress, the narrator likens the shockwaves to this, the graphic fades back in and the smaller lines disappear only leaving the large shockwave. Schlieren view of the wing again, the shockwave is seen in red in the middle of the wind, and the shockwave starts to move towards the trailing edge of the wing. Another schlieren looking side on at a U-2, the narrator explains shockwaves can occur on any curved parts of the aircraft, multiple red shockwaves are seen, above the canopy, on the fuselage etc. Graphic of a black jet aircraft flying above clouds, a large yellow arrow pointing back from the plane appears, the narrator tells us the shockwaves cause extra drag. Close up of the right wing of a jet looking from in front, there is an orange glow above the wing representing heat, the narrator tells us the heat uses extra energy from the engines. Graphic of the jet flying again, now there is a graph below it representing the drag at various speeds, the drag starts at Mach .3 and increases slowly up to critical Mach, where it increases sharply before trailing off slightly up to Mach 1.3, the drag arrow behind the jet also increases as the graph is drawn out. Close up of the wing in the schlieren graphic, there are red streaks below the large shockwaves on the wing, the narrator tells us the shockwaves separate the airflow from the wing, and causes a wake of turbulent air. Close up of the right wing of a De Havilland Sea Venom, a white arrow is shown over the wind pointing upwards, showing lift, the arrow gets smaller, representing a loss of lift, and the wing drops out of the shot as the narrator clarifies that the effects shown in the last shot can cause a loss of lift. A De Havilland Vampire jet is flying towards and to the right of the camera, its left wing drops, the narrator begins to explain these are some of the effects of the shockwave disturbance. Left side view of a Vampire, the aircraft is rapidly pitching up and down; the narrator tells us this is known as “porpoising”. Left side view of a meteor rapidly yawing side to side, known as “snaking”. View of the back of a Hunter, the aircraft is undergoing “Dutch Roll”. Graphic of the left side of a Vampire, showing the turbulent air in yellow cause by the shockwaves hitting the tail plane of the aircraft, the narrator tells us this can cause buffeting. View inside the jet’s cockpit, looking at the pilot in front, the plane is buffeting. Close up of the pilot holding the control stick, the narrator says the controls may be affected. Schlieren view of a wing again; the red shockwaves on the top and bottom of the wing are reciprocating, forcing the aileron to move. A formation of swept-wing jets are flying to the right of the screen. A Boeing 707 jet is flying to the right and away from the camera, the narrator tells us new designs for aircraft are being made to increase the critical Mach to avoid the problems previously shown. A jet is flying to the left of the screen; the narrator explains the first step is to use thin wings. Graphic of airflow over a wing, the wing gets thinner and the air moves slower, the narrator explains thinner wings speed the air up less, increasing the critical Mach. Hawker Siddley Nimrod flies towards and above the camera, the narrator says there is another way to increase the critical Mach is to use swept wings. Graphic of the top of a wing with an arrow reading “MCRIT = .8” pointing to it, the narrator explains that only the air travelling perpendicular to the wing is sped up the most, so the new critical mach number will be higher, the graphic shows the wing sweeping back, a yellow arrow labelled “.8” is perpendicular to the wing while the original white arrow in the direction of the airflow has got longer, above it the text now reads “MCRIT = .98” and an angle of 35o is shown on the wing. A De Havilland Comet in BOAC liveries is flying to the left of the screen; the narrator explains the desirability of high critical mach numbers, allowing high speed flight without the effects of shockwaves. A Boeing 707 is banking to the left in the middle of the shot. A Sud Aviation Caravelle flies to the left and over the camera. A Tupolev 104 flies towards and over the camera, the narrator explains wings “cannot be made too thin or too swept back or low speed fight and landing would suffer”. Wide shot of the Fairey Delta 2, an experimental jet aircraft, rolling clockwise while flying leftwards in the background. Close up of the plane as it flies to the left, it rolls right away from the camera is the narrator explains that aircraft designers need to overcome the problems associated with shockwaves if the are designing supersonic aircraft. Graphic of a jet facing leftwards on a dark green background, the narrator explains there are two ranges of speeds above the critical mach, the first, transonic, is where airflow is mixed – some air is subsonic while some is supersonic – the diagram shows the supersonic regions around the plane in light green. Brief still graphic of the supersonic diagram from an earlier graphic, showing the shockwave on a wing. Coloured wind tunnel picture of the aircraft, high pressure (red) and low pressure (blue) regions are seen around the aircraft, the narrator explains this is the transonic region, which begins at critical Mach and ends around Mach 1.3. A jet is flying to the left of the shot, a diagram appears around it showing the thin shockwaves at different points on the fuselage, the narrator tells us this is the supersonic range, and the shockwaves are much smaller as the airflow is supersonic everywhere. A Hunter flies above and over the camera. Close up front-on view of the Hunter, it banks and turns away to its left, the narrator again tell us how thin, swept back wings are used to counter the effects of shockwaves. Close up of the left side of a De Havilland Sea Vixen, showing the swept back thin wings. Two schlieren coloured images of wings, one above another, the thicker wing at the top has a much larger shockwave than the thinner wing below, and the narrator explains the differences. A Convair F-102 Delta Dagger is sat on concrete facing the camera, the canopy is open and a yellow ladder is fixed leading to the cockpit. Close up of the wings of the jet, the narrator explains the cross section of the aircraft also needs to be considered. A cartoon style jet is in the centre of the screen, the cross-sectional area of successive parts of the plane is then shown, and each is shown on a bar graph at the bottom of the screen, creating a smooth hill-shape curve, the narrator explains a smooth change in area reduces the increase in drag in supersonic flight. A Hunter flies over the camera, the narrator explains the jet has been given a “waist” (enlarged fuselage behind the wings) to produce the smooth area curve. View looking down on another hunter, showing the enlarged waist. A North American F-100 Super Sabre is flying towards and to the right of the camera. A Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is flying to the right of the camera; the narrator tells s that these last 2 aircraft have been designed with pointed noses and sharp leading edges further reduce drag. Schlieren diagram showing a large red shockwave in front of the wing, the narrator describes this as a “bow wave”. A blue car is driving towards and to the left of the camera through water, it is causing a large wave in front of it, the narrator likens the “bow wave” to this. Close up of the edge of a thin wing in a schlieren picture, the shockwave joins up to the edge of the wing. A motorboat is moving to the left of the camera, the narrator likens the thin wing shockwave to the wave produced by this boat. Close up of the cockpit inside a jet, the controls are buffeting. A McDonnell F-101 Voodoo jet is flying to the right of the screen, the narrator explains buffeting is reduced by placing the tail plane above the wings, like the Voodoo. A Folland Gnat is flying to the left of the screen; the narrator tells us the tail plane can also be placed below the wings, like the Gnat, to avoid the turbulent backwash from the wings. Close up of the tail of the Voodoo, showing the tail plane moving, the narrator explains an all-moving tail plane, as opposed to a fixed one with elevators, improves control at supersonic speeds. Close up of a tail of a Starfighter showing the tail plane moving. . Close up of a tail of a Supermarine Scimitar showing the tail plane moving. A man is operating a model of a hydraulic control system; he is moving a lever which is In turn moving a set of model ailerons. Close up of the hydraulic device, showing the moving piston part, the narrator explains due to the force of the shockwaves it would be impossible to move the control surfaces with manual controls. A Scimitar banks to the flight and flies away from the camera. A Comet flies away from the camera, the narrator explains these technologies are making transonic flight “safe and relatively simple”. Four F-100 Super Sabres are flying in a horizontal formation to the right of the camera. Graphic of a jet flying to the left, the narrator reiterates that in supersonic flight, all of the airflow is supersonic. A Starfighter, flying to the right in the background, does a full roll to the left before descending. Graphic showing a supersonic wing with a diamond-shaped cross-section, the camera zooms in and the narrator explains that this wing would not be efficient for subsonic flight, smoke blows over the wing to illustrate the turbulence caused by the sharp corner. Graphic showing moving arrows smoothly passing over the wing, the narrator explains supersonic flow can easily traverse the wing, and a blue section appears above and to the right of the corner, the narrator explains that here the pressure is reduced. Graphic showing that supersonic air moving into an inside corner is smoothly turned; the narrator explains this is what happens at the front of the wing. Graphic showing the whole wing with the airflow arrows, the narrator explains the blue low pressure sections cause the lift. Wind tunnel picture of the wing, the low pressure sections are seen in blue and the thin shockwaves at the leading and trailing edge are seen in red. The arcs of two circles appear on the screen and move together, forming the biconvex wing shape, the circles disappear leaving the wing in the centre of the screen, and the narrator tells us this works like the diamond-shaped wing. Wind tunnel picture of the wing, the shockwaves are seen in the same places as the last wing. Graphic of both of the wings, the narrator tells us the problem is they have very poor lift at low speeds. Close up of a large white missile with RAF insignia, the missile is rotating on a launcher clockwise, the narrator tells us these wings can be used on “missiles like this one”. The missile launches from the deck of a ship to the left of the camera, the camera follows it as it flies. A Starfighter in black is flying to the left of the screen, this shot fades into a camera moving quickly down a runway looking at the ground, the narrator explains that long runways are needed for aircraft with these wings, the camera pans up to show a parachute trailing behind, the narrator also explains extra braking devices may be needed. An English Electric Lightning flies to the left of the screen, the narrator explains the lift problems can be solved by sweeping back the wings. Another shot of the jet, it is flying towards the camera and banks and flies to the left, clearly showing the swept back wings. A Convair F-106 Delta Dart flies to the right and banks left, away from the camera, the narrator explains that is the wings are swept back the wings can be subsonically designed. The Delta 2 banks to the left and flies away from the camera. A Delta Dart rolls to the left as it flies away from the camera. View looking down on the Delta 2 as it flies towards the camera. A straight-winged jet flies to the right of the screen. View looking up at the jet as it flies to the right of the screen. The jet rolls to the right as it flies to the left of the screen. White outline of the jet on a blueprint-style background, the jet changes shape to one with swept back wings and then delta wings as the narrator tells us people are still debating what wing type is the best at speeds around Mach 2. Another delta wing aircraft outline is seen on a blueprint background; a white model aircraft appears in the outline and moves up towards the camera, the narrator tells us about vertical take-off. Graphic of a sky and clouds background as a prototype jet appears in the middle of the screen, the wings swing back as the narrator explains this type of aircraft is being designed for straight-winged flying at low speed and swept back wings at high speed. Graphic of 13 different prototype planes fly past the camera, all have unorthodox designs such as W-shaped wings and very far back set wings, along with large flat fuselages. Closing credits scroll up in white text on a blue background.


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