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About the Video Clip:

Video Clip Synopsis:
Early silent film shows a 1920’s flight to Echuca, including the fashionably dressed passengers enjoying refreshments in a tin shed. The aircraft also delivers sick patients to a waiting ambulance.

2min 28sec

Early Aviation in Australia consists of excerpts from the film Civil Aviation in Australia (10 mins), produced in 1929.

Civil Aviation in Australia shows some of the services provided by the civil aviation industry in Australia in the late 1920s, from mail delivery to passenger transport.

Civil Aviation in Australia was produced by the Development and Migration Commission.

Study Module

Curriculum Focus: Science
Year: 7-8
Strand: Energy and change
Theme: Science Work

Key Concepts

Energy transformations; Force and motion

Curriculum Applicability Notes

ACT:Working scientifically: Investigating; Energy and change
NSW:Science 4.1, 4.2, 4.6
NT:Science Band 3: CC4.3, WS4.5
Qld:Science and society 4.1, Energy and change 4.1, 4.2, D4.4
SA:Energy systems 4.4
Tas:World Futures: Investigating the natural and constructed world
Vic:Physical science 4.2
WA:Energy and change – Early adolescence

Context / Background Information

Aeroplanes have been in existence for just over 100 years. In December 1903, two American brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright, made the first flight of a heavier-than-air flying machine. The flight only lasted 12 seconds and they travelled 36.5 metres (120 feet). In 1910, John Duigan became the first Australian to build and successfully fly an aircraft.

The Australian airline, Qantas, was established at Sydney airport in 1920. The first overseas service was to Singapore in 1935 – a trip that took four days.

There are two pairs of opposite forces acting on an aeroplane as it flies. The thrust of the engines makes the plane move forward and this force must be strong enough to overcome the drag of the air on the body of the plane which pulls it back. The lift created by fast moving air and the shape of the wings makes the plane move upward or stay at the same level and this must be strong enough to overcome gravity which is pulling it downwards.

Wings provide lift because of their shape. They are more curved on the top than the bottom. This forces air to move faster over the top of the wing than the bottom of the wing. Faster moving air is at lower pressure than slow moving air (The Bernoulli Effect). So the higher pressure at the bottom of the wing forces it upwards.

Discussion Pointers

Discuss the difference between lighter than air and heavier-than-air flying machines and how planes fly.

Discuss what life would have been like before aeroplanes, especially in isolated communities.

Discuss the energy sources and transformations that take place when a plane takes off or lands.

Suggested Classroom Activities

  1. Discus and research the meanings of the following words: streamlined, gravity, aerofoil, propeller, jet, air pressure.
  2. Discuss Newton’s Third Law that states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
  3. Research the history of flight. Find out about and write a brief biography of:
  4. Activity: The Bernoulli Effect
    – Materials (per pair of students)
    • 2 table tennis balls
    • cotton thread
    • a straw
    • sticky tape
    Tape a length of cotton thread to each of the table tennis balls. Hang the balls at the same height so that they are about 4cm apart. Try to force the balls apart by blowing through the straw between the two balls.
    What happens? Explain how the fast moving air between the balls is forcing them together.
  5. Activity: Wing on a string
    – Materials (per pair of students)
    • a piece of A4 paper
    • a straw
    • string (1 metre)
    • sticky tape
    • scissors
    Make a fold in the A4 sheet of paper so that it almost folded in half width – wise. One ‘half’ should be about 2 cm longer that the other.
    Now bring the two ends together and tape them to make a wing cross-section with a bulge on the top. Make a small hole at the centre of the top and the bottom of the wing. Thread the straw though ensuring a tight fit. Thread the string through the straw. Hold one end of the string in each hand, so that the string is vertical and the bulge is on the top of the wing. Keeping the string vertical, move quickly through the air and watch the wing move up the string.
  6. Activity: Magic Ball
    – Materials (per pair of students)
    • a table tennis ball
    • A hairdryer
    Turn on the hairdryer to the coolest and fastest setting. Point the stream of air upwards and ‘float a table tennis ball on the stream of air. Gently tilt the air stream from side to side.
    Explain what is happening in terms of the Bernoulli Effect.

Modules That Use This Clip

Science Year 7-8, SOSE/HSIE Year 7-8, SOSE/HSIE Year 9-10