LAYTON — Principles of flight can be talked about or they can be experienced.
Both are taking place at Northridge High, as David Newton leads 50 JROTC cadets through a course in the history of aircraft.
Because many of the sophomore students may go on to careers as pilots or as aircraft mechanics, it’s important for them to understand about lift, and about pitch, yaw and roll, he said.
Newton, a long-term substitute at Northridge, has long been interested in flight.
He made his first plane when he was just five years old.
In the course at Northridge, students begin by studying the Greek myth of Icarus, who tried to fly with feathers and wax.
They learn of Chinese kites and make hot air balloons of plastic grocery bags with heat guns.
They make an air foil out of a single piece of paperand use a hair dryer to see lift and how Bernoulli’s Principle works.
They learn about balloons used for observation in the Civil War, and they learn, of course, about the work of the Wright brothers.
When they build their planes out of paper and wood, the project is more than applying glue and spinning a plastic propeller.
They learn, as they build, about stabilizers, fins, fuselage and rudders.
Students test and tune their planes, bending some control surfaces and tweaking others to get them to fly without stalling, and to circle, spiral up or glide farther.
The activities help them learn about aerodynamics, said Newton.
This week, the cadets will have a chance to fly radio-controlled airplanes.
“It’s fun to teach kids how to do it and see them light up,” he said. “It’s something they can relate to.”