This example is a simple application showing how Newton’s laws of motions are used on aircraft carriers. As with any practical application of physics, it is important to be aware of your units of measure, and the meanings of all the terms in the equations.
Grade Level: High School (9-12)
Curriculum Topic Benchmarks: M4.4.2, M4.4.3, S12.4.7
Subject Keywords: Aviation, Force, Dynamics, Gravitation, Newton’s laws, Catapult, Aircraft carrier, Velocity, Acceleration
Author(s): Katherine Gateau
PUMAS ID: 03_23_02_1
Date Received: 2002-03-08
Date Revised: 2002-05-13
Date Accepted: 2002-05-14
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Comment by John Soans on August 3, 2006
"The answer to how fast the catapult shuttle has to travel specified in the SI units of m/s in exercise 1 may be incorrect.
Editor's note: A units conversion error has been corrected in the example -- 09/25/06."
Comment by Katherine Nowak on July 13, 2006
"There is an error in the first calculation. The answer in english units is fine, but the answer in metric units should be 24.
Editor's note: Actually, the error was in converting the constant in the Lift equation, 1.214 slugs/ft, into metric units. The correct result, 58.127, is now posted in the example."