In Physics of Flight - reviewed by Klaus Weltner, we read in the Introduction:
- The explanation of the aerodynamic lift has a long history, but there is controversy regarding the fundamental physics and their relation to Newton’s mechanics to date.
- This topic could be one of the most interesting and motivating in physics education. But the physics of flight nearly disappeared from the curriculum in schools and basic physics courses in most European countries.
- One reason, why teachers despite of students interest neglect this topic might be the fact that the conventional explanation of the aerodynamic lift based on Bernoulli’s Law has serious drawbacks and is partly erroneous.
- ... explanations based on Bernoulli’s law are dominating since the 1920s.
- This situation is changing recently. A growing number of authors question the conventional explanation and replace it by an explanation based on fundamental mechanics.
- The concept of circulation is a sophisticated mathematical discription of the velocity distribution but not the cause of the latter.
- The explanation based on the relation between aerodynamic lift and the acceleration of a downward air flow prevailed in textbooks in this simple form until 1920 without having been elaborated further.
- By approximately the year 1920, when aviation gained much interest in science and public, the explanation based on Bernoulli’s law appeared and displaced the explanation based on reaction forces.
- In any case it was necessary that the explanation of lift using Bernoulli’s law had to be complemented by giving a cause for the higher streaming velocity of the wing’s upper surface.