Q:

# What is an application of vector analysis?

A:

A good application for vector analysis is the calculation of an airplane's flight path. This requires knowing the magnitude and direction of both the plane's thrust, as well as that of the prevailing winds acting on the plane.

## Keep Learning

Credit: Ross M Horowitz Photodisc Getty Images

If a plane is trying to fly to an airstrip 50 miles north of its current location, and it is travelling at 100 mph, a person might assume the plane would arrive in 30 minutes if the pilot pointed the plane due north. But if the plane had a prevailing wind from the west blowing at 10 miles per hour, it would end up 5 miles to the east of the airport, as the wind has blown the airplane off course.

Think of the plane's speed and direction as vector A, and the wind's speed and direction as vector B. Add them head to foot, then draw a line from the plane's starting point to the end of vector B. This is the actual location of the plane.

Winds blowing at the plane from the front are called headwinds, while winds from the back of the plane are called tailwinds. All winds from any direction are calculated as vectors, and these vectors affect aircraft courses and require consistent course correction.

Sources:

## Related Questions

• A: According to the University of Oregon, calculus is important because "it provides a systematic way for the exact calculation of many areas, volumes and qua... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
• A: Polynomial equations are important because they are useful in a wide variety of fields, including biology, economics, cryptography, chemistry, coding and a... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
• A: The minimum safe airspeed at which an airplane can stay in flight is called stall speed, which varies with factors such as airplane weight, wing loading an... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
• A: Visit the flight status page on JetBlue.com to check the flight arrival time of a JetBlue airplane. After entering the flight number and the arrival or dep... Full Answer >
Filed Under:
PEOPLE SEARCH FOR