photo credit: NASA; image source
Wing Vortex Wake
This photo (hi-res version) shows the vortex wake behind a small propeller plane. To learn more about this photo, visit Wing Vortex Wake.
The energy in the vortex behind the wing comes at the expense of the aircraft's speed, so minimizing these vortices is important for aircraft design. To learn more,, see the Smithsonian's Vortex Drag.
(This feature was updated on July 16, 2013.)
Login to Comment on this Item
You can build your own "vortex generator" with just a few simple, household materials. The PBS' Air Cannon shows how to build an air cannon from a plastic bag, bucket, and rubber bands--just be sure to have an adult working with you. There is even a poll so that you can report your results and compare them with what others found.
(This feature was updated on June 28, 2010)