Aerodynamics For All

Perhaps you remember a younger time, or not…

Air FoilWhen you would ride in the car with your window open. You slip your arm outside and feel the buffet of the wind. Then like the wing of a plane, or bow of a boat and a corresponding rudder, or even a paddle, you turn your hand on edge and make it slice through the air like a hot knife through butter. Edge on, you barely feel the wind and buffet. With better sensors on the edge of your hand, you may feel the force of the wind, but it is minimal in comparison to your hand flattened into the face of the wind.

The forces at play here are: 1) the speed of the vehicle moving into the wind, 2) the drag of the wind as it flows over and around your hand/arm and the force it creates behind you, 3) the weight of the hand/arm, and 4) the lift that gets created when you practice your motions in the moving air.

Rudder - ShipWhat we know, but did not know we knew, we learned the importance of aerodynamics without understanding the forces or the science behind the action. That’s also when we learned the basics of slicing through air, and perhaps water, that the shape of our hand made it easier.

There are easier ways of going through the forces we face!

Airplanes, boats, cars and propeller blades are all designed to slice through the restrictive forces that slow down a vessel. Whether it be wind or water, the dynamics of resistance meeting the “slicer” is an interesting study. Wind tunnels give scientist and engineers the ability to see the results before production, and even computer simulation has taken the load off of making a poor design.
PaddleFlatten your hand against the wind, and all the force of the airflow is against you. It is easier to get pushed off track and slowed down dramatically. You waste time, energy and position. Unless you are a Kite. Putting a flat edge to the wind creates lifting power so that the kite stays in the air, goes farther, and hopefully gets higher! Flattening your hand against the wind is probably a good way to slow down should the need arise, or to propel a boat a certain direction with a paddle.

But if you want to travel economically, then aerodynamically you need to manage the shape. And then learn how to fine tune the shape for better success. Engineers are constantly re-tuning aircraft wings with new technologies that help the lift, reduce the drag, carry more weight, and meet the thrust more economically.

I wish I could say this better, but does this not apply to our entire life as well?

We are constantly buffeted by life and the forces that cause us to struggle. Some are as simple as the personal baggage we choose to carry, or even those things forced on us simply being who we are by our culture and genetics. Some decisions made earlier in life were choices we could handle then, but in retrospect we wish we had chosen more wisely. Addictions. Accusations. Personal Choices. Life in General.

Choices and circumstances may never change you from what you are, but there are subtle shifts that can make them more tolerable.

For example, you sometimes keep recalling those past mistakes and it blurs your present life and accomplishments.

Only once did the Apostle Paul describe that thorn in the flesh that was the messenger of Satan to knock (buffet) him about (2 Corinthians 12:7). Constantly there, and creating daily issues.

But he did not dwell on it and this is the only specific place he mentions it. He went about his calling and mission in spite of the struggle. Until every facet of his journey was over and the ending point of his destination had been arrived at.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV)

Notice his declaration… Fought… Good Fight… Finished the race… Kept the faith…

There was nothing in his character that allowed him to give up or quit. Regardless of the struggles he faced, he persevered. He was not interested in rewards here, as the best reward comes there! New challenges were faced with the same resolve. Get through it. You can do it.

Quitters never win and winners never quit. Comprende?

We all know the portions of our life where we have turned the air foil the wrong way and created a redirection or dramatic pause in life. We need something, or someone, to keep us edged in the proper direction. We need a model or example that lays down better steps. We need mentors and coaches to speak to us. We need words that teach us a better way!

Then we need to take ownership and follow the steps.

Consider these fine points from David and the book of Psalms. Repeatedly we see him understanding the source of direction, the path before him, and then the responsibility of “self” to follow through.

  • Psalms 5:8 Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.
  • Psalms 27:11 Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
  • Psalms 37:5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
  • Psalms 44:18 Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;
  • Psalms 67:2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.
  • Psalms 77:13 Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?
  • Psalms 86:11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.

Think about it for a moment. David is talking about himself, and his people, and those of us who read after him today. If we take ownership of the path in front of us, then the results of life and living are more easily handled.

Consider your life for a moment. Do you know where you are headed? Is it in the correct direction, or do you need some adjustments to your air foil?

I am working on some things in my life to make it easier to get through the remaining years until my journey is over. Some things may be too little, too late, but at least I’m heading in the right direction!

How about you?