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Re: [Phys-L] Video Analysis of Album Cover Flight and Glider Stall

On 2/6/20 9:22 AM, Steinert, Jeff wrote:

This is likely a question for JD, but all responses are appreciated:


My students are using video analysis in Logger Pro to explain the flight of
a projectile of their own choosing. One has flown an album cover and
produced a rather complicated trajectory that can be viewed here:


I searched the net for a graphical depiction of the trajectory for a
stalling glider with no luck and I'd like to give my student a place to
start in her search for an explanation using the forces acting on her album
cover. Does the above plot resemble what you'd expect to see for a stalling

Short answer: Yes, that's pretty much exactly what you
see in a stall, followed by stall recovery.

Note that "glider" is not particularly relevant to
the story. Searching for /aerodynamic stall/ will give
better results than "glider stall".

To answer a slightly different question: That is not
the only behavior you might expect to see from a flying
album cover. You're lucky that the data is not very
much more complicated. You are not guaranteed to get
a stall followed by stall recovery. You could get a
stall followed by another stall, followed by some sort
of spin.

Suggestion: When plotting the data, join the plotting
symbols with lines.
-- The lines give us information about the ordering of
the points, especially near the peak where things get
-- Keep the symbols, since they provide timing information.
-- Prepare a separate plot, zoomed in on the messy region.
-- If the video analysis tool permits it, keep track of
the *attitude* of the flying object. The aerodynamics
(including stall) depends super-strongly on the angle
of attack, which in turn depends on both attitude and
direction of flight. Measuring the attitude would
require separately tracking the front and back of the


The basic physics of lift is explained here, with lots
of diagrams and only the simplest of equations:

Don't restrict attention to a square album cover. Also
fly something with a greater aspect ratio, perhaps a
thin plastic ruler or other long thing slat, and throw
it with a tumbling motion, as shown here:

Then you will understand what I mean when I say that a
stall followed by stall recovery is not the only thing
that could happen. Also you will learn something
tremendously important about the physics of lift.

The physics of stalls is discussed in detail here,
possibly more detail than you need at the moment:

Yet more detail about stalls -- including (!) spins --
is discussed here: