Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor (2001)


Concept featured in film: Physics of Lift

Location of clip: DVD: Chapters 34 & 35: (halfway into 34 when the scene changes from by the campfire to a line of pilotes in the hanger)


Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: Doolittle's Raid: In this scene, the pilotes do what they can to get their bombers off the ground in 467 feet, which is much less than the typical mile. The pilotes are shown ways in which to lighten the weight of the bombers in order to lift the plane in time.

Connection of flick to concept: Given the new shorter than usual distance that the pilots need to lift the plane, and given the fixed speed of the plane, the only factor that can be adjusted is the weight of the plane. This is the concept of lift, where one variable needs to be adjusted.

Suggestions to teachers:
1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. Why are the pilots having a hard time getting the planes in the air in time?

b. What happens at 468 feet?

c. Why are the pilots stripping the plane?

d. Is there anything else the pilots can do to get the planes off the ground faster?

2. Have students create paper airplanes out of different types of materials. Have the planes vary in weight. Weigh the planes and make notes of how much they weigh as compared to how long they stay in the air. Compare and contrast this concept with the concept from the clip.

3. Have students look up the specs on different types of planes and compare the differences in the length of runway it would take to lift the planes off of the ground. (You may want to provide the weight and speed specs to them instead as the distance specs may be found in research.)