Popular (and Imperfect) Explanations of Lift Creation

If you read any college-level aerodynamics textbook, you will find plenty of mathematical methods for calculating lift. Unfortunately, none of these explanations are particularly satisfying unless you have a Ph.D. in mathematics.

There are many simplified explanations of lift that appear on the Internet and in some textbooks. Two of the most popular explanations today are the Longer Path explanation (also known as the Bernoulli or equal transit time explanation) and the Newtonian explanation (also known as the momentum transfer or air deflection explanation). While many versions of these explanations are fundamentally flawed, they can still contribute to an intuitive understanding of how lift is created.