One of SE goals for a mature site has always been to have 90% of traffic come from search queries. That being the case, I have found relatively few questions devoted to the basics of flight in simple terms.

That said, if there isn't already a very good answer on a particular subject (kind of subjective, but vote tallies and views is a good indicator), I propose a wiki series of questions and answers detailing these basics that lay it out, something that can be cross-linked to when answering related questions instead of continually doing the homework.


1 Answer 1


I'm not totally sure what you're asking: the title of your question doesn't really match what you said below it (at least, it looks that way to me). Unless you're suggesting that Aviation.SE can only become authoritative if it has a wiki series on basic flight concepts?

But anyway, there are several issues with what (I think) you're proposing:

  • If we explicitly create a series of wiki answers on flight basics (whatever that actually means), where do we stop? Why not have one on flight training, ATC, aerodynamics, etc.? Going down the road of selected, prepared information is counter to the fundamental concept of SE.
  • Who decides what questions should be included? Deliberately creating a series of Q&A to address a perceived need for information instead of an actual one has no decisive benefit. If we respond to genuine questions then at least we know we're providing information that someone really wants.
  • If we have good, clear questions and answers then Google or other search engines will find them easily anyway, with no need to structure them in a specific format.
  • It isn't clear that we need wiki answers to refer to from other questions. SE is pretty good at finding related questions already, and regular contributors probably already know the 'definitive' answers to direct people to.

Having said all that, if you think there's a lack of basic questions on fundamental points, then the most obvious thing you can do is simply ask them!

  • $\begingroup$ good points, esp. on perceived need. i was taking cues from other sites where certain wikified answers tend to get favorited by its users based on their continual usefulness (e.g. the "good references" on el&u or biblical hermeneutics). but also, if these questions are basic enough, they become a good entry point into the site itself, where additional questions can be browsed. besides, i was shocked to find that "how do airplanes fly?" has not been asked and answered here. i'd like to see aviation.se as the go-to place for this answer on the internet. $\endgroup$
    – Erich
    Mar 23, 2015 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ @erich, see here, here and here. And these are just three examples :-) $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Mar 23, 2015 at 13:16
  • $\begingroup$ i specifically linked 2/3 of those. the third is not a discussion of lift per se, but what is being taught. $\endgroup$
    – Erich
    Mar 23, 2015 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ i'm just saying, aviation.se is noticeably absent from a google search on "how does an airplane work?" or "how do airplanes fly?". $\endgroup$
    – Erich
    Mar 23, 2015 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ @erich My bad, I didn't notice that you had 3 separate links there. But again, if the question "how do airplanes fly?" hasn't been asked then why not just ask it yourself? You may want to include a comment about why any existing questions don't already cover it, to help get a good answer with the level of detail you need. "How do airplanes work?" is a weaker question, by the way (IMHO), because it's potentially too broad to answer: is it about wings, engines, navigation systems, ...? $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Mar 23, 2015 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ i agree with the weaker question - but this is actually intentional to drive more traffic, after asking myself what joe internet user would type into google to get here. $\endgroup$
    – Erich
    Mar 23, 2015 at 13:32
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    $\begingroup$ I disagree with this, from a conceptual perspective. If someone wants to read about the basics of flight, they should (possible) visit wikipedia and do so. Or any of the other many sites which discuss them. We are not wikipedia. We should not attempt to duplicate it. If someone does go to a 'real' wiki site, and does their utmost best to understand what was taught, and has a question about something they don't understand.... then isn't that what we are, what we are for? $\endgroup$
    – CGCampbell
    Mar 23, 2015 at 15:59

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