What Is A Total Reaction?

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The Wing Of An Aeroplane - AviatorsBuzz

The wing of an airplane pushes and induces the air downwards and forwards, because of its shape, angle of attack, and speed. The reaction is an upward/rearward force called the total reaction.

The upward component of this reaction lifts the aeroplane (i.e., it overcomes gravity), and the rearward force (drag) is the force that must be overcome by the engine and propeller.

Forces acting on an Airplane
Source: Aviation History Online Museum