Skip to main content
Prepare for Landing
Physics Teacher (2007)
  • Gregory A. DiLisi, John Carroll University
  • Richard A. Rarick
An ad-hoc experiment that the author constructed during a flight to measure the airplane's motion during its descent is described. The apparatus comprised a pendulum formed from a USB memory stick with a string attached, which was fixed to the airplane's window using medical tape, with a Post-it note used as a backdrop for measuring the position of the pendulum. Pictures of the pendulum were taken with a digital camera, so that the angular displacement could later be measured using a computer. From a spec sheet that lists a range of performance and flight parameters of the airplane, the cruising speed, angle of descent, landing speed, and time until landing were used to calculate the total angle of deflection of the pendulum and compared to the evidence from the photographs of the makeshift accelerometer.
Publication Date
May, 2007
Citation Information
Gregory A. DiLisi and Richard A. Rarick. "Prepare for Landing" Physics Teacher Vol. 45 Iss. 5 (2007)
Available at: