Seykota's Theory of Lift: 

Radial Momentum

A Fundamental Re-Examination of Basic Physics

1999 by Ed Seykota

The classic theory of airplane lift is all about wing curvature ... and that, according to Bernoulli's Principle, fast-flowing air has lower pressure.  In 1997, after pondering this matter for some twenty years, Ed Seykota concludes that lift has nothing at all to with Bernoulli's Principle ... rather, lift is a function of Radial Momentum ... the radial fanning out of a fluid lowers its  density ... and therefore, the pressure decreases with the distance from the center of radiation.


Seykota's 1/r Law

For Expanding Rings For Spherical Expansion
P = S / r P = Sv / r2
Pressure is inversely proportional to the radius. Pressure is inversely proportional to the square of the radius.


This website tells all about the Seykota Theory of Lift: Radial Momentum.


Classic Misconception

This wing cross-section diagram appears in numerous textbooks and on countless web sites. It accompanies the claim that Bernoulli's Principle explains lift, in terms of higher velocity over the top of the wing causing lower pressure. 


Radial Momentum ... The Real Explanation 

Air, striking the front of the wing, deflects upward, actually pushing the front of the wing down. It then continues upward by momentum. When it encounters the curvature on the top of the wing, it fans out. This results in lower air density, and lower pressure ... however, this effect occurs only behind the crest of the wing ... and it has very little to do with lift.

In actual practice, the net effect of wing curvature on lift is small; most of the lift comes from angle of attack; the curvature mostly helps train the air off the back edge of the wing ... so that less energy disappears into turbulence and more energy goes to propulsion.


Air flowing though an expanding cone tends to collapse the cone, demonstrating lower pressure due to the Radial Momentum and "fanning out" of the air. A parallel tube of similar proportion shows no such effect. 



The author constructs models that explain the behavior of the Bernoulli Levitator. The model results, based on Radial Momentum correlate nicely with experimental measurements. This figure shows a simulation of the pressure (red), air velocity (blue) and other parameters along the gap between the levitator table and the disk, from the central orifice to the edge of the disk. The characteristic 1/r dip in the pressure just outside the orifice correlates with the location of the cavitation ring that appears when using water as the fluid.

Table of Contents

I Wonder How Come Airplanes Fly

The Wing, the Spool and the Plate

The Math