Difference between Flying and Gliding

Key difference: Flying is something that is done by birds, planes and/or Superman. Think of how these things move in the air. They have purpose, direction; they have control over their movements. They can go where they want or where they are supposed to go, i.e. from point A to point B. Gliding, on the other hand, is something that is done without any effort. It does not require propulsion or any engine. Think of a paper airplane, it does not have any source of power. When we throw it in the air, it slowly crosses the length of the room and then lands or rather falls to the floor. This is gliding. To glide is to use the air currents and gravity to move over short distances.

Flying and gliding are two different words that often denote something that is in movement, usually in the sky. The main difference between flying and gliding is that while flying is mainly associated with air, gliding can refer to gliding in the air, or on water, or even on land, in some instances.

According to Dictionary.com, the word ‘flying’ is defined as:

  • Making flight or passing through the air; that flies: a flying insect; an unidentified flying object.
  • Floating, fluttering, waving, hanging, or moving freely in the air: flying banners; flying hair.
  • Extending through the air.
  • Moving swiftly.
  • Made while moving swiftly: a flying leap.

While, ‘gliding’ is defined as:

  • To move smoothly and continuously along, as if without effort or resistance, as a flying bird, a boat, or a skater.
  • To pass by gradual or unobservable change (often followed by along, away, by, etc.).
  • To move quietly or stealthily or without being noticed (usually followed by in, out, along, etc.).
  • To move in the air, especially at an easy angle downward, with less engine power than for level flight, solely by the action of air currents and gravity, or by momentum already acquired.
  • To fly in a glider.

Hence, it can be seen that flying and gliding are two different states. Flying is something that is done by birds, planes and/or Superman. Think of how these things move in the air. They have purpose, direction; they have control over their movements. They can go where they want or where they are supposed to go, i.e. from point A to point B. They usually have a power source: an airplane has an engine to propel it forward, birds use their wings, and Superman, well he has superpowers.

Gliding, on the other hand, is something that is done without any effort. It does not require propulsion or any engine. Think of a paper airplane, it does not have any source of power. When we throw it in the air, it slowly crosses the length of the room and then lands or rather falls to the floor. This is gliding. To glide is to use the air currents and gravity to move over short distances.

While gliding, one does have some control over their movements, however not too much. Once something is launched in the air, it may change direction or manipulate its movement to change its landing point. Let’s take the example of the paper airplane again. Once we launch it, it usually flies straight, however, at times it may land halfway across the room from where we intended. We might have been aiming at the table, but it may land on a chair opposite the table. This is mainly because either the direction of the air changed or the position of the airplane change. In any case, the movement changed the relation of the air currents and the airplane. Hence, the airplane was forced to follow the air current or if it was opposite the air current, then it would have just crashed.

While, almost all birds fly, there are many that glide from one place to another over short distances, usually from one tree to another. They do this by just extending their wings and allowing the air current to carry them. There are also some mammals that glide from one tree to another. A prime example of this is the flying squirrel, wrongly named as it does not fly but glides.

Other than gliding in the air, one can also use the term for other instances, such as, ‘the boat is gliding on the water’, or ‘the skater is just gliding on the ice’. Flying, on the other hand, is usually just used for movement in the sky. It may however be used figuratively in the manner to state that one is doing something really fast, such as ‘Tom is just flying through his work today’, or ‘time is just flying by’.

Image Courtesy: cellphonewall.blogspot.com, journeymart.com

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Comments

Flying is when a person or thing lifts himself or herself up in air. By contrast, gliding's done in air when there's lifting involved. In other words, gliding can sort of be described as somewhat descending in mid-air.

thankyou for telling me what gliding means

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