Difference between Flying and Soaring

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. Soaring is a state of flight exercised by many different birds. Have you ever seen a bird high up in the sky, all alone and it seems to be flying without flapping its wings. That bird is actually soaring.

Flying and soaring are two different words that often denote something that is in movement, usually in the sky.

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, ‘soaring’ is defined as:

  • To fly upward, as a bird.
  • To fly at a great height, without visible movements of the pinions, as a bird.
  • To glide along at a height, as an airplane.
  • To rise or ascend to a height, as a mountain.
  • To rise or aspire to a higher or more exalted level: His hopes soared.

Hence, it can be seen that flying and soaring 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.

Soaring is a state of flight exercised by many different birds. Have you ever seen a bird high up in the sky, all alone and it seems to be flying without flapping its wings. That bird is actually soaring. Soaring can be used to describe two different types of flying patterns. One is to either fly straight in an upward direction or continue to fly at a great height without any visible movement of the wings. Essentially, how soaring works is that the bird flies on hot air currents. As hot air tends to rise upward, the bird may also fly upward on the current.

There is another form of soaring, in which instead of relying on rising air currents, the bird uses the difference in wind speed between the ground and higher up. This form of soaring is called dynamic soaring.

This differs from flying in the manner that, flying is not related to a specific air current. In flying, the bird can get from one place to another by propelling itself further via flapping its wings, irrespective of the type of air current.

Image Courtesy: cellphonewall.blogspot.com, raptorcorridor.org

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