OK, having read the other articles in this category, I have to respond. Some of the writers are completely WRONG in what they have written and others are right on.
I am qualified to respond to this subject based on years of Military training in aircraft and how they work.
Lift is generated by differences in pressure between the top of the wing and the bottom. The curve of the wing, and the amount of curve, directly the effect the amount of lift as does the overall surface area of the wing. Next time you are on a commercial flight, take a window seat where you can see the wings. As you land, watch how the pilot extends the flaps. The flaps increase the surface area of the wing, thus increasing generated lift at lower speeds. Someone wrote that planes act the same was as helicopters do, this is not true. A helicopter has anywhere from 4 to 8 blades on its rotors. These blades all actually twist as they rotate. Imagine a ceiling fan, the angle of the blades is fixed. On a helicopter the angle can be changed and therefore the amount of lift generated is changed. At dead zero pitch, the helicopter can sit on the ground and not generate any lift at all. If they were to act as a plane does, that would not be possible.
The wings on aircraft are noticeably different from plane to plane. This shape directly effects the speed of the plane as well as the amount of lift generated. Some military aircraft have “swept” wings, meaning they are angled back toward the rear of the plane. This allows the plane to travel at must faster speeds and increases the maneuverability of the aircraft. For example, the new VF-22 Raptor has swept wings and it is one of the most capable aircraft in the military. The F-14 has two position wings, stretched for landing, take off and slow speed operations and swept back for high speed flying and dog fighting.
The main point is: the size and shape of the wing directly effects the amount of lift generated. Lift is generated by the difference of pressure between the top of the wing and the bottom of the wing , which can be related to velocity changes by Bernoulli’s principle. Meaning, the faster the aircraft travels, the more lift it generates. This is why pilots extend flaps at lower speeds, the increased surface area generates more lift at slow speeds.