Returning boomerangs are the banana-shaped devices that come back to you when you throw them.
The returning boomerangs are made from lightweight pieces of wood, plastic or similar material and generally measure 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60cm) across. When thrown correctly, a returning boomerang flies in a circular path and returns to its starting point.
Non-returning boomerangs are effective hunting weapons. They are easy to aim and can travel a longer distance at a high rate of speed.
These boomerangs are made from pieces of wood shaped in a curve, but they are usually heavier and longer than the returning boomerang, about 3 feet (1 metre) across. The design helps them cut through the air.
A boomerang has at least two wings combined in one unit. It makes a boomerang spin about a central point, stabilising its motion as it flies through the air.
The wings are set at a slight tilt. They have an airfoil design - rounded on one side and flat on the other - which gives a wing lift. The wing has lift when the air particles move quicker over the top of the wing than the bottom, which creates a difference in air pressure, causing lift.
The two wings of a boomerang are arranged so that the leading edges are facing in the same direction, like propeller blades. Propellers create a forward force by spinning the blades.
If you throw a boomerang, as you do with a Frisbee, you may assume the forward motion would be up, and the boomerang would fly up until it stopped spinning and gravity pulled it down again. If you held it vertically when you threw it, as is proper, it seems that it would fly off to the right or left. But that is not what happens.
When you throw the boomerang:
There are five variables involved in a boomerang flight:
All five forces have to be balanced to make a boomerang travel in a circle and come back to its starting point. The only way to consistently make good throws is to practice good technique.
Aborigines of Australia are credited with the invention of the boomerang. They used non-returning boomerangs in hunting, called kylies.
The returning boomerang might be a complete accident or the result of design experimentation. The Aborigines perfected the boomerang design and throwing technique for the simple pleasure of it.
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