Friday, December 01, 2006


I am too nice.

A wing is a wing is a wing. And lift is all about tilt. More specifically, angle of attack.
See image:

Looking at the side of the plane and a cross section of the wing.
The darker line represents the angle of the fuselage - in the top image, parallel with the earth. See how the wing is tilted up slightly. From memory it is about 13 degrees. In the bottom image the plane has gone up, up, up and over and is now flying upside down the way it came. The top of the plane is now nearest the earth. As Maalie predicted, the pilot doesn't fly straight and level, but angles the plane (the controls think downwards, which is now upwards) so that the wing still has that angle of attack. In fighter planes, which require all sorts of manaeuovres, the angle of attack would be negligible, so that the pilot doesn't have to seriosly tilt the aircraft to get it to fly upside down - but as long as the fuel system can cope, any plane can use this method and fly upside down. In fact I have a video of a Boeing 707 doing a barrel roll VERY IMPRESSIVE!!! But I don't think I can load videos onto the blog. If anyone wants to host it for me...!

I hope this helps you 'W.'


simon said...

Well, I watched the red bull race, and my cousin has a Pits ( its a bi- plane for stunts 'n' stuff) and they seem to fly upside down for ages. So what you say makes sense to me 'cause I have seen it with my own eyes....
(ps.. my cousin is a lunatic!)

Maalie said...

I've often wondered if ordinary civial airliners can do "stunts". I'd love it if we went into a roll or a loop-the-loop, only I would just hope the Captain would give a warning first. You can imagine him coming into the passenger compartment saying "Hands up who'd like to loop-the-loop"!

But a very clear explanation, J'sLS, as usual.

'W' is on his way up to Maalie Court right now, with 'S'!

Ooops, I meant "him or her", of course, silly me. I went on a Ryanair flight this year when both captain and vice-captain were sheilas. My mate at the time remarked that at least we could expect the plane to be laid down gently! (Naturally, I wouldn't dream of making such a sexist remark myself).

Plumpy's been quiet lately...

Ju's little sister said...

Commercial airliners would probably not be able to loop the loop on account of their stalling before they made it to the upside down position. In the video I have of the 707 doing a barrel roll the pilot was a test pilot - and they are some crazy people, probably a lot like Simon's cousin - and he was quietly told not to do it again.
Thank you for the comliment Maalie.

simon said...

hey ju's can I put a link on my site your this and life of plumpy? let me know!

Maalie said...

JLS: If you can email me the video clip I will put it on my photobucket site and give those interested the link.

TCA 2006 said...



Ju's little sister said...

Simon, no worries - I hope you don't mind that I linked to your site without asking first? My apologies if you do.

Maalie - I will email it to you but it's quite large and I don't know what copyrights are on it - I wouldn't want you to get into trouble!

TCA2006 (W)
For all the grumping and whinging, it was secretly my pleasure. Keep asking at your leisure.


Maalie said...

JLS: Who cares about copyright on the internet!! I'll upload it to my photobucketb account and send the URL privately to those who want to see it!

simon said...

ju's no worries at all! glad you like the blog too....!