Category: Science > Physics
Asked by: babuness-ga
List Price: $10.00
14 Jul 2002 03:13 PDT
Expires: 13 Aug 2002 03:13 PDT
Question ID: 39414
If the airflow over a wing moves faster than below it to produce a lower pressure over the wing and creating lift, then how can a plane continue to fly while inverted?
Answered By: mcfly-ga on 14 Jul 2002 03:48 PDT
Hi babuness, Good question, one that I must admit I didn't know the answer to either until I started researching this. Obviously you are not the first person to wonder this as I managed to find the exact explanation as to how inverted flight is possible at the following site: Lift and Inverted Flight http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/aero/question/aerotheory/Lift_and_inverted_flight__.txt A further explanation of the problems and possibilities of flying upside down is available from: How Things Work: Flying Upside Down http://www.airspacemag.com/asm/Mag/Index/2002/AM/fusd.html Additional links: R/C Helicopter Fever : Flying a radio control helicopter upside down http://www.helifever.com/advanced/lesson4.cfm Pilots' Guide to Inverted Flying http://www.slams.freeserve.co.uk/Q&A/Flying%20Info/Inverted%20Flying.htm I hope this answers your question satisfactorily; if you would like any further detail, explanation or clarification please do not hesitate to ask. mcfly-ga :) --------------------- Search terms: "inverted flying" "flying upside down"
From: jlchem-ga on 31 Jul 2002 21:49 PDT
The answer doesn't require any links: The reason airplanes can fly upside down is because the bottom of the wing is now the top of the wing, and vice versa. So what you said initially still holds true. Enjoy
From: symon-ga on 04 Aug 2002 06:54 PDT
That comment isn't strictly true, a conventional areofoil is curved at the top and flat on the bottom, in order to create the pressure difference required for lift. If this was inverted, the force would still be created, but would be pointed towards the ground. In order for a conventional areofoil to work inverted, the pilot will have to fly with the nose of the plane slightly more upwards than usual in order to get the required angle of airflow over the wing. Ask any pilot, and they will tell you that this works, but not really well. The answer is symmetrical wing design, and I'm sure those links will tell you about that.
From: daemon-ga on 12 Aug 2002 11:29 PDT
This page http://www.monmouth.com/~jsd/how/ has a phenomenal explanation of how wings work including why they'll fly upside down. Go down to the Airfoils section and read away. It's not dry reading either. The fascinating part is learning about circulation, bound and unbound vortexes. All wings create circulation of the air which causes it to displace air downwards behind the plane. Basically a wing is curved on top only because it increases the effective camber and allows the wing to fly at a greater angle of attack at lower speeds before it stalls. No wing must be curved on top and flat on bottom to work. Aerobatic planes have symetrical airfoils and control lift through angle of attack. ian
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