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Airbus' (A300 / A310) are being used by French companies (i.e. Novespace) that offer zero G flights.

Now the airbus seems to risk a stall at a 40 degree angle of attack (i.e.Air France 447).

In a zero g flight, they climb at 45 degrees and then nose dive at the same angle.

Why does the climb not stall the aircraft?


marked as duplicate by Stelios Adamantidis, mins, fooot, Pondlife, J Walters Jan 30 '18 at 22:07

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    $\begingroup$ The angle of climb is not the same as the angle of attack. $\endgroup$ – Jerry Coffin Jan 30 '18 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ The above comment is correct, please don't confuse Angle of Attack with climb angle (gradient). $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jan 30 '18 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer What is the difference please? $\endgroup$ – Cloud Jan 30 '18 at 16:35
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    $\begingroup$ See: Can the pitch be very different from the angle of attack?. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jan 30 '18 at 16:37
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    $\begingroup$ Angle of attack: Angle between relative air flow and aircraft longitudinal axis (roughly: Angle between flight path and aircraft nose in side view. „Does it point where it goes?“). // Pitch angle: Angle between level plane and aircraft longitudinal axis (Angle between nose and horizon in side view). // The two are only the same in zero wind level flight. $\endgroup$ – Cpt Reynolds Jan 30 '18 at 16:48

The aero-dynamics of a flight in reduced gravity are different than a flight operating in normal conditions. When an aircraft is experiencing zero gravity, it does not stall because the wings are not generating any lift, because the aircraft is in a state of weightlessness.

In the paper for the requirements for zero gravity flights, it is mentioned (PDF):

... zero G flights stalling conditions are different as compared to conventional flight maneuvers, because the plane is weightless and is, therefore, in no need of aerodynamical support. On the other hand, a minimum speed is required to execute the delicate control through the parabola. For this reason the stalling speed is taken as the minimum aircraft velocity required for effective control.

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    $\begingroup$ It sounds a bit like a sailing craft needs a little "way", as sailors say, to steer, to control. $\endgroup$ – Fattie Jan 30 '18 at 18:17
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    $\begingroup$ But I was referring to the climb, not the ZG phase $\endgroup$ – Cloud Jan 31 '18 at 7:23
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    $\begingroup$ The climb is fine, @Cloud - the airspeed and angle of attack are not likely to cause a stall. The pilot is not trying to hold the nose up and lose speed such that a stall occurs, but instead aims for a parabolic arc. $\endgroup$ – Rory Alsop Jan 31 '18 at 9:32

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