Is the vertical flight in GA plane, so close to an actual building, as depicted in 67th second of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020's official commercial, ever possible:

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Or is there "at least a little bit of commercial fantasy" in this particular scene?

Please, note that I am not asking about law regulations, like the ability to fly with a plane through centre of Dubai etc. I am asking purely about technical aspects only. If:

  • nearly vertical flight,
  • so close a very tall building,

would ever be possible in GA plane? Or would such plane most certainly stall?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ What is the significance of the building? And what do you mean by "so close"? Because if you acknowledge that vertical flight is possible, and aren't asking about legality, then why might the presence of a building prevent you from doing it? Im just not sure where your root confusion comes from... $\endgroup$ Dec 19 '20 at 23:31
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry for confusion, but it seems that I am asking two questions here. One is, if such manoeuvre is possible at all. And the answer is given below (it is). For this question the significance of the building is very little. The second one is, for how long or at what height it is possible (if there are any limitations coming from i.e. gravity, height, air dense etc., not coming from i.e. limit of fuel)? Thus significance of the building is somewhat important as this is / this was the tallest building in the world and to make such manoeuvre would mean flying vertically around 1 kilometre? $\endgroup$
    – trejder
    Dec 21 '20 at 8:15
  • $\begingroup$ But, this the side question only and the actual answer given below is far enough for me. Thank you. $\endgroup$
    – trejder
    Dec 21 '20 at 8:16
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, well that isn't what you asked. Your comment is clear enough, but you might want to edit your question to match. $\endgroup$ Dec 21 '20 at 15:47

Wayne Handley used to do exactly that in the Turbo Raven, an aerobatic monoplane modified with a Pratt & Whitney PT-6, giving the airplane a thrust to weight of more than 1. The airplane can be seen climbing vertically in this video, but it doesn't include his hovering act, which I believe he stopped doing in the late 90s because it was quite a dangerous maneuver (an engine failure close to the ground while in the hover would probably be fatal).

I've seen his hovering act at Oshkosh in the mid 90s, and he would fly along, slowing and slowing until the nose was vertical, and he would stop in a hover in front of the crowd, literally hanging on the prop, about 200 ft in the air. He would move the airplane in a box pattern, sideways, vertically up a couple hundred feet, sideways and vertically down, hover for a few more seconds at his starting spot, then accelerate vertically up to several thousand feet. It was the all time most amazing airshow act I've ever seen.

The full span ailerons provided the anti-torque control, and the rudder and elevator provided provided attitude control while in the hover. The wings are completely unloaded and are just worthless appendages, except for the anti-torque effect being provided by the ailerons.

The PT-6 version was 750 HP which will make around 3000+ lbs of thrust, and this was quite a bit more than it weighed, hence the ability to hover. You wouldn't be able to get that power to weight ratio with a piston engine so the airplane pictured in the MFS, which appears to be a regular piston powered Extra 300 or similar, probably can't quite manage it. Put a turboprop in it however and it certainly could, because the only limitation is the thrust to weight ratio.

  • $\begingroup$ The "because the only limitation is the thrust to weight ratio" is the summary and answer that I was looking for. Thank you. $\endgroup$
    – trejder
    Dec 21 '20 at 8:11
  • $\begingroup$ The other key bit is the pilot had to master using elevator and rudder as "cyclic" control like in a helicopter, and the ailerons had to have enough surface area at the wing roots in the prop wash to generate enough roll rate to counter torque, and the very large prop that came with the PT6 provided enough "blown" air volume to make it all work. It wouldn't work if you just put a powerful turboprop in a C-150. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Dec 21 '20 at 13:42

Even though few civilian aircraft could sustain vertical flight, many could achieve this for a short period of time. The main issue with a nearby building would be the exit from the manoeuvre, where collision with the building would be an obvious hazard. A minimum of planning could avoid this though.


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