Linked Questions

37
votes
4answers
14k views

Do jets breaking the sound barrier leave shredded metal on the ground?

As a kid (1960s and 1970s) we would find shredded metal rolled into a loose ball similar to the shredded paper one might find in an Easter basket, in the hills surrounding our farm. We had the Royal ...
43
votes
9answers
10k views

How complete is our understanding of lift?

I'm currently studying for my PPL and one of the accepted textbooks contains the following disclaimer at the end of the Principles of Flight section on lift: It is important to note that the ...
35
votes
8answers
16k views

How does stall depend on angle of attack but not speed?

Everyone says that the angle of attack is what determines a stall, not the speed. I understand the theory and understand that it is separation of the airflow that matters for stalling. However, I don’...
31
votes
3answers
7k views

What is the immediate cause of stall?

The direct cause of stall is unclear to me. I heard about exceeding maximum angle of attack (around 40°) ; I heard about reaching the stall speed in the current configuration (flaps, etc). I heard ...
26
votes
2answers
8k views

What is the purpose of the small fins on top of the wing surface of Boeing aircraft?

I've noticed on most Boeing aircraft that there are small fins on the upper surface of many of their wings. They are about one inch high and maybe two inches long (it's difficult to judge size from ...
11
votes
2answers
52k views

What happens when an aircraft breaks the sound barrier?

What happens when an aircraft breaks the sound barrier? Why can't it break the sound barrier near the ground?
25
votes
2answers
6k views

How do insects decrease aircraft performance?

Is it true that insects hitting the fuselage could decrease aircraft performance and increase fuel consumption? Insects are small in mass. I think even a large amount of them accumulate on the ...
20
votes
3answers
20k views

What is a high speed stall?

I'm told that planes can actually stall when the airflow over the wing goes past Mach 1? Why does this happen and how do you design an aircraft to avoid it?
18
votes
2answers
6k views

Why do some airplanes have vertical strakes?

A lot of different aircraft have vertical or near-vertical fins below the empennage, or above the empennage and attached to the front of the vertical stabilizer. What purpose do these devices serve?
18
votes
3answers
29k views

What is a vortex generator?

I saw a vortex generator mentioned in an aircraft listing. What is a vortex generator?
14
votes
2answers
12k views

What is the reason for the poor low-speed characteristics of sweptback wings?

I know there are advantages of swept-back wings delaying shock-wave allowing a aircraft to fly faster. However, what are the disadvantages. I know one of them is that they have very poor low speed ...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

Is a golf ball surface a good idea for wings or fuselage?

I searched for an infamous golf ball question on this site but did not find any, so I guess it's time for one. Would a dimpled surface like a golf ball somehow improve the aerodynamics of an airplane?...
8
votes
5answers
16k views

What is profile drag?

I know about induced drag, parasite drag, form drag, skin drag, wave drag, and interference drag. But I don't encounter the term profile drag often, and I can't find a good definition of it. Is ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the advantages of the NASA LEAPTech propeller on wing technology?

NASA has detailed experiments with a new type of parallel array of small electric propellers on the leading edge of the wing technology that they are calling LEAPTech. The press release notes that ...
16
votes
4answers
10k views

What are the advantages of a Trimmable Horizontal Stabilizer?

What are the advantages of a Trimmable Horizontal Stabilizer (THS)? For example, a THS is used on some Airbus and Embraer aircraft. What is the most important advantage, and why don't some other ...

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