Questions tagged [aerobatics]

The practice of flying maneuvers involving aircraft attitudes that are not used in normal flight, e.g. a barrel roll.

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Can you fly an airplane at a 90° roll angle without losing altitude?

I've seen this answer to the question about flying upside-down, but tilted by 90°, there should be no surface creating lift (except maybe the vertical stabilizer).
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Can large airliners do aerobatics such as loops?

This subject has been partially covered before here Is it possible to do a barrel roll in a large aircraft like a B737? and here Is it safe to roll an airplane that isn't approved for it? If a ...
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What are the properties of the wing (airfoil symmetry, angle of incidence) of an aerobatic aircraft?

On an aerobatic aircraft, such as an Sbach342, what type of airfoil does it have and what angle of incidence does it have in relation to the fuselage?
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What has happened to make me experience negative G with the control stick FULL AFT near the top of a loop?

I experienced negative G with the control stick FULL AFT near the top of a loop. My questions: Aerodynamically, what happened? Was the wing meeting the air at a negative-lift angle-of-attack (...
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What are the US definition and restrictions on aerobatic flight?

In the US, what is the legal definition of aerobatic flight? What are the restrictions (both for the aircraft and its location/maneuvers) applied to aerobatic flight? I remember reading something ...
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Do fighter jets have a traditional inverted fuel system?

Common solutions for aerobatic piston singles is to have either header tanks (for wing tanks, as I understand it) or flop tubes (for fuselage tanks). Do fuel systems in a fighter jet work on the same ...
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Why do most aerobatic aircraft have conventional landing gear?

I was browsing images of aerobatic aircraft on Google and noticed that the vast majority of them have conventional "tail-dragger" landing gear. Is there any practical reason why this is the case, or ...
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Can civilians fly military aircraft?

I saw a few videos of the Sukhoi Su-35 doing some amazing aerobatics and I was wondering if a civilian could ever fly one - either for aerobatics or just fly it as their personal jet. Obviously ...
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How is rudder used in a aileron roll?

Rudder is usually used to maintain coordinated flight. When banking to one side to begin a turn, the rudder is usually pushed towards that side. I guess this is still valid in inverted flight: in ...
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Aerobatics in "firm" IMC -- how would one do it?

Assuming you are aerobatically trained, IFR rated, have an aircraft that is rated for the aerobatic maneuvers you are planning to perform (let us assume that it is acrobatic category, even), and the ...
UnrecognizedFallingObject's user avatar
31 votes
3 answers
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Is it safe to roll an airplane that isn't approved for it?

I have heard of pilots rolling airplanes that aren't approved for it (Cessna 172, Learjets, etc.), and other than the obvious legal issues, are there any mechanical or safety reasons to avoid it? ...
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What is the difference between a barrel roll and an aileron roll?

I was going through social media and I came across this GIF image that showed a plane doing some sort of roll. It was labeled "Barrel Roll" but in the comments to the post, someone said that it was ...
SMS von der Tann's user avatar
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Does stall angle of attack in inverted flight change due to the camber of an asymmetric airfoil?

What is the stall angle in an inverted flight configuration? How does it relate to the stall angle in normal flight? As visible in the image below, in upright flight the lower pressure is on the ...
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Is it possible to do a barrel roll in a large aircraft like a B737?

Can the bigger planes like B737 do barrel rolling kind of stunts like fighter jets do? I'm sure if it's full of passengers or cargo it would be very difficult and dangerous, but is it possible with an ...
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Can a free-falling aircraft with no horizontal (or minimal horizontal velocity) start up and fly to safety?

Inspired by this Grand Theft Auto gif, an aircraft with its engines initially idling is dropped from a high altitude (such as from the top of a building) with no or minimal horizontal velocity. Can it ...
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May aerobatics be performed over a controlled airport without getting a waiver?

CFR 14 Part 91.303 states: Aerobatic flight. No person may operate an aircraft in aerobatic flight-- (a) Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement; (b) Over an open air assembly of ...
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Forces "felt" by pilot, G-meter, inclinometer--are they the aerodynamic forces generated by the aircraft, or the sum of weight+centrifugal force?

Consider a pilot sitting at the CG of an aircraft, with instruments also located at the CG of the aircraft. (Feel free to consider other cases as a bonus, but the core of the question is aimed at ...
quiet flyer's user avatar
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Can a barrel roll really be executed at a constant 1G?

I see this stated from time to time, for example in an answer to Can large airliners do aerobatics such as loops? A barrel roll is one thing; they can be performed at constant load factor of 1 G (...
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Why do planes not fly "backwards" (up from the planes POV) when in a vertical climb?

As suggested by a user in this question, I'd like to ask this question: One of the most basic aerobatic maneuvers is a vertical climb. This can be achieved by just pitching up to what appears to be ...
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What makes the ailerons on an aerobatic airplane different than the ailerons on a non-aerobatic airplane?

I often hear a spec of the "roll-rate" when talking about aerobatic airplanes and the term "fast ailerons." What exactly does that mean, and what makes the ailerons on an aerobatic airplane different ...
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What is the meaning of "Docile pitch behavior" in the context of Pugachev's Cobra?

In another answer on SE Aviation it is mentioned that the ability to perform Pugachev's Cobra in a non-thrust-vectored aircraft needs "docile pitch behavior of the airframe up to approx. 110° angle ...
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What is the fastest recorded backward flying plane?

It is a well known fact that some planes like the Antonov An-2 can fly backwards since their stall speed is lower than the speed of the winds they can stably fly into. My question is what is the ...
Eric Kigathi's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
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What is the concept behind being able to continuously pour iced tea while rolling an airplane?

I recently saw Bob Hoover's famous video in which he is pouring tea while he is rolling the plane. Can you explain the physics that allow the tea to flow "up" when the plane is upside-down? Why doesn'...
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What is the largest aircraft that has been flown inverted successfully?

What is the largest aircraft that has been flown inverted? For the purpose of the question: Sustained inverted flight is not necessary, therefore barrel rolls and loops count The aircraft must be ...
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Why aren't there more helicopter aerobatics at airshows?

I enjoy watching RC helicopter stunts like these. Many RC pilots are very talented, executing barrel rolls and other inversions. How come we don't see these kind of displays at airshows?
Erich's user avatar
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How I determine numerically the roll rate of an aircraft?

I'm a Spanish student of aerospace engineering and I'm doing my final bachelor work that consists in designing an unlimited aerobatic plane, and I wonder if it is possible to calculate an ...
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In the US, would it ever be legal to fly a loop in any airplane or glider that was operating in the "utility" rather than "acrobatic" category?

1) In the US, would it ever be legal to fly a loop in any US-registered airplane or glider that was operating in the "utility" category rather than the "acrobatic" category? (Assuming that no special ...
quiet flyer's user avatar
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53 votes
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What are those things at the wing tip of an aerobatic aircraft?

See: The radially placed needle-like things that resemble a snowflake in the first picture. The triangular structure in the second picture. In the third picture, the object placed on only one wing In ...
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1 answer
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Are there full scale helicopters capable of sustaining inverted flight?

Background I'm a model aviation enthusiast and really enjoy seeing how far people can push the limits of aerobatics. Model aircraft are able to push the limits well beyond full scale due to their ...
JustWannaFly's user avatar
27 votes
6 answers
9k views

Why use an airplane with non-retractable landing gear for aerobatics?

I'm watching footage from Red Bull Air Race 2017 in Kazan (one example is ) and clearly at least some of the airplanes used have non-retractable landing gear. I was ...
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Can an F-16 perform Pugachev's Cobra?

I know that the F-16 VISTA tech demonstrator incorporated 2D thrust vectoring and could perform this maneuver. I also know that military variants of the F-16 are prevented from intentionally entering ...
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Why is Russian super-maneuverable thrust vectoring more prevalent than American?

Based on the sheer number of super-manouverable thrust vectoring Russian fighter jets, it seems that Russia has put more effort into developing thrust vectoring for enhanced maneuverability than the ...
AllTradesJack's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
13k views

How can an aircraft hover almost vertically?

(Source: https://fat.gfycat.com/) The aircraft in this GIF (although being an RC plane) seems to be flying vertically, just meters above the ground. How is this possible? How is it possible to control ...
bos's user avatar
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14 votes
3 answers
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What can I do on the ground in order to help my body acclimate to aerobatics?

I've just started aerobatics training! Unfortunately, my middle ear really messes with me, particularly during loops. Strangely, aileron rolls give me no trouble at all. I know from other ...
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12 votes
2 answers
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Why a parachute for aerobatics only when carrying a passenger?

Per FAR 91.307: Unless each occupant of the aircraft is wearing an approved parachute, no pilot of a civil aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) may execute any intentional ...
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What would happen if I bank a helicopter then pull hard on the cyclic?

Prompted by Simon's response to my question here, I will ask another question about reality. If I: Start with a AH-6 helicopter in a hover Pitch down slightly to accelerate, then slowly increase ...
kevin's user avatar
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What is required to be an "FAA-qualified helicopter aerobatics pilot"?

Chuck Aaron is the only FAA-qualified aerobatic helicopter pilot - How'd he do it? What requirements does one need to meet in order to perform aerobatics in a helicopter? Specifically, the training/...
Erich's user avatar
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5 votes
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During inverted banking, what happens to heading?

In normal flight, a plane that banks will turn and change heading. What happens if the plane is inverted? If the plane rolled 180° to wings-level inverted flight, then it will not be turning. But if ...
Bram's user avatar
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2 answers
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What is the typical value of maximum lift coefficient for aerobatic aircraft?

I'm working on a conceptual design phase project for aerobatic aircraft (for university) and I can't seem to find any statistics about key aerodynamic properties (such as in the question), so I hope ...
Lawrence's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
981 views

What would prohibit a T-38 Talon from being certified in the Acrobatic category?

The definition of the acrobatic category in FAR 23.3 reads as follows: (c) The acrobatic category is limited to airplanes that have a seating configuration, excluding pilot seats, of nine or less, ...
UnrecognizedFallingObject's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

Are loops or rolls allowed in the "utility" category in any US-certified airplane or glider?

In actual practice, is there any US-certified airplane or glider where the approved flight manual, or cockpit placards, indicate that loops, rolls, or any other similarly aerobatic maneuvers other ...
quiet flyer's user avatar
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