Questions tagged [aerodynamics]

Aerodynamics is the study of how air moves and interacts with solid objects. It is an essential part of aircraft design.

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If the profile of a wing pulls a plane up, why can planes fly inverted?

I'm simplifying here, but every introduction to flying shows us that the profile of a wing leads to lower pressure on the upper side of the wing, hence the wing and the plane attached to it will be ...
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Is it possible to fly a large aircraft inverted?

I am curious if the inverted plane in the movie Flight 2012 has anything to do with reality / emergency practices. And if it does, can you please explain the concept/ aerodynamics behind of it , or ...
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When Boeing designed the 737NG, what factors influenced the change in the flap system?

The early Boeing 737 models had wings with triple-slotted flaps that appeared to be derived from the 727. When the 737 was redesigned as the Next Generation series (dash 600 through 900), these flaps ...
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What happens in a stall during a slip?

In flight training we're warned against skidding turns since they have a higher potential for a stall/spin (the classic example being the stall/spin on the base to final turn). However, how does the ...
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Where are the first structural damages after maximum speed is passed? [closed]

What 2 parts of the airframe are the first to have structural failure after exceeding maximum speed? Sorry. I just thought there might be a part that usually failed first.
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What are the effects of the Boeing 787's very flexible wings?

I recently came across this picture of the Boeing 787 series aircraft's incredible wingflex: I suppose this is a consequence of using very light CFRP wings, but how does the wingflex itself improve ...
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Is flutter speed always smaller than divergence speed for aircraft?

In aeroelasticity, there are three main phenomena that one should take care of: divergence, aileron reversal and flutter. Each of them has an associated speed at which the phenomenon might start to ...
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Would connecting propeller blades with a continuous ring reduce induced drag?

Turbine engines are covered, which of course is to contain the process (just like a super/turbocharged engine is as soon as the air enters the intake). But it got me thinking, doesn't this also reduce ...
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What are the pros and cons of high-wing compared to low-wing design?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a high-wing vs. low-wing aircraft design? When might one prefer one to the other? Is the answer the same for large and small aircraft?
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Why would a glider have water ballast? If it is trying to stay aloft without an engine, wouldn't it be better to be as light as possible?

So I was looking at the description of a ASW 27 B glider and ran across this statement: Two water tanks in the wing plus a further 35 liter tank in the fuselage enable the ASW 27 B to carry more ...
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What are the differences in aircraft performance between tractor and pusher propeller designs?

Some aircraft have pusher type propellers. In what ways is it different from a tractor type propeller? What's are the advantages and disadvantages over a tractor type.
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Why would an airplane pilot choose to intentionally use more runway than required for a takeoff?

An assumed temperature takeoff intentionally requires a pilot to use more runway than would be normally required. Why would someone want to do that instead of getting off the runway in the minimum ...
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How do I explain what makes an airplane fly to a non-technical person?

As an engineer I can explain in very technical terms exactly what makes an airplane fly, however, it isn't easily understood by non-technical people. How can I explain it to a non-technical person, ...
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How does an aircraft tailplane work?

How does an aircraft tailplane keep the aircraft stable, and prevent it from tipping over? Also, how does the lift generated by a tailplane compare to that generated by the wing?
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Is a slip an intentional consequence of a cross-control?

In flight training, you're always told not to cross-control, (for example, rolling right aileron, and stepping on the left rudder), but it seems to me that is exactly what a slip is doing. Is it that ...
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How can I calculate maximum rate of climb?

By what way and with which variables could you determine a plane's maximum rate of climb per time? If I'm not mistaken, I'm looking for VY.
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Why do only some aircraft require tail anti-icing?

Why do some aircraft require anti-icing on the tail while others (Dassault Falcon Jets, Boeing 737, 747, etc.) don't?
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Why should isobars be aligned with the leading edge of the main wing for a transonic cruiser?

When designing an airplane meant to cruise at transonic speeds (or supersonic speeds), I heard that one should look at the isobars on the main wing in order to assess if the shape, sweep angle and ...
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Why the different wing and tail designs in similar sized jets vs turbo prop?

I was flying on Porter Airlines and they had an info card about how similar the Bombardier (I still say DeHavilland) Dash 8 Q400s are to the Bombardier CSeries they have ordered. There was a cool ...
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What's P-Factor and why does it occur?

Whenever I hear anyone talking about P-Factor, (whether it be single-engine left turning tendencies or multi-engine loss of directional control scenarios), someone always brings up the fact that the ...
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28 votes
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What is ground effect?

We've all heard the "acts like a cushion of air" explanation tossed casually around by CFIs. There's also plenty of books and reference materials that give a detailed, accurate, and complete ...
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What's the difference between a two-blade prop and three-blade?

I read that a three blade can improve climb performance and decrease noise. How does that work?
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2 answers
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What causes aileron and elevator flutter?

This video shows a Hawker jet with the wing fluttering up and down like it's about to break. What can cause flutter like that? Can it actually cause a wing or stabilizer failure? How can flutter be ...
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12 votes
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What are the operational differences between an airplane equipped with a constant speed propeller and one with a fixed pitch propeller?

What makes a constant speed prop different from a fixed pitch prop, and what are the operational differences between airplanes with the two?
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39 votes
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Is a rotary wing craft capable of supersonic flight?

Just what the title states. Since the Wright brothers, aviation technology for fixed-wing craft has advanced by an order or more. Rotary wing craft on the other hand (I know little about aviation; ...
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What is the cause of unusually strong wake turbulence from the 757?

The Boeing 757 (at least in the US) is in a special class of its own with respect to air traffic control wake turbulence advisories and separation. This is apparently due to it producing stronger wake ...
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