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Questions tagged [aircraft-design]

Questions about the different choices that aircraft designers (typically aerospace engineers) make in order to create an aircraft.

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6answers
19k views

Why are propeller airplanes still made?

Airplanes with propellers were invented a long time ago. After that, jet engines came into existence. My question is: why do we still have propeller engines? The reasons I can think of are: They are ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the benefit of spoilerons compared to ailerons?

Some airplanes like the B-52 or the MU-2 use spoilerons instead of ailerons to control roll. What is the benefit of ailerons vs spoilerons and vice versa?
11
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2answers
6k views

What are the risks involved when doing a classic zero-g maneuver?

I suspect most pilots have done it at least once: briefly experience zero g when flying a parabolic path. It's quite an experience (if your stomach can handle it). Question is: are there any risks ...
16
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2answers
4k views

Why is “heavy braking” recommended in an aircraft with carbon fiber brakes in order to prevent brake wear? That seems backwards!

I get that standard brakes and carbon fiber brakes are made out of two different materials, but some of the procedures are different between them. For instance, they recommend "heavy" braking on ...
10
votes
1answer
697 views

How exactly is the 51% rule applied for amateur-built aircraft?

I understand that for an amateur-built that you are required to build at least 51% of the aircraft yourself, but how can there be kits which appear practically completed, just some quick assembly jobs?...
13
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1answer
3k views

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 ...
31
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2answers
4k views

Did the Space Shuttle really wait until 50 feet above the ground before they put the gear down?

I saw a sign at the Smithsonian about the Space Shuttle where it said that their gear was not extended until 50 feet above the ground. I've searched and searched for something definitive that had the ...
20
votes
4answers
5k views

Are there any aircraft with a nose wheel braking system?

I'm pretty sure that there are no aircraft equipped with a brake on its nose wheel, however two of my colleagues think there might have been. Are there? Aircraft with retractable gear of course have ...
5
votes
2answers
885 views

Structural design software for airplanes [closed]

What are the main structural design software packages that are used by the most of the aircraft manufacturers. There are a number of software packages but which one is widely accepted and used for the ...
4
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2answers
1k views

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.
14
votes
3answers
3k views

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 ...
16
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3answers
9k views

What are design or functional differences between sticks and yokes?

I've been flying Cessna 172 & 182's my whole flying life up to this point. I know that Cirruses (Cirri?) have a "side yoke" and Diamonds, Citabrias and others have control sticks coming up ...
9
votes
2answers
584 views

Is it possible to “pimp up your aircraft” with an audio system?

Can aircraft be modified to have an enormous audio system, like the ones in cars? Has the FAA got any regulations on this (or maybe on in-cabin maximum noise volume?), would power be a limitation for ...
11
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5answers
6k views

Is constant air pressure maintained inside the fuselage?

I just heard it somewhere but I'm not sure about it. If it is, then why don't they build airtight fuselages?
29
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3answers
10k views

Why do some aircraft have multiple ailerons per wing?

In a recent flight on an Airbus A380 I noticed that its ailerons are split into three segments which move independently. What advantages does this design have? Do other aircraft have split ailerons (...
32
votes
3answers
4k views

What happens when an airplane gets struck by lightning?

I know that they certify airplanes for lightning strikes (at least some of them anyway), but does it cause any damage to the airplane or to the electronics? Are there any required inspections if an ...
16
votes
3answers
15k views

What dictates the aspect ratio of an aircraft's wing?

When designing an aircraft, there has to be a decision as to the aspect ratio of a wing. It's been said that having a higher aspect wing will reduce drag for the same wing area, however most of the ...
39
votes
9answers
61k views

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?
30
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4answers
42k views

What materials are plane windows made of?

I've always wondered, what are those dual-layered (bonus: sometimes they have a little <2mm hole, why is it there?) windows commercial jets put next to their seats made of?
21
votes
5answers
4k views

Why the pitot tube is heated but the static port isn't?

In some light aircraft, like a Cessna 172, the pitot tube is heated but the exterior static port isn't. The usual reason I've heard is that static ports are much less susceptible to icing, but why is ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

How to go about designing a custom airfoil?

I am familiar with the NACA 4-digit and 5-digit airfoil design system where airfoils, but I was wondering if anyone had some good reference material or software for designing a completely custom ...
26
votes
3answers
3k views

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? ...
2
votes
2answers
655 views

Quadcopter Design [closed]

What would be the most optimal shape for a quadcopter design? I have tried the cross beam design, but the center joint, though epoxied, is extremely prone to shearing off on impact.
21
votes
5answers
7k views

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?
11
votes
3answers
1k views

How common are conformal fuel tanks?

I know that the F-16 (F-16I and Block 50/52/60 models) have conformal fuel tanks standard now on top of the wing/fuselage area. The Silent Eagle model of the F-15E proposed by Boeing for South Korea, ...
9
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2answers
1k views

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 ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
18
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6answers
2k views

What are the factors that limit how long an aircraft can stay aloft?

The most obvious one is fuel. Many modern military aircraft, however, are capable of refueling in mid-air. Crew fatigue, another obvious one, can also be addressed by rotating a crew out, and is a non-...