74 votes
Accepted

Why did the pilots in Top Gun: Maverick invert at the crest of the mountain before descending?

It’s to maintain a positive loading throughout the maneuver. The F/A-18E is load limited to +7.5G/-3.0G, depending on loadout and flight operations. With a designed in factor of safety of 1.5, the ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 73.5k
50 votes

What are those things at the wing tip of an aerobatic aircraft?

They are external attitude references. They're aligned with the aircraft's axes and positioned along the pilot's line of sight to give a quick visual guide to the aircraft's attitude during aerobatic ...
Airsick's user avatar
  • 501
40 votes
Accepted

Why do non-aerobatic aircraft have a negative G limit?

You can get negative load factors (g forces) in different ways than just flying upside down: Change in pitch: When you push on the control column, the pitch will start to decrease. Depending on how ...
Bianfable's user avatar
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38 votes
Accepted

What's the purpose of "over G" penalties in Red Bull Air Race?

It's a safety rule to protect the limits of the airframe and the pilot. See the video (also on youtube) from this Red Bull Air Race page which explains the rules. The G-limit is discussed from 3:30. ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
  • 83.1k
36 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between a barrel roll and an aileron roll?

The difference between an aileron roll and a barrel roll is that an aileron roll's centre of rotation is very close to or on the aircraft. A barrel roll has its centre of rotation around a point ...
SMS von der Tann's user avatar
35 votes
Accepted

Are there full scale helicopters capable of sustaining inverted flight?

There is no real helicopter capable of sustained inverted flight and certainly not of hovering inverted. The simple reason is that there is no operational need to do so. Is it theoretically ...
Simon's user avatar
  • 31.2k
33 votes

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

As you mentioned, drag is one of the reasons why retractable landing gears are used in the first place. But in order to use it, there are way more considerations than just drag. Scale: Size of the ...
tegginamaniss's user avatar
27 votes

Why does wingwalking use only biplanes?

It doesn't only use biplanes, searching "wingwalking monoplane" provides these examples, of some low wing monoplane and high wing monoplane. Whatever the aircraft, it has to be able to fly slowly. (...
user721108's user avatar
  • 4,643
26 votes

Why did the pilots in Top Gun: Maverick invert at the crest of the mountain before descending?

Human negative G limits for pushing the nose down are about 3G, vs. maybe 9G positive G limit for pulling the nose up (or downward while inverted), very roughly, and as other answers explain, negative ...
Peter Cordes's user avatar
24 votes
Accepted

Can a barrel roll really be executed at a constant 1G?

You are absolutely right, a load factor of greater than 1 is impossible to avoid in a proper barrel roll. The barrel part of its name comes from the spiral path the aircraft needs to perform in order ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
23 votes

What is the difference between a barrel roll and an aileron roll?

In a barrel roll, the aircraft rotates both in its longitudinal and lateral axes, while in case of aileron roll, the rotation is only about the longitudinal axis. A barrel roll, image from ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
23 votes

Why would a plane descend rapidly in uncontrolled manner after a steep turn?

Markus Voelter interviewed Matt Hall for an episode of his omega tau podcast. They discuss this incident in more detail at 1:13:00. The aircraft experienced a high speed g stall, also called an ...
fooot's user avatar
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21 votes
Accepted

Why would the front edge of an aileron fold outward?

That is an enclosure for a counterweight, either made from steel or lead to balance the aileron and/or reduce control flutter in various flight regimes. The extension provides an additional lever arm ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 73.5k
20 votes
Accepted

Why do aerobatic aircraft have separate tanks instead of a single acrotank?

A long time ago aerobatic aircraft had just a single tank with a flop tube inside it. This works "OK", but when you're doing something complicated with a half-empty or mostly-empty tank, it's too ...
Dan Pichelman's user avatar
19 votes

Why is Russian super-maneuverable thrust vectoring more prevalent than American?

This is a case of divergent design, and you can't know the answer without asking why current aircraft are designed they way they are. Following the work of Col. John Boyd in the 1960's in developing ...
Precious Mettle's user avatar
19 votes

Why does wingwalking use only biplanes?

3 reasons: The really obvious one; biplanes had the interplane structural network to hang on to when doing the wing walking. It's a heck of a lot safer for the wing walker. Even today, most of the ...
John K's user avatar
  • 130k
17 votes

How do fuel trim and air bubbles prevention work in inverted flight?

A typical GA airplane will draw fuel from at or near the bottom of the tank. An aerobatic airplane will have a hose from the engine to the middle of the tank, then on the inside of the tank there ...
Dan Pichelman's user avatar
17 votes

How long can an average aerobatic plane sustain 0g?

An aerobatic aircraft (as well as any aircraft) can sustain 0g until the pilot pulls up, the aircraft hits the ground, or reaches terminal velocity. In order to sustain 0g the aircraft must be ...
Devil07's user avatar
  • 8,554
16 votes
Accepted

Why is Russian super-maneuverable thrust vectoring more prevalent than American?

Part 1 - TVC Perception The US also ran several programs with TVC: F-15 STOL/MTD and ACTIVE. F-16 VISTA / MATV. AVEN: F-18 HARV (High Alpha Research Vehicle)...
Hephaestus Aetnaean's user avatar
16 votes

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

Strictly speaking, a 'pure' aerobatic aircraft doesn't need a retractable landing gear. For such an aircraft maneuverability is much more important than speed. In fact, the aircraft can't fly too ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
14 votes
Accepted

Can helicopters perform the Split S maneuver?

Yes, but you need a rigid head. A rigid head does not have any hinges, instead, the blades flex up and down. Wings don't know or care if they are upside down or right way up, indeed, most ...
Simon's user avatar
  • 31.2k
13 votes
Accepted

How does an airplane do a Kulbit manoeuvre?

The Kulbit maneuver is a variation on the Cobra maneuver (Pugachev's Cobra) with a higher pitch rate and continuous positive pitch rate throughout the maneuver. It requires two things: A docile pitch ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Are low wings less safe for aerobatics training?

No. It has nothing to do with the configuration, but the structure, the engine and the fuel system of your aircraft. The SportCruiser is certified in the Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category and is ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
12 votes

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

In the case of the Red Bull Air Race, the engine and propeller are specified by the race officials, and must remain unmodified, so the airframes are designed to get the most out of that combination. ...
tj1000's user avatar
  • 8,767
12 votes
Accepted

Which modern day prop (piston) engines allow for inverted flight?

Any “modern day” piston engine can allow for inverted flight if it has the right equipment on it. The American Champion Citabria with the 7KCAB Inverted Fuel and Oil package along with the American ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.7k
11 votes
Accepted

How long can an average aerobatic plane sustain 0g?

The longest possible 0g experience is on a parabolic Flight http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/sciences/parabolic.asp. As Devil07s great answer explains the time a plane can fly "at 0g" depends on its ...
Timothy Truckle's user avatar
11 votes

Why would a plane descend rapidly in uncontrolled manner after a steep turn?

I haven't watched the video, but keep in mind that to a first order approximation, lift is perpendicular to the airfoil. In ordinary level flight or close to it, this causes the lift vector to have a ...
user's user avatar
  • 6,984
10 votes

Why are the back of the wings of some aerobatic planes swept forward?

It is not so much that the trailing edge is swept forward as that the leading edge is held to zero sweep. One way to approximate an elliptical lift distribution (without twisting a wing) is to taper ...
Rob McDonald's user avatar
  • 9,286

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