Skip to main content
76 votes

Why don't commercial airplanes carry Earth-observing instruments?

They do! Well, at least some of them. There is for example a project called TAMDAR (Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Reporting) that e.g. Icelandair is a part of. There is a document ...
Florian's user avatar
  • 3,859
75 votes
Accepted

Is it possible to fly backward if you have really strong headwind?

Yes, certainly! If your airspeed is lower than the speed of the headwind, the aircraft will fly backwards relative to the ground. Example videos: from ground (noisy, better turn down your volume) ...
bogl's user avatar
  • 10.8k
61 votes

Why don't commercial airplanes carry Earth-observing instruments?

I work in the aviation industry, specifically repair, maintenance and engineering. While not an engineer myself, I work alongside them. Adding anything to an airframe, internally or externally, ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 581
43 votes
Accepted

Why are airplanes described as the safest method of transportation?

Good news The good news is: you really are safe in an airliner, so safe that you could spend every minute of every day of the the rest of your life flying in one, and still not face any greater ...
Daniele Procida's user avatar
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
  • 56.5k
32 votes

Without wind, would a plane go straight if the pilot let go of the controls?

If the airplane is properly trimmed, the airmass is smooth, and the aircraft is inherently stable in its design, then yes - many airplanes are capable of flying straight with only very light and ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
  • 26.9k
31 votes

Are glass cockpit or steam gauge GA aircraft safer?

With rare exceptions, such as a retired fighter pilot or an ATP leisure flying in their spare time, the weakest link in a GA aircraft is overwhelmingly the pilot. Most accidents are straight pilot ...
Therac's user avatar
  • 27.6k
31 votes

What plane is most similar to the LEGO Firefighter Aircraft 42152?

I don't think this is a replica of an actual model of aircraft, however I believe that this set has taken a lot of inspiration from the Canadair CL-415 both in the design and more so in the color ...
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33.7k
30 votes

What happened to this plane during landing? Failed first time?

There are many, many reasons why a pilot might go around. The approach wasn't stable. The last plane that landed was slow to get off the runway, and the pilot or ATC decided that landing would create ...
HiddenWindshield's user avatar
30 votes

Do pilots need a different license for each type of aircraft?

Not a different "license" but a different "type rating" - a subtle, but important, distinction. Although a 747 and a 787 have the same basic controls, controlling them through all ...
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33.7k
29 votes
Accepted

What are the benefits of mounting an engine above the fuselage?

It's strictly to stay clear of spray in seaplanes, or because the engine was tacked on as an afterthought for some reason (like a motorglider conversion) and that was the only place to put it. There ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
28 votes
Accepted

How do planes maintain constant speeds at cruise altitudes?

The autopilot pitches to hold the flight level when it captures the level at the top of the climb, so later on as the aircraft gets lighter and wants to climb further, the A/P will lower the nose as ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
27 votes

What's the function of the plate behind the wheels of the Pilatus Porter?

Looks like a sort of gravel kit. Real gravel kits are used by jet powered aircraft to land on rough airfields. In this case though, the engine is in front, so it is likely that it is only there to ...
Federico's user avatar
  • 32.6k
27 votes

Can you put a propeller on the back of a plane, and have it go forward?

Yes, in fact airplanes with pusher propellers were flying before those with tractor propellers: Photo Credit: Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.8k
26 votes

Can this aircraft wreckage be identified?

A plane should be able to be identified by the serial numbers of the various parts recovered at the crash scene. The history of any part on a plane is documented extensively by the serial number. ...
DLH's user avatar
  • 5,809
24 votes

Why are airplanes called ‘she’?

Much of aviation has a history in Nautical terms, lore... and law. Ships were referred to as "she" perhaps for one of the following reasons The latin word for Ship is "Navis" which is a feminine ...
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33.7k
24 votes
Accepted

Can anyone Identify this FLY FAIR seaplane?

That is a Sikorsky S-38B I am not sure about the registration. My guess is NC196H, but it is one out of this list: NC158H, NC159H, NC195H, NC196H, NC197H, NC198H, NC199H, See aircrafthistory.org.uk ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
  • 83.6k
23 votes

Is it possible to fly backward if you have really strong headwind?

Yes, I have done this many times in hang gliders, and at least once in a Cessna 152. In the latter case, the wind aloft was much stronger than at the ground-- it would be foolish to take off or even ...
quiet flyer's user avatar
  • 22.7k
22 votes

What is wrong with a high-speed landing for an ultralight or GA aircraft?

Keeping too much speed in an approach in any airplane can be risky depending on how much runway you have as it all has to bleed off before you can stop. It's a great way to end up in a hedge. Extra ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
21 votes
Accepted

What are the disadvantages of using just rudder to roll an airplane?

It works in a half-assed way but the key word is half-assed. You'll always be skidding around the sky since sideslip is required to obtain and maintain any rolling moment. Control response can be ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
21 votes

Why don't commercial airplanes carry Earth-observing instruments?

Aside from the issues of weight and complexity, there are potential legal and political considerations regarding commercial carriage of certain kinds of observational equipment. Korean Airlines Flight ...
NetworkLlama's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

Can someone identify the Make and Model of airplane that this fuselage belonged to?

That looks like the remains of a De Havilland DHC-3 Otter It used to wear the registration VP-FAK. British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre at Salisbury Hall, ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
  • 83.6k
21 votes

What plane is most similar to the LEGO Firefighter Aircraft 42152?

While it could be any of the previous aircraft from the other answers, I would suggest that it is a DHC Dash 8 water bomber. Both are twin turboprops with a t-tail configuration.
Boeing787's user avatar
  • 6,464
20 votes

Why are the angle-of-attack sensors on most airplanes mounted on the forward fuselage rather than at the wing roots?

Would installing the AOA vane (or, in general, sensor) at the wing root be more accurate than installing it near the nose? No, it wouldn't. In fact, it may be slightly worse due to the larger upwash ...
JZYL's user avatar
  • 11.1k
19 votes

Why don't commercial airplanes carry Earth-observing instruments?

Is there any insurmountable technical or legal limitation to equip commercial airplanes with Earth Observing instruments? This question would probably be better answered on space.se, by people who ...
mins's user avatar
  • 74.8k
19 votes

Is it possible to fly backward if you have really strong headwind?

Been there, done that. A poorly forecast cold front once had me flying backwards in a Cessna 172 over Altoona, IFR (instrument flight rules) at night. Center asked me several times to verify my ...
mongo's user avatar
  • 17.8k
19 votes

Other than the rest areas for the crew - what else is in the 'attic' of an aeroplane?

The “attic” is mostly unused. The area above the passenger cabin is also called the crown area. Some aircraft do use part of it for crew rest areas. That area can also used to route electrical wiring, ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.8k
18 votes

Why does airflow separate from the wing during stall?

Air flowing underneath the wing at an angle is pushed downwards, regardless of the shape of the lower surface: high pressure has few practical limits. Air flowing over the upper surface cannot ...
Koyovis's user avatar
  • 61.8k
17 votes

Why are airplanes described as the safest method of transportation?

Ships are subject to storms, aircraft fly above them. Cars are confined to a very crowded space called a road, and can collide with all the other cars sharing the road - aircraft have the infinite ...
Koyovis's user avatar
  • 61.8k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible