37 votes
Accepted

Why does my wind tunnel experiment give two different stall angles of attack?

This is called stall hysteresis. You have two different situations and the flow reacts differently in each of them. When increasing the AOA The flow is attached to the wing and the boundary layer is ...
MaximEck's user avatar
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37 votes

Why do planes fly at a high angle of attack when flying slow?

Lift is (among other things) a function of the airspeed and the angle of attack of the wing. Hence, if you reduce your speed, you have to compensate the associated lift loss by increasing the angle of ...
xxavier's user avatar
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34 votes
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What is the stall AoA for the space shuttle?

As far as I can tell, NASA has never given a straight-forward answer to this question. The theoretical stall AoA is likely in the 33-40° range (see reason for that guess below). However, at ...
Bret Copeland's user avatar
22 votes
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Can a taildragger land tail first?

It's possible to land by touching the tail first, but this is undesirable as it puts a lot of stress on the tail, so it's not trained for and there are no circumstances where you would do this ...
Dan Hulme's user avatar
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22 votes

Why do planes fly at a high angle of attack when flying slow?

In order to maintain level flight, an airplane must generate lift equivalent to its weight. The lift generated by a wing diminishes rapidly as the airspeed decreases. To compensate, the angle of ...
Fred Larson's user avatar
  • 2,468
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
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19 votes

Why do most light aircraft not have AoA indicators?

Historical inertia, mainly. AoA indicators aren't too terribly expensive to install anymore, but they were until very recently. We are now in a period where AoA indicators are fairly inexpensive and ...
Chris's user avatar
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18 votes
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Why does stall speed decrease when flaps are deployed?

Your stall speed decreases because the $C_{L_{MAX}}$ of the wing increases with flaps deflected. Deploying flaps increases wing camber and increases both $C_L$ and $C_D$ at the same AoA and airspeed. ...
Koyovis's user avatar
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18 votes

Why doesn't critical angle of attack increase with airspeed?

Your scepticism is justified. The critical angle of attack (cAoA) can grow as well as shrink with increasing airspeed. Growth is generally due to a higher Reynolds number while a reduction in the cAoA ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
17 votes

Why is angle of attack information not displayed in the cockpit?

Many aircraft do include them, because it's very useful. For example a modern 737: A Garmin G1000 (one of the more common General Aviation glass cockpits): Specifically the part that looks a bit ...
Jon Story's user avatar
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17 votes

Why does RPM for a fixed-pitch propeller change with an aircraft's pitch?

The driving variable here is airspeed, not pitch attitude per se. Your airplane naturally goes faster when you put the stick forward and decrease the wing's angle-of-attack, and this changes the prop ...
quiet flyer's user avatar
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16 votes
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Why angle of attack is always shown against the relative wind parallel to horizon?

I think this has been at least hinted at in other answers, but, just to put it succinctly, the diagrams aren't actually intended to show the airflow as always being parallel to the horizon. The ...
reirab's user avatar
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15 votes
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What does it mean when pitch numbers move all over the HUD screen?

Most modern military aircraft HUDs have two primary methods of displaying the velocity vector (or flight path vector) relative to the pitch ladder. Uncaged Mode When the HUD is operating in uncaged ...
Rhino Driver's user avatar
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14 votes

Why are the AOA sensors placed outside the aircraft?

No, it is not possible to place the sensors inside the aircraft, because the angle-of attack sensors need exposure to the surrounding air, in order to measure, as you mention yourself, "relative ...
Daniele Procida's user avatar
14 votes

Why do most light aircraft not have AoA indicators?

One reason is just that it is hard to build as a console instrument for light aircraft. Just having an indicator on the side is easy, but having it show up in instrument cluster requires measuring an ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
13 votes

Why is angle of attack information not displayed in the cockpit?

Slightly off-topic, but I recently came across the "side string" which gives a direct reading of AoA. Every gilder pilot is familiar with the yaw string, but in two years of learning to fly gliders, ...
KJP's user avatar
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13 votes
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Does airspeed affect the critical angle of attack on an airfoil?

Yes, through the Reynolds number The Reynolds Number is a function of airspeed and is used to predict the transition from laminar to turbuluent flow: $$ {Re} = \frac{\rho v L}{\mu} = \frac{v L}{\nu}...
AEhere supports Monica's user avatar
13 votes
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How many AOA sensors does the 737 MAX have?

The Boeing 737 MAX has 2 AoA sensors. However, MCAS only takes input from 1 AoA sensor at a time. Sources: The black box flight recorder data for Lion Air JT610 shows the data from 2 AoA sensors, ...
mike's user avatar
  • 366
13 votes

Can induced drag be negative?

Can induced drag be negative? Not for the full configuration, but for parts of it. Induced drag is part of the reaction force when a stream of air is deflected. This reaction force is split into one ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
13 votes
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Will the autopilot raise the AoA above the critical AoA to maintain altitude?

Ralph wrote a nice answer for the Boeing 737, which is a conventionally controlled aircraft, meaning the yokes are mechanically linked to the flight control actuators. Airbus A320 The Airbus A320 ...
Bianfable's user avatar
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12 votes
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Will an Airbus A320 plane go into an unrecoverable nosedive and crash if a single angle of attack sensor fails, like on Lion Air JT610?

if a single angle of attack sensor fails No. An A320 has three AoA sensors. If one reports a different value to the other two, the avionics will ignore values from that AoA sensor and use the values ...
RedGrittyBrick's user avatar
12 votes

Is there a simple relationship between angle of attack and lift coefficient?

In the post-stall regime, airflow around the wing can be modelled as an elastic collision with the wing's lower surface, like a tennis ball striking a flat plate at an angle. Lift and drag are thus: $...
Rainer P.'s user avatar
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11 votes
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Is it possible to get into a spin situation while coordinated?

Yes, what you describe is perfectly possible. A stall in banked flight can result in a spin, given you fly the "right" plane. My first flight in an ASW-20C was late in the afternoon, when most ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
11 votes

Why does stall speed decrease when flaps are deployed?

The flaps mostly increase the camber, which increases the Cl (albeit, with greater drag). In quite a few cases (especially low-end GA aircraft) the flaps have little or no effect on the wing's ...
Jerry Coffin's user avatar
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11 votes
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Is drag coefficient lowest at zero angle of attack?

Obviously, drag should be smallest for symmetrical airfoils at zero angle of attack. However, most airfoils have camber, and then the lowest drag is at positive lift coefficients in case of positive ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Could airliners fetch data like AoA and speed from an INS?

An INS gives your speed & orientation in space, but without reference to what the airmass that you're flying in is doing. The Pitot tube and AOA sensors give speed and pitch orientation in ...
Ralph J's user avatar
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