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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
  • 73.9k
35 votes

Why are the colors of the MiG-15's attitude indicator inverted?

That attitude gyro reacts in the opposite manner to pitch movement (pitch down = horizon line rolls DOWN) compared to the "conventional" manner (pitch down, horizon line rolls UP). This is ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
34 votes

Is it normal for gliders not to have attitude indicators?

Yes, it is normal. With very rare exceptions, gliders are not allowed to operate in IMC (instrument Meteorological Conditions) and must remain clear of clouds. There are also powered aircraft that do ...
Juan Jimenez's user avatar
32 votes
Accepted

How is a confusion possible between Western and Russian Attitude Indicators?

It's so easy to sit in our comfy lounge chairs and wonder how on Earth pilots get things wrong. The error didn't happen without context. It was dark. There was little to no external visual reference ...
Ben's user avatar
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29 votes
Accepted

What is the exact meaning of "attitude", does it include translational movement?

Your assumption is correct, attitude is orientation in space and it excludes translation. Object orientation in space can be defined using multiple systems. The one used in aviation uses three angles:...
mins's user avatar
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26 votes

Why are the colors of the MiG-15's attitude indicator inverted?

This is interesting! The only lead I was able to find (so far) is this discussion thread, with a comment: The colour becomes logical, if you see it moving. Climbing the plane which shows the sky ...
Jpe61's user avatar
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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
23 votes

How do missiles navigate and determine their orientation without GPS?

As per comments, this question is referring to guided weapons such as Stinger (IR guidance). Guided missiles that acquire their target via signal return, such as infrared, radar or laser designation (...
Jpe61's user avatar
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22 votes
Accepted

Is there a name for change in attitude with respect to time?

The components of attitude vector are called: yaw (or heading) is the angle of longitudinal (x) axis in horizontal plane, pitch is angle of longitudinal (x) axis from the horizontal and roll is angle ...
Jan Hudec's user avatar
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22 votes
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Why wouldn't the angle markings on an attitude indicator match the horizon line?

The degree markers are correct, and it's done to improve the readability of the instrument. If the horizon line was "accurate" at that moment, it would be off the screen and you would be ...
hobbs's user avatar
  • 769
20 votes

Is it normal for gliders not to have attitude indicators?

As pointed out by Juan's answer, they are not required for the kind of operations allowed for gliders, so they are left out for cost reasons. Furthermore, artificial horizons are relatively complex ...
AEhere supports Monica's user avatar
19 votes

Would mechanical indicators have helped in the Air France 447 incident?

Unfortunately, if there had been a jazz band in the cockpit singing "The plane is stalling" it wouldn't have helped. If Moses had been in there carrying a stone tablet newly-carved by God himself ...
Daniele Procida's user avatar
17 votes
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Best way to correct for plane's natural tendency to turn left?

Always use rudder to keep the slip skid ball centered. Except when taking off and landing in crosswinds, that's all you ever do with it. If the airplane rolls with the slip/skid ball centered, that's ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
16 votes

Would mechanical indicators have helped in the Air France 447 incident?

@mike rodent I've read your comments on this post and they seem rather strong in tone to me. I'm joining the discussion here to hopefully explain to you why your ideas are not going to work as you ...
kevin's user avatar
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16 votes
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Is it normal for gliders not to have attitude indicators?

In most countries, for contest flying in gliders, the rules prohibit any kind of attitude indicator or turn rate indicator, to ensure that pilots do not illegally enter clouds and gain an unfair ...
quiet flyer's user avatar
  • 22.7k
15 votes

How is a confusion possible between Western and Russian Attitude Indicators?

The basic premise has been mentioned by everyone above: the basic instinct is to 'right the wrong', and if we see some indication tilted left, we instinctively want to move it right. It's possible to ...
Zeus's user avatar
  • 9,083
15 votes
Accepted

Why was pitch angle protection not active in the CRJ 200 during the crash of Sweden Air 294?

I am intimately familiar with that incident. The airplane only had FDR recording the left PFD so they don't really know what was showing on the right one based on FDR. The only pitch angle ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
13 votes

How is a confusion possible between Western and Russian Attitude Indicators?

Just adding few more points to the already existing answers. I agree with previous commenters - some understanding of pilot perception and context is needed. @Claudix, the image used in your original ...
Electric Pilot's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

Were the original gyroscopic artificial horizons "upside-down"?

Yes top and bottom were reversed, and there were labels to indicate climb and dive directions. Sperry advertisement circa 1959: Source However such indicators were competing with another design from ...
mins's user avatar
  • 74.5k
12 votes

Would mechanical indicators have helped in the Air France 447 incident?

A flag is not really effective because a big jets stalling speed is well over 100+ knots. The flag will be blowing fully even in the stall. I'm not familiar with the ship suggestion but it sounds like ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 14.5k
12 votes
Accepted

How do missiles navigate and determine their orientation without GPS?

Modern missiles pretty much all determine their orientation via some sort of IMU. Note that you do not need super-expensive RLG-IMU, but you might get away with cheaper MEMS-based IMUs (*1). However (...
U_flow's user avatar
  • 3,840
11 votes

Would mechanical indicators have helped in the Air France 447 incident?

Wouldn't these two measures have had a good chance of providing the pilots of AF 447 with a true and totally irrefutable mental picture of what was actually going on? No more so than the standard ...
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33.3k
11 votes
Accepted

What's the meaning of "straight and level"?

Is this use of "straight and level" correct? What is the definition of straight and level, if any, regarding heading, attitude, speed, altitude? In the airplane flying handbook the FAA defines ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
10 votes

Can a small GA plane maintain level flight with a significant nose-down attitude?

I may have misunderstood the question but I think the answer may be... flaps. Wing flaps will increase the lifting ability of the wing and at a constant airspeed the nose will need to be lowered to ...
BDLPPL's user avatar
  • 677
9 votes
Accepted

How can I estimate Roll from Position?

You can, but the accuracy is going to be somewhat poor. Given the positions you can approximate the path with your favourite line approximation method. The important thing is that it can give you ...
Federico's user avatar
  • 32.6k
9 votes

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

Positive G vs Negative G. The pilot and aircraft can sustain greater pos G than neg. This would allow them follow a sharper arc going over the top, and stay closer to the landscape. Of course, an ...
WPNSGuy's user avatar
  • 9,037
8 votes

How can pilots fly inside a cloud?

These are some very well written and complete answers. I would also like to offer my own perspective and context in the matter. A modern IFR aircraft will have 2 sets of flight instruments: (1) ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 4,318
8 votes

Can a small GA plane maintain level flight with a significant nose-down attitude?

Beyond a very small angle, a nose-down attitude means a negative AoA, and lift will be negative. A nose-high attitude is different, because lift will be always positive, even beyond the critical ...
xxavier's user avatar
  • 11.1k
8 votes
Accepted

Can a small GA plane maintain level flight with a significant nose-down attitude?

It depends on the angle of the wing chord line relative to the fuselage and also on the current vertical component of the wind. A normal light GA airplane will not be able to fly level with a negative ...
reirab's user avatar
  • 19.5k

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