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95 votes

What is the slowest fixed-wing airplane?

The Gossamer Albatross is a human-powered plane with a top speed of 29 km/h (18mph). It was used to cross the English Channel and seems to meet the criteria of the question.
Michael Schumacher's user avatar
61 votes

What is the slowest fixed-wing airplane?

The Antonov AN-2 has no stall speed quoted in the operating manual and can fly under full control at about 30 mph. Thus if the headwind is sufficiently large the aircraft will move backwards with ...
Brilsmurfffje's user avatar
47 votes

What is the slowest fixed-wing airplane?

The Harrier, Yak-38, Yak-141, XV-15, and V-22 are all fixed wing aircraft. All can hover in mid air, controlled. So they are in controlled flight at 0 velocity. At least the Harrier can even be in ...
jwenting's user avatar
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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
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30 votes
Accepted

Why is the ball no longer centred in a multi-engine airplane with inoperable engine?

Asymmetric thrust means now you have more thrust on one side than the other. A yawing moment results. You want to balance this yawing moment in order to still fly straight. This means the airplane ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
21 votes

What is the slowest fixed-wing airplane?

now, if you're looking at modern, more commonly used transportation, powered paragliding would probably take the cake. CC BY 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13110495 Powered ...
tuskiomi's user avatar
  • 564
18 votes

What is the slowest fixed-wing airplane?

If you are including historical aircraft, the Wright Flyer averaged 10 fps (approx 6.8 mph or 11 kph) over it's first 120 foot flight in 1903. Reference: https://airandspace.si.edu/exhibitions/wright-...
user112358's user avatar
17 votes

Can a tiltrotor fly safely with one engine?

Short Answer: yes. If they could not, they'd likely not get certified One engine can drive both prop rotors. After digging into an old version of the V-22 flight manual, I find a whole pile of tables ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Could flywheel type gyros stablize a plane?

I actually have a lot of experience in the shipboard systems that you are talking about. First, the gyro's do not keep the boat upright, they counter the rolling effect of waves but they cannot ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
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15 votes

What is the slowest fixed-wing airplane?

Gossamer Condor, the first human powered airplane capable of basic maneuvered flight. When it finally won the Kremer prize for a 1 mile figure 8 course it did that course in 7 minutes and 22 seconds. ...
pbm's user avatar
  • 151
14 votes

What is the slowest fixed-wing airplane?

Building it just for very slow speed does not look practical (if you really need this, use helicopter). Some old planes may be slower, but they do not use the newest technologies and may not be built ...
h22's user avatar
  • 12.1k
14 votes

What is the slowest fixed-wing airplane?

The Ruppert Archaeoptrix Electro (Wikipedia, official website) apparently has a stall speed of 30 km/h (19 mph / 16 kn), and I think that makes it a candidate for the current "slowest" fixed wing ...
flawr's user avatar
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14 votes
Accepted

Can a tiltrotor fly safely with one engine?

This concern was one of the major design challenges in the development of tilt-rotor VTOL craft. In every flying example I'm aware of, it was solved one of two ways: either the engines were embedded ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 17.1k
14 votes

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

Yes. Most aircraft are designed to be inherently stable. That is, if you just let go of the controls, the aircraft will return to whatever it is trimmed to - typically stable and level flight. Trims ...
Harper - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
13 votes

Do symmetrical airfoils generate induced drag?

If an airfoil is producing lift, then it will be producing induced drag. Both cambered and symmetrical airfoils have an angle of attack at which they produce no lift, no induced drag, and no pressure ...
Neil_UK's user avatar
  • 435
12 votes

What is the slowest fixed-wing airplane?

You should check out planes with custer wings. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Custer_CCW-5 It was claimed that the aircraft could fly under control at 11 mph (18 km/h) and that it could take off with ...
Foo's user avatar
  • 121
12 votes
Accepted

When bailing out of a T6 what is the intended path that the pilot clears the horizontal stabilizer?

I was jumping many years ago. You will travel almost at the T6's speed momentarily as you fall, so if it's flying level at 1G when you go over the side, you drop straight away behind the wing trailing ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
12 votes
Accepted

With existing tech and knowledge of meteorology, can aircraft be designed to reliably improve their range or loiter using updrafts to gain altitude?

Thermals are finite. This means they have a useful diameter which is smaller than the diameter of the smallest circle most airplanes can fly. The wing loading of a heavy (= full ballast tanks) glider ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
11 votes

Is there anything wrong with this more symmetric aircraft design, and why isn't it used?

You are right, a symmetric layout would reduce flight mechanical complications like rudder movements causing a rolling moment on top of the intended yawing moment. But would it be worth it? Airplanes ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
9 votes

What are the aerodynamic advantages and disadvantages of the Weltensegler wing?

The inspiration for the Weltensegler wing were birds. The reason for their wing shape is structural, however, not aerodynamic. Your photo shows the 1922 version, called "Baden-Baden Stolz", which was ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
9 votes

Why do experimental aircraft have such long tubes on the nose?

Yes- you can see an array of little doodads sprouting from the pitot probe in this photo, they are for accurately measuring the direction of airflow in 3 dimensions. They also are long to ensure that ...
niels nielsen's user avatar
8 votes

Is there anything wrong with this more symmetric aircraft design, and why isn't it used?

The biggest single problem with this is the location of the main spar - across the middle of the fuselage. This might not be a problem for single seat military or sports aircraft but would be a major ...
Airsick's user avatar
  • 81
8 votes

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

The real answer is that it would fly fairly straight. This was realised by the Wright brothers who were bicycle makers. Both for bicycles and aircraft you have a choice between stability and ...
Philip Roe's user avatar
7 votes

Why do (almost) all military transports have high wings and civilian transports low wings?

Low wings are favored for civil aviation because this puts the passenger cabin on top of the wing. Damage from non-normal landings (gear up, no runway, missed the runway, etc.) will happen to the wing,...
Bill IV's user avatar
  • 1,092
7 votes

What is the slowest fixed-wing airplane?

Slepcev Storch (A 3/4-size replica of the Fieseler Fi 156 Storch, a German WW2 reconnaissance aircraft well known for its slow-speed performance) 36 km/h or 40 km/h (19kn/22kn) Picture Source ...
Thunderstrike's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Why are there no 4-winged airplanes?

With larger wings comes more drag. True, because the drag is a function of the wing area A: $$ D = C_D \cdot \frac {1}{2} \rho \cdot V^2 \cdot A $$ You need a certain wing area to support the weight ...
Koyovis's user avatar
  • 61.8k
7 votes

How is the centre of lift and centre of gravity misalignment problem solved in Delta wing aircraft?

The effect of a horizontal tail can be built into a tailless aeroplane in two ways: By integrating into the wing profile: a horizontal s-shape with the trailing edge turned up. By combining positive ...
Koyovis's user avatar
  • 61.8k
7 votes

Could a BV-347 be upgraded by extending the wings?

In principle, if you have money, time and nothing better to do, yes, but it would be a Frankenstein's aircraft that would be a terrible plane and helicopter at the same time. Wings on helicopters ...
AEhere supports Monica's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Do symmetrical airfoils generate induced drag?

It depends on the angle of attack. If it is non-zero there will still be a different airflow on both sides - leading to different pressures and thus induced drag.
tsg's user avatar
  • 2,761
6 votes

Is there anything wrong with this more symmetric aircraft design, and why isn't it used?

Just to add a very basic consideration to the already good answers here. While there may be minor advantages of having the vertical tail symmetry, there is no actual symmetry in the vertical plane ...
Zeus's user avatar
  • 9,073

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