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94 votes

Why don't aircraft use nuclear propulsion?

TL;dr - too heavy :-) It's just not a good energy source for something like an aircraft. Nuclear energy is superb for instances where you need continuous output over a long period of time, for ...
Rory Alsop's user avatar
  • 1,475
86 votes

Are the guns on a fighter jet fixed or can they be aimed?

They are fixed, and many attempts were made over the years to have an aiming capability - and all failed. That should tell you something. The earliest aereal combats used indeed handguns which were ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
73 votes

Why don't aircraft use nuclear propulsion?

To a large extent, it wasn't revived because the only realistic use case became obsolete. The USA and USSR were both interested in nuclear-powered long-range bombers. The plan was to have a fleet of ...
David Richerby's user avatar
72 votes

Locked out of private jet - how do you get in?

It depends on the exact model. Bobby pins or any key that physically fits will get you into some, you'll need real picks for others, and some custom jobs may require a police snap gun or a locksmith's ...
Therac's user avatar
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70 votes

Why is this missile positioned in this odd position? How can it be launched correctly?

You're seeing the Sidewinder on the folded up wingtip of the F-18 that is in the foreground out of frame except for its wing tip and missile sticking up at the bottom. The airplane is between the ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
50 votes
Accepted

What is this jetliner seen in the Falcon Crest TV series?

It is a Grumman Gulfstream II business jet, not an airliner. The oval windows are very unique to both the Grumman Gulfstream I business turboprop, and Grumman Gulfstream II business jet. The small ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
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49 votes
Accepted

Are the guns on a fighter jet fixed or can they be aimed?

The guns of modern fighter jets are fixed to the airframe—they can't be moved in any direction; the pilot has to maneuver the aircraft to bring the guns to bear. The image shows the mounting of ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
42 votes
Accepted

What does this hand gesture of fighter jet pilots mean?

It is the signal to perform a fuel check. (Actually: "How much fuel have you?") The hand mimics drinking from a bottle, and when given by a formation flight lead it is intended to prompt ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
  • 26.5k
37 votes

Can a jet stream make a subsonic plane fly at a supersonic speed relative to the ground?

Yes, the ground speed of a subsonic aircraft could be larger than the speed of sound. As an example, during the record time for a subsonic Atlantic crossing a Boeing 747 reached speeds of up to 1327 ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 55.9k
36 votes
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Slanted Brown Rectangles on Aircraft Carriers?

The rectangles are called impact pads. The ends of the arresting cable tend to snap back onto the deck after an aircraft catches it. The replaceable polyurethane pads protect the carrier deck from the ...
fooot's user avatar
  • 73.4k
33 votes

Were propeller airplanes significantly more "scary" to fly in compared to modern jet ones?

Old propeller airliners were much more prone to "bumpy" ride than modern jets, for one major reason: they flew lower. When I was in my early teens (almost fifty years ago), I flew several ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
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32 votes
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Can a missile be fired when a fighter jet is inverted?

The combat advantage of fighters (as opposed to heavier-payload bombers) is their maneuverability, therefore a missile delivery restriction such as g-limit (think Sidewinder heat-seeker in a dogfight) ...
air servant's user avatar
31 votes
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Is it correct that a jet fighter can be used as a non-lethal (sonic) weapon?

Sonic booms from low flying aircraft, while loud, don't seem to cause hearing damage, as this F-14 pilot demonstrates during a Tiger Cruise air wing demonstration. ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
30 votes
Accepted

Which fighter jet is this, based on the silhouette?

What you've got there is a real life F-15! Love this aircraft, it's just got that quintessential military jet look about it. There are 2 features which make it stand out The shape of the trailing ...
Jamiec's user avatar
  • 33.3k
29 votes
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Is it possible to fly around the world to stay in daylight with a fighter jet?

Even near the equinox, when the day length is essentially the same over the entire world, this is possible. At the equator, not so much; you'd have to average around Mach 1.5, including slowdowns for ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 17.1k
28 votes

Are the guns on a fighter jet fixed or can they be aimed?

They are fixed. The pilot must maneuver the aircraft such that the trajectory of the bullets will impact his selected target. Here is a picture of the HUD on a F/A-18 during a gun run on a ground ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.7k
27 votes

Is it correct that a jet fighter can be used as a non-lethal (sonic) weapon?

An American F-16 pilot scared off Iraqi troops closing in on an SAS force in 2003. Apparently the pilot could not visually identify the SAS force, so instead of dropping ordinance and potentially ...
dotancohen's user avatar
  • 6,377
27 votes

What kind of jet plane is this?

That is a Bede BD-5, a microjet famously flown by James Bond. Based on the tail it may be the propeller variant. (source)
Dave's user avatar
  • 101k
26 votes

Are the guns on a fighter jet fixed or can they be aimed?

I was a light attack pilot in the 1980s and flew off the USS Nimitz. I don't want to give anyone the idea that air-to-air warfare is something that can be scripted. It is highly complex, like chess, ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 4,318
26 votes
Accepted

How does a turbofan with afterburner continue to function in extreme humidity and rain?

The air is compressed in the compressor section of the engine and heats up. Hot air is able to hold disproportionally more water in gaseous form than cold air, so all that water will vaporize and ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
25 votes

Is it correct that a jet fighter can be used as a non-lethal (sonic) weapon?

The use of a "show of force" by supersonic aircraft has variable influence on the ground Could you, in theory, protect the border of a country from intruding crowds by simply flying over them (...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
25 votes

Would it be feasible to build a jet fighter plane based on a wooden construction?

The wings and a few parts of the body of the Heinkel He 162 jet fighter were made of plywood. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinkel_He_162#Konstruktion_und_Ausr.C3.BCstung The Bachem Ba 349 'Natter', ...
xxavier's user avatar
  • 11.1k
25 votes
Accepted

Why didn't early jetliners use turbofans?

Production turbofans just weren't available. Once they came on the market and were mass-produced, jetliners switched to them. While turboprops did exist at the time, they were (and are) a turbine ...
Therac's user avatar
  • 27.4k
25 votes

Is it possible to fly around the world to stay in daylight with a fighter jet?

You can stay in perpetual daylight with a regular jetliner. During northern summer, you operate out of Iceland. You take off in the evening, circumnavigate the north pole and land back in Iceland in ...
Rainer P.'s user avatar
  • 2,920
24 votes

Slanted Brown Rectangles on Aircraft Carriers?

Good answer by fooot already, but to add some detail, it isn't the cables themselves as much as this beefy steel "knuckle" connecting the more readily replacable cross-deck pendant to the ...
Michael Hall's user avatar
  • 26.5k
23 votes

Why don't aircraft use nuclear propulsion?

Because there was no practical purpose such an aircraft would've served. First and most important, the safety concerns over such an aircraft design would make its use in civil aviation more or less ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
23 votes
Accepted

Why are most of KBOS's instrument departures and arrivals jet-only?

Performance. And the fact that most of their traffic is jets. The difference is, "jets" are pretty much all capable of accelerating quickly to 250 knots and climbing out expeditiously, and ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.8k
22 votes

Why does the speed of commercial airliners fluctuate, sometimes as high as 1,060 km/h or as low as 800 km/h?

There are three different speeds that are of relevance here: Groundspeed- This is probably the speed indicated to the passenger. For them, this is the most relevant as it determines the time taken ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k

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