149 votes
Accepted

Did we get closer to another plane than we were supposed to, or was the pilot just protecting our delicate sensibilities?

From the flightradar24 playback, it appears to have been an encounter with Etihad Airways 171. Your flight (Alaska) was at FL360, while the opposing was at FL370. Therefore, there was 1000 feet of ...
Gremlin's user avatar
  • 947
139 votes
Accepted

What is this plane flying in overlapping circles pattern doing?

It's acting as a television broadcast relay for the 2020 Tour de Wallonie cycling race, taking place in Belgium from August 16 through August 19. The flight paths you posted correspond roughly to the ...
TypeIA's user avatar
  • 14.2k
56 votes
Accepted

Why do airplanes bank sharply to the right after air-to-air refueling?

Fighter jets are very maneuverable, so they may make anything from a shallow bank to a breakaway maneuver. The breakaway is a standard way for fighter jets to exit a formation. It provides a way to ...
fooot's user avatar
  • 72.8k
53 votes

Did we get closer to another plane than we were supposed to, or was the pilot just protecting our delicate sensibilities?

It's unlikely. Because of RVSM, Reduced Vertical Separation Minima rules, the vertical distance between airplanes passing each other is only 1000 ft. If you were in the flight deck so you could see ...
John K's user avatar
  • 130k
44 votes

Why do airplanes bank sharply to the right after air-to-air refueling?

Doesn't really look all that aggressive to me, either way the fighter and the tanker are very vulnerable while refueling. Usually there is more than one aircraft waiting to refuel, so the goal of this ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
38 votes
Accepted

Can a plane bank without turning?

Yes it can. The steady-heading sideslip (SHSS) maneuver is used in flight testing to demonstrate static lateral/directional stability (similar maneuvers exist as sideslip approach in crosswind, or ...
JZYL's user avatar
  • 11k
36 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between a barrel roll and an aileron roll?

The difference between an aileron roll and a barrel roll is that an aileron roll's centre of rotation is very close to or on the aircraft. A barrel roll has its centre of rotation around a point ...
SMS von der Tann's user avatar
29 votes

Why did my LGA-ORD flight make an S-shaped turn round the time it was passing a storm?

I find it hard to believe that this was a holding pattern of some sort. Believe it. An hour before landing would be about the point at which the aircraft will start its descent to its destination. ...
CatchAsCatchCan's user avatar
29 votes
Accepted

Are 0g pushovers in a C172 safe/legal?

When doing "bunts", it's about the oil, not the fuel. The airframe doesn't care; it's in a ballistic arc and is completely unloaded, like some trash you launched into a neighbor's yard with ...
John K's user avatar
  • 130k
27 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between a forward slip and a side slip?

There is no difference aerodynamically. The only difference is in intention and presence of the wind. The airplane does not care about the ground track, all it feels is the movement through the air. ...
Martin's user avatar
  • 2,766
26 votes

As a plane gets slower, why does a certain bank angle make you turn faster?

Rate of turn is dependent on the following two items: The horizontal component of lift (centripetal force) The tangential velocity of the aircraft (true airspeed) The rate or turn is directly ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 73.5k
25 votes
Accepted

Which Provides a Faster Turn - A Horizontal Turn or a Vertical Loop?

Bottom line: you need to keep the aircraft as close as possible to its "Corner Velocity", which is the highest point on its energy maneuverability diagram. (Note, all this comes from an ...
Charles Bretana's user avatar
23 votes

What is the difference between a barrel roll and an aileron roll?

In a barrel roll, the aircraft rotates both in its longitudinal and lateral axes, while in case of aileron roll, the rotation is only about the longitudinal axis. A barrel roll, image from ...
aeroalias's user avatar
  • 100k
21 votes
Accepted

How will a prolonged series of steep turns produce a stall in subsequent level flight?

A prolonged series of steep turns will not produce a stall in subsequent straight and level flight. "after perhaps twenty turns have been completed, it will stall: stall, mark you, out of level ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.7k
21 votes

Why did my LGA-ORD flight make an S-shaped turn round the time it was passing a storm?

Based on your provided flight info, I looked up the track history on flightradar and did see some potential traffic conflict that might have tempted the controller to route your plane that way. The ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.7k
20 votes

As a plane gets slower, why does a certain bank angle make you turn faster?

Another way of explaining it in simpler terms would be: Two vehicles, driving at 10m/s and 100 m/s respectively, both execute 180 degree turns to the left. The catch is that each car must do the ...
callisto's user avatar
  • 301
19 votes

Why is Russian super-maneuverable thrust vectoring more prevalent than American?

This is a case of divergent design, and you can't know the answer without asking why current aircraft are designed they way they are. Following the work of Col. John Boyd in the 1960's in developing ...
Precious Mettle's user avatar
19 votes

Is it possible to perform a spin recovery in IMC?

I do not want to speak for civilian training here, and I do know that each aircraft has its own set of emergency procedures. Those procedures will depend upon the instrumentation that you have ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 4,308
19 votes
Accepted

Why is this plane flying a circular track?

A recent article in Aviation Week showed a modified Bombardier Global 6000 with a "canoe" type fairing underneath the fuselage which typically houses a variety of radar or electronic intelligence (...
PeterT's user avatar
  • 407
19 votes
Accepted

Can TCAS and GPWS work at the same time?

Yes they can work together. It's not particularly sophisticated. Essentially there is a priority list for all alerts. For TAWS/GPWS and TCAS, the TAWS/GPWS alerts will take precedence over a TCAS RA (...
Gerry's user avatar
  • 19.7k
17 votes

Is it possible to perform a spin recovery in IMC?

Entirely possible, although it is the turn coordinator not the artificial horizon that is primary -- to determine the direction of the spin. Nose-down elevator, rudder opposite the spin, the when ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.1k
17 votes

Can a plane bank without turning?

Yes, it's entirely possible. You can use the rudder to oppose the turn induced by the roll, and thus fly straight. However, doing so means that your nose is pointed off at an angle from your direction ...
HiddenWindshield's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

Why is Russian super-maneuverable thrust vectoring more prevalent than American?

Part 1 - TVC Perception The US also ran several programs with TVC: F-15 STOL/MTD and ACTIVE. F-16 VISTA / MATV. AVEN: F-18 HARV (High Alpha Research Vehicle)...
Hephaestus Aetnaean's user avatar
16 votes

Why do airplanes bank sharply to the right after air-to-air refueling?

Different air forces may operate with different conventions, but right from basic flight training the RAF classifies banked turns of 20 degrees as "gentle," 40 as "medium" and 60 as "steep," and the ...
alephzero's user avatar
  • 3,030
14 votes
Accepted

How do pilots make rudder inputs during negative G flight?

The short answer is that at negative 2 G, the airframe limit for the A7-E, it took little effort to keep your feet on the rudder pedals. In controlled flight there are aircraft limitations on both ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 4,308
14 votes
Accepted

How do planes respond aerodynamically when bringing them into inverted flight by rolling?

I fly such a plane. My Laser has full inverted systems (oil, gas) and symmetrical airfoils. You're right that when in upright flight the wings are producing lift in the direction away from the ...
Dan Pichelman's user avatar
13 votes
Accepted

How does an airplane do a Kulbit manoeuvre?

The Kulbit maneuver is a variation on the Cobra maneuver (Pugachev's Cobra) with a higher pitch rate and continuous positive pitch rate throughout the maneuver. It requires two things: A docile pitch ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
13 votes

Why is this plane flying a circular track?

My theory here is that this was a flight check of the NDB at Jalalabad, but I could very well be wrong. Land-based navigation aids (such as VORs, DMEs, ILSes, and NDBs) can fail, and not always in a &...
UnrecognizedFallingObject's user avatar
13 votes

What exactly is a "coordinated" turn?

It's important not to overthink it. I'll keep it simple. A coordinated turn means you are keeping the tail lined up with the nose in the airstream. If you are uncoordinated, you are flying sideways ...
John K's user avatar
  • 130k

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