Archive for November, 2010

The Upside Down Airplane Flight

As with most nerds that are connected to the internet, I read xkcd regularly. Ever since this comic posted, I’ve had a nagging sense to figure out the answer.

After reading Stick and Rudder, I figured it out.  Basically, once you turn the plane upside down you need to hold the yoke forward (like a dive*) to overcome both the weight of the plane as well as the (negative) lift of the wing.

*Actually, to dive in a plane you need throttle back.  Holding the yoke down will actually make you temporarily dive then you will speed up and come to a level flight, if you hold the yoke constantly forward.

I’ve always had a natural interest in flight.  If you have too and you like theoretical mechanics, I recommend reading the book.  There are a lot of things that go against common sense in flight.


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