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(Popular Mechanics)   In the new movie Flight, the pilot turns his airliner upside down to save it from an uncontrolled descent. Is that really possible? Here comes the aeronautical science   (popularmechanics.com) divider line 91
    More: Interesting, aeronautical science, landing gear, flight controls, catastrophic failure, blood  
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8519 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Nov 2012 at 11:02 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-06 07:35:15 AM
Forget all that. Whip? WHIP? How many are going to now say that with an emphasise on the h

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mnAC5KWvJc
 
2012-11-06 07:54:31 AM
Pretty sure that would void the warranty.
 
2012-11-06 08:16:32 AM
Patches O'Houlihan says, "If you can barrel-roll a 707, you can barrel-roll a ball."
 
2012-11-06 08:16:59 AM
Why was it going down in the first place? Did somebody deflate the autopilot again?
 
2012-11-06 08:38:35 AM
I used to fly inverted while shooting instrument approaches in the sim. My instructor called me a smartass.
 
2012-11-06 10:14:21 AM
There was a real life flight disaster where the plane lost some flap hydraulics or controls and the pilots tried the inverted method to try to save the plane but were unable to manage it. Valiant attempt.
 
2012-11-06 10:18:53 AM
Flying an aircraft that size upside down has to be tough. It's a different situation altogether.
 
2012-11-06 10:34:08 AM
It's an entirely different kind of flying altogether.
 
2012-11-06 10:35:55 AM

UberDave: Flying an aircraft that size upside down has to be tough. It's a different situation altogether.


It's a different situation...

Flying inverted is flying inverted, the difference in an airliner is that if your solution goes to shiat, because of inertia, it doesn't respond as quickly to control inputs if and when you need to fix things. This of course does not take into account things like passenger comfort or other features of aerobatic aircraft, like symmetrical wings and inverted-capable fuel and oil systems.

Other than that, spatial-awareness-wise, it's not much different than flying a Cessna inverted.
 
2012-11-06 11:09:06 AM
What? Now flying inverted is hard or something?

www.gamerevolution.com
 
2012-11-06 11:09:48 AM

Charlie Freak: UberDave: Flying an aircraft that size upside down has to be tough. It's a different situation altogether.

It's a different situation...

Flying inverted is flying inverted, the difference in an airliner is that if your solution goes to shiat, because of inertia, it doesn't respond as quickly to control inputs if and when you need to fix things. This of course does not take into account things like passenger comfort or other features of aerobatic aircraft, like symmetrical wings and inverted-capable fuel and oil systems.

Other than that, spatial-awareness-wise, it's not much different than flying a Cessna inverted.


Looks like somebody didn't get the joke...
 
2012-11-06 11:10:26 AM
Not in the conditions in the movie... the movie shows skin elements ripping off during the dive. A vehicle diving from cruise altitude and speed will encounter substantial aeroelastic and aeroservoelastic failure. That flight attitude would be well outside the envelope of the flight controller. Not to mention the negative Gs experienced during the incident...
 
2012-11-06 11:14:45 AM

Eddie Adams from Torrance: It's an entirely different kind of flying altogether.


It's an entirely different kind of flying.
 
2012-11-06 11:15:31 AM
what?

No.

You pull back on the stick to leave a dive.

If you have stalled, you point the nose at the ground until you have sufficient airspeed to pull back on the stick and return to level flight.

If you're stuck in a flat spin in a commercial airliner, you stick your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.

/really no other options to my knowledge.
 
2012-11-06 11:18:12 AM
Always bet on black!
 
2012-11-06 11:19:35 AM

serial_crusher: Why was it going down in the first place? Did somebody deflate the autopilot again?


Because it helps the plot.

It doesn't even have to be realistic at all. The movie isn't about the crash if what he does to save the plane works. It's about the drama that happens after the crash.
 
2012-11-06 11:24:04 AM

Archimedes' Principal: Charlie Freak: UberDave: Flying an aircraft that size upside down has to be tough. It's a different situation altogether.

It's a different situation...

Flying inverted is flying inverted, the difference in an airliner is that if your solution goes to shiat, because of inertia, it doesn't respond as quickly to control inputs if and when you need to fix things. This of course does not take into account things like passenger comfort or other features of aerobatic aircraft, like symmetrical wings and inverted-capable fuel and oil systems.

Other than that, spatial-awareness-wise, it's not much different than flying a Cessna inverted.

Looks like somebody didn't get the joke...

 
2012-11-06 11:26:44 AM

Quasar: There was a real life flight disaster where the plane lost some flap hydraulics or controls and the pilots tried the inverted method to try to save the plane but were unable to manage it. Valiant attempt.


Yep
Alaska Airlines Flight 261
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Airlines_Flight_261

It was actually featured on Air Crash Investigations/Mayday in one of their earlier episodes.
 
2012-11-06 11:27:00 AM
whos the idiot who didnt put this in the entertianment tab? penis
 
2012-11-06 11:32:50 AM

fluffy2097: what?

No.

You pull back on the stick to leave a dive.

If you have stalled, you point the nose at the ground until you have sufficient airspeed to pull back on the stick and return to level flight.

If you're stuck in a flat spin in a commercial airliner, you stick your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye.

/really no other options to my knowledge.


In this case, the plane's elevator controls are jammed in the "nose down" position due to a mechanical failure, so rolling the aircraft would be the right thing to do. Assuming you had enough airplane left to initiate the maneuver with by the time you were done with the violent pitch-down.
 
2012-11-06 11:32:56 AM

Charlie Freak: I used to fly inverted while shooting instrument approaches in the sim. My instructor called me a smartass.


Was that in your T-16?
 
2012-11-06 11:37:10 AM
I flew inverted once over Macho Grande.
 
2012-11-06 11:37:24 AM
Do a barrel roll [Tex Johnson B707] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra_khhzuFlE
 
2012-11-06 11:46:06 AM
Straight Dope says it are not unpossible. 

/The pilot who rolled the 707 must have watermelon sized balls.
 
2012-11-06 11:49:45 AM

Do the needful: I flew inverted once over Macho Grande.


Over macho grande?
 
2012-11-06 11:50:02 AM
Not a pilot, but once had one to describe it to me like this:

"Pull back on the stick and the houses get smaller. Push forward, and they get larger. Pull too far back, though, and they'll get larger, again."
 
2012-11-06 11:50:09 AM

Wulfman: Charlie Freak: I used to fly inverted while shooting instrument approaches in the sim. My instructor called me a smartass.

Was that in your T-16?


Just like Beggars Canyon.
 
2012-11-06 11:52:08 AM
The ONLY reason I want to see this movie is to see the plane crash sequence and the breakdown of his 'recovery'
 
2012-11-06 11:53:24 AM

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: In this case, the plane's elevator controls are jammed in the "nose down" position due to a mechanical failure, so rolling the aircraft would be the right thing to do. Assuming you had enough airplane left to initiate the maneuver with by the time you were done with the violent pitch-down.


If they were jammed down, inverting the plane would just pull it up into a stall.

What, are you going to try and fly it upside down, fighting elevators at full deflection with trim tabs?
 
2012-11-06 11:54:19 AM

SmellsLikePoo: The ONLY reason I want to see this movie is to see the plane crash sequence and the breakdown of his 'recovery'


I can break it down for you.


*Waves his hands around*
ABRA CADABERA! DEUS EX MACHINA!
*Aircraft lands safely*
 
2012-11-06 12:01:09 PM
The problem that caused the plane to go into full dive (flaps locked) would just make it climb uncontrollably if upside down, so how the fark is "landing safely" ever going to be part of that equation?
 
2012-11-06 12:06:19 PM

farbekrieg: Do the needful: I flew inverted once over Macho Grande.

Over macho grande?


I'll never get over Macho Grande.
 
2012-11-06 12:21:27 PM

fluffy2097: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: In this case, the plane's elevator controls are jammed in the "nose down" position due to a mechanical failure, so rolling the aircraft would be the right thing to do. Assuming you had enough airplane left to initiate the maneuver with by the time you were done with the violent pitch-down.

If they were jammed down, inverting the plane would just pull it up into a stall.

What, are you going to try and fly it upside down, fighting elevators at full deflection with trim tabs?


You're going to stall the airplane regardless when it gets to -10 degrees AoA or so. If you roll the aircraft, you can have at least some control over the rate of descent by using ailerons to shift the inverted stall into an inverted stall turn. At least if the negative Gs don't kill you first.

I mean, you're still going to crash, but it's the difference between tentpegging the aircraft and killing everyone onboard, or cartwheeling it and only killing half the people onboard (probably including yourself).
 
2012-11-06 12:23:08 PM
Pfft, I fly upside down in GTA: San Andreas all the time. Easy peasy
 
2012-11-06 12:25:52 PM

Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: fluffy2097: Cthulhu_is_my_homeboy: In this case, the plane's elevator controls are jammed in the "nose down" position due to a mechanical failure, so rolling the aircraft would be the right thing to do. Assuming you had enough airplane left to initiate the maneuver with by the time you were done with the violent pitch-down.

If they were jammed down, inverting the plane would just pull it up into a stall.

What, are you going to try and fly it upside down, fighting elevators at full deflection with trim tabs?

You're going to stall the airplane regardless when it gets to -10 degrees AoA or so. If you roll the aircraft, you can have at least some control over the rate of descent by using ailerons to shift the inverted stall into an inverted stall turn. At least if the negative Gs don't kill you first.

I mean, you're still going to crash, but it's the difference between tentpegging the aircraft and killing everyone onboard, or cartwheeling it and only killing half the people onboard (probably including yourself).


I'll buy that as plausible.

Not sure if it's "dive from 30,000 feet" plausible, but plausible none the less. If as you said, the wings don't fall off.
 
2012-11-06 12:31:08 PM
No...It's not possible to do what is shown in the movie.

Yes, you can barrel roll and airliner, but it is not a barrel roll shown in the movie. It's an aileron roll. The difference is that in a barrel roll, a constant gravity is maintained, meaning things don't go flying about the cabin even when inverted. A barrel roll doesn't maintain a constant gravity, thus stuff flies about the cabin... as seen in the movie. The barrel roll actually gains altitude, the aileron roll losses altitude. Wings, when not stalled, always produce lift. If you turn them sideways, they produce lift sideways. If you turn them upside down, they produce lift towards the ground. So, rolling a plane upside down would actually make it fall faster unless the nose was pitched radically upwards using the angle of attack alone to produce lift. Commercial airliners do not have enough thrust to overcome gravity, and wing lift with angle of attack alone.

Denzel Washington would have killed his passengers faster, no save them.

Let's not even think about the weird outside aileron roll that would have resulted from trying to perform an aileron roll with the controls in full nose down deflection. 

I want to throw things at the TV ever time I see that crap.
 
2012-11-06 12:32:36 PM

UberDave: Flying an aircraft that size upside down has to be tough. It's a different situation altogether.


There is a local Seattle test pilot for Boeing that got in trouble for doing a barrel roll with a new 707 right over the city. Everyone freaks out about it, but he just said "It was well within the flight capabilities of the aircraft, and I wanted to show it off to the customer." The customer was some Saudi dude who happened to be on board, and was apparently thrilled with the move.

Video Goodness of Said Event
 
2012-11-06 12:47:07 PM
Mu brother -in-law used to ferry 727s down to the bone yard in AZ, he would roll them for the hell of it on the way down there. He was also a fighter pilot during vietnam war.
 
2012-11-06 12:54:32 PM
I just did it in FSX flying a 737 exactly as they said in the dark. I thought I would lose altitude and crash because I was only at 2500. I leveled off after at 5500. Only got one short don't sink warning. In the real world? I'm going with possible but unlikely. I am not a pilot, but I did stay at a holiday inn last night.
 
2012-11-06 12:56:13 PM

Click Click D'oh: Denzel Washington would have killed his passengers faster, no save them.

Let's not even think about the weird outside aileron roll that would have resulted from trying to perform an aileron roll with the controls in full nose down deflection.

I want to throw things at the TV ever time I see that crap.


So you consider your opinion superior to that of the *named* experts in the article, including a guy from an aeronautical research institute and a test pilot rated on over 300 types of aircraft?
 
2012-11-06 01:04:43 PM
...Denzel Washington plays Whip Whitaker...

Whip Whitaker? Seriously?
 
2012-11-06 01:08:00 PM
I saw a movie where a little girl piloted a house through a storm from Kansas to Oz.
 
2012-11-06 01:15:08 PM

Rent Party: UberDave: Flying an aircraft that size upside down has to be tough. It's a different situation altogether.

There is a local Seattle test pilot for Boeing that got in trouble for doing a barrel roll with a new 707 right over the city. Everyone freaks out about it, but he just said "It was well within the flight capabilities of the aircraft, and I wanted to show it off to the customer." The customer was some Saudi dude who happened to be on board, and was apparently thrilled with the move.

Video Goodness of Said Event


That event (aileron roll of a Dash 80) was mentioned in TFA. What you state is not what happened, and not even what the video you linked claims. Go vote 3 or 4 more times. We need more like you!
 
2012-11-06 01:19:03 PM
 
2012-11-06 01:20:10 PM

Fribble: Do a barrel roll [Tex Johnson B707] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra_khhzuFlE


newspaper.li


FTFY

Also, you know that when that guy landed on the Hudson, the plane did most of it for him, right?
 
2012-11-06 01:23:35 PM
Wasn't there another near-crash a few decades ago that started with the plane doing a roll and then diving straight down? IIRC, it was something like a 727, the pilots saved the plane and landed safly, but then erased the flight data recorder because he felt it wasn't a crash. Speculation was that the flight crew was doing something to test the limits of the plane and did something stupid. Anyone reconzie that?
 
2012-11-06 01:35:04 PM

p4p3rm4t3: I just did it in FSX flying a 737 exactly as they said in the dark. I thought I would lose altitude and crash because I was only at 2500. I leveled off after at 5500. Only got one short don't sink warning. In the real world? I'm going with possible but unlikely. I am not a pilot, but I did stay at a holiday inn last night.


I did it right after takeoff. Travelling at 250 knots, gear was up flaps were up. I disengaged auto-throttle and pushed them to max, then started the roll. Heavy rudder use was needed. Immediately after the maneuver a sharp nose up was also required, to silence the overspeed warning and slow the aircraft.

/# of farks given 0
 
2012-11-06 01:43:20 PM
Came for the Boeing 707 references, leaving satisfied.
 
2012-11-06 01:45:56 PM

cefm: The problem that caused the plane to go into full dive (flaps locked) would just make it climb uncontrollably if upside down, so how the fark is "landing safely" ever going to be part of that equation?


Going up would give you more time to figure out what's wrong, and possibly find a workaround, than hitting the earth like a lawn dart does. At a minimum, might allow you to get away from populated areas so you ONLY kill the people on the plane, and not an entire neighborhood.
 
2012-11-06 01:47:44 PM

PIP_the_TROLL: So you consider your opinion superior to that of the *named* experts in the article, including a guy from an aeronautical research institute and a test pilot rated on over 300 types of aircraft?


Show me where in the article anyone said that a low altitude aileron roll in a passenger airliner was a survivable event. The article talks about Barrel Rolls, which if you had read my post, you would realize are not the same as ailerons rolls, which is what is shown in the movie.

So yeah, it's Hollywood theatrics and not a survivable maneuver. The roll rate alone of a passenger airliner is enough to seal it's fate if this trick were attempted.
 
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