Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How do planes fly inverted?

  1. Sep 14, 2003 #1
    i recently asked how airplanes work and i was give this answer: as velocity increases pressure decreases and the shape of the wing makes it so that the wind travels over the top of the wing faster than the bottom of the wing. so since there's a faster velocity on the top there is a lesser pressure on the top causing it to rise. if that is the case, how do planes fly inverted?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 14, 2003 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Airplanes that fly at a very low speed and so require high "lift to speed" ratio have wing profiles in which the upper surface is noticably arched. Such an airplane would have an extremely difficult time flying upside down.

    Airplanes that fly at high speeds have wings that are much more symetrical (with respect to top and bottom) and rely more on angle of attack (the angle the wing makes with the horizontal) to create the asymmetry necessary. Such an airplane can fly inverted by flying so that the wing is still at an upward angle to the horizontal.
  4. Sep 14, 2003 #3
    you can get lift out of a flat piece of ply-wood the angle of attack is the trick
    5 to15 degrees higher in the front leading edge depending on speed

    actualy most stunt planes are lower speed
    one common type stearmans are bi-planes.
    flaps on the trailing edge are used in a reverced position on some stunt planes to gain extra lift
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook