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Homework Help: Top Gun.

  1. Aug 29, 2006 #1
    I am required to analyze the physics for 4 scenes in the movie Top Gun. In one scene, Maverick's plane goes into a flat spin. Would it be possible for someone to explain this in from a physicist's point of view. Equations would be nice too lol. Im new to hpysics so please don't get mad lol.

    Please help....

    Edit: I was able to explain how a sonic boom and the vapor cloud are formed, but I need two more, the flat spin, and i can't think of another one. Maybe an article about thrust from the afterburners. I don't know
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2006 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    I remember reading about the flat spin a long time ago in a book about fighter aircraft. The problem is that the control surfaces no longer work in a way that allows the pilot to tilt the plane to get it out of the flat spin. With some aircraft, the flat spin is not recoverable without a tail parachute (which are fitted on the aircraft during initial flight testing of the flat spin recovery ability).

    We need to get FredGarvin or another PF aircraft expert to give you more info. I'll see if I can get ahold of Fred.
  4. Aug 29, 2006 #3


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    Gold Member

    Yes, a flat spin is a relatively stable configuration - once in it, the plane tends to stay in it. All controls that the pilot has - surface controls as well as engines - require air flow. Without them, there's no way out.
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