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Why dont we feel the tilt in an aeroplane?

  1. Mar 10, 2008 #1
    Specially in a fighter airplane. We don't feel much of the tilt as the plane tilts or flips, even though its velocity is not too high at that time?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2008 #2
    Because tilt normally changes trajectory aswell. Therefore you are accelerated to the bottom of the plane.
  4. Mar 10, 2008 #3


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    If the turn is coordinated, then you only feel a downwards force with respect to the plane. If g forces are high, you'll definiately feel that. You will also feel a sudden roll.

    If the turn is uncoordinated, you'll feel an inwards force if the plane is in a slip, and an outwards force if the plane is in a skid.
  5. Mar 10, 2008 #4
    The US Air Force has been looking at this for a number of years and should have a lot of info available. As an aside, that is part of what led to the fatal crash of John Kennedy Jr. Your body has two kinds of accelerometers in the inner ear - angular and linear. If the roll is slow, the angular accelerometers barely notice and it's up to the linear ones. Normally, you maintain up-down through three mechanisms: the inner ear accelerometers (vestibular system); proprioceptors in your lower extremities; and vision. In a plane, you will already have lost the proprioceptors and, if you lose or confuse vision (haze, looking sideways, looking down at instruments, etc), you can slowly roll and not be aware of it, which then leads to ground coincidence.

    Edit: I forgot to mention that the linear accelerometers are not terribly sensitive as to direction.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2008
  6. Mar 10, 2008 #5


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    Oh. So the crash was caused in essence because he went into a roll without realizing it?

    This makes perfect sense to me, as someone who has occsaionally tried to play flight simulators. With such a highly restricted feedback loop (visual only) I can find myself wildly out of control before I know it.
  7. Mar 10, 2008 #6


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    "Ground coincidence." I like that.
  8. Mar 10, 2008 #7
    Me too. I got it from an Air Force researcher who was looking into crashes. I guess they don't like negative words.
  9. Mar 10, 2008 #8
    The NTSB report does not specify which movement, roll, pitch, or turn was a probable contributary factor, only that one was likely.
  10. Mar 10, 2008 #9


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    I like "controlled flight into terrain" for crashing and "loss of situational awareness" for not knowing which way up you are!
  11. Mar 10, 2008 #10


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    These terms actually have much deeper meanings than you're supposing. Controlled flight into terrain literally means the pilot flew the aircraft in a controlled, intended, and properly-executed manner, in a trajectory that just happened to intersect the ground. This sort of thing often happens in instrument meteorological conditions, when pilots have no visual contact with the ground. They fly a perfectly controlled straight-and-level path... directly into a mountain. This is an error in flight planning or instrument procedure, not an error in actually flying the plane. Contrast it with, for example, entering a spin and not being able to recover.

    Situational awareness is a very broad term that includes several dozen pieces of information of which the pilot must be constantly aware. If you stop looking at your vertical speed indicator for several minutes, you are now unaware of your situation. It doesn't have to be as dire as losing track of which way is up!

    - Warren
  12. Mar 10, 2008 #11


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    I still think people create the terms with a certain 'tongue in cheek' - we used to have 'prompt criticallity' = your research lab is now a crater + mushroom cloud.
  13. Mar 10, 2008 #12


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    That's also the essence of why real flight simulators are so effective. They give just a minor movement in some direction, but your body thinks that you're still going in that direction until some counteracting movement occurs.
  14. Mar 10, 2008 #13
    I am a pilot, and I've actually found some of the PC-based simulators are harder to fly than a real airplane!
  15. Mar 10, 2008 #14


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    It's a while since I've flown a real one, unfortunately. :cry:
    The only computer game that I tried (Flight Simulator?) had keyboard input. I gave up in utter disgust and frustration after about 10 minutes. I'd probably enjoy one with a yoke or stick and rudder pedals.
  16. Mar 10, 2008 #15
    There have been plenty of prompt criticality accidents, and no labs have been blown up yet,
    altough some people died of the radiation. The degree of criticality reached in lab accidents, or fuel reprocessing is so small that thermal explansion is enough to keep the reaction at a constant rate. People further away then a few metres will live if they immediately evacuate.

    here:http://www.orau.org/ptp/Library/accidents/la-13638.pdf" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  17. Mar 29, 2008 #16
    Ya man i hear ya. I never played flight simulator but i love flyin jets.
  18. Mar 29, 2008 #17


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    Lucky dude.
    Unfortunately, I never had a chance to progress that far. I got grounded on a medical over 30 years ago. (You couldn't fly if you were diabetic back then).
    I never really had much interest in jets, but I did have a particular fondness for the F5 and would like to have played with one.
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