How Planes Are Engineered to Fly Upside-Down

DNews

How Planes Are Engineered to Fly Upside-Down

Plane wings are engineered to make flight as efficient as possible, but what exactly has to change so they can fly upside-down?

Some planes can do crazy things, but one of the most extreme is the ability to fly at high-speeds upside-down. And not all planes can do this. Planes fly when air moving around the wing lifts the plane into the sky. With upside-down-flying, it get's a little more complicated. There are two main factors to consider when thinking about wings: the wing's design and "the angle of attack."

Normally, a wing has to be shaped very specifically to nudge the air over the top, allowing the air below to create lift. When a plane has to be able to fly both ways, the wing has to be shaped differently.

On commercial planes, the wings are rounded in the front, bulged on top, and flat on the bottom. This helps the air move faster over the top, which in turn, makes the air less dense, helping the plane fly. Now that's all fine if you're trying to fly long distances at a steady speed, but flying upside-down requires a whole different thought process.

 

For more epic stories of innovation that shaped our future, check out TheAgeofAerospace.com.