Monday, April 18, 2011


An airplane needs speed to fly. Without speed, the wings can’t generate enough lift to overcome the force of gravity and the plane will never leave the ground. But you must be careful when flying, especially smaller single engine planes, that you don’t climb so fast, at such a steep angle that your mass outweighs the force of your engines and you stall out. Doing so would send your aircraft plummeting to the Earth.

It’s also important to note, in just such a case, that the thing to do…by the book…is the thing that instinctively makes the least amount of sense. The best thing to do, in the event of a stall, is to point the plane’s nose toward the ground. True, it sounds like this is the last thing you would want to do, basically you’re ensuring that you’re going to impact the ground all that much sooner. But the thought, the aerodynamic theory, is that in pointing your plane to the ground you’ll fall faster and generate just enough of that precious speed to once again give your plane the ability of flight.

Of course, all of this assumes you weren’t already too low to the ground when the stall began. And that you don’t wait too long to pull up. If either of these two scenarios occurs then it’s going to be an awfully bad day and one that no parachute is going to save you from.

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