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Spiral Death and the Reality of an Aircraft Stall and Spin

We have all heard about aircraft spinning out of control and Hollywood sure likes to ham it up, especially in dogfight scenes in close air-to-air combat. Now a days in the modern net-centric battlespace with long-range air-to-air missiles generally the aircraft, which sees the other aircraft first and if could be hundreds of miles away launches a missile and kills the enemy. They never get that close anymore for the Hollywood or movie viewer perception of how these things take place. And jet fighter aircraft do not normally stall like the WWI and WWII vintage aircraft or putt-putt puddle jumper light aircraft. You see jet aircraft have swept wings and when they stop flying the aircraft is said to “depart” from flight, often very violently.

Does this mean that aircraft do not spin anymore? Well, many aircraft will not spin unless you induce it first. This is done by kicking the rudder during a high angle of attack stall. Swept wing aircraft can depart from flight very violently, or any number of other bizarre things, but with thrust vectoring in some of the most advanced fighter aircraft the pilot can often control it and maneuver the aircraft into a position to gain back airspeed to start flying again.

Super light materials, better aerodynamics, morphing, anti gravity wave bursts and trust controls in the future will allow for much better transitions from flying with lift or remaining airborne until you are actually flying again. UAVs or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles made of foam-carbon nano-tube construction are probably going to be first to do these maneuvers effortlessly and of course some super maneuverable missiles already can. One interesting thing is that some RC modelers have sure come up with some interesting new designs and flight maneuvers lately, that previously aerospace engineers and pilots would have assumed impossible. Think on this.

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