How do planes fly upside-down?


I understand that the wing of the plane creates downforce, lifting the plane into the air, so how do planes fly upside-down? Wouldn’t the wings start pushing the plane down into the ground once flipped?

In: 373

Well, yes, but also no.

You care correct that if you took a plane that was flying perfectly straight and level, and inverted it, the lift (from the wings) would now push the plane towards the ground.

BUT, a plane can still pitch down, pushing opposite the wings’ lift, and go down. While inverted, that can help keep the plane from falling.

Another factor is the fact that any plane that can fly for extended periods of time (typically fighter jets) rely more on the direction of their thrust (by angling up while flying) than the shape of their wings to stay airborne.

Thus, while flying upside down, they just need to keep their thrust “pointed somewhat towards the ground”, which will push them back up.

Commercial airplanes are built to fly efficiently and rely heavily on the shape of their wings. They generally cannot fly upside-down despite what various movies might claim. Acrobatic planes are made with more symmetrical wings so that it is easier to fly upside-down.

And… Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but it isn’t the wing of the plane creating downforce. The increased speed of the air going *over* the wing creates a low pressure area, lifting the wing.

This one is gonna be fun since… WE DONT KNOW.

We can fly. But science cannot put forth a complete and accurate model of WHY flight works. Not yet, at least.

First we have to fix the question:

>understand that the wing of the plane creates downforce

It does not. Downforce is what sports cars have. Effectively, they’re upside-down airplane wings. They push the car into the ground, rather than make it fly. What planes do, is simple “up-force”. Now for the answer:

A plane can, in effect, transform its wings during flight. It used to be that they twisted the entire wing, but now they do it with ailerons instead (Thanks Tom Scott). For instance, when pitching down, what you are effectively doing is making the wings create downforce instead of upforce. So it goes to reason that if you turn the plane up-side down, and pitched “down”, what would otherwise be downforce is now creating upforce again, making it able to fly like normal

Riddle me this, Batman . . . How does the fuel flow properly when inverted?