Pat Flannigan Looks at Manoeuvring Speed

1 Jun 12 One Comment

Pat Flannigan over at Aviation Chatter has created an interesting series of posts on manoeuvring speed and weight.

Why Does Maneuvering Speed Increase With Weight?

Aircraft maneuvering speed, increases as the airplane gets heavier. It’s a simple fact that most pilots are either blissfully unaware or simply take for granted, and I’ve honestly never given it much thought. But then one AskACFI user posed the question – why does maneuvering speed increase with weight?

Patrick diagrams the problem to help us understand how many G’s we could load before stalling the airplane:

I recommend reading the full article but the summary is killer:

Now think about the question: Why does maneuvering speed increase with weight? Recall that stall speed increases with weight. Since maneuvering speed is really just a stall speed at a higher G load, then maneuvering speed will also increase with weight!

Got that? Good, because there’s more. That post inspired Pat to research and write more on the subject.

A Closer Look at Maneuvering Speed

Last week’s piece on maneuvering speed inspired me to dig a little deeper into the topic of VA. It really is an interesting topic that forces pilots to delve into aerodynamic theory. This week, let’s take a closer look at maneuvering speed.

I won’t give away spoilers but we end up in close quarters with Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators and yet a third post which brings it all together.

The Myth of Maneuvering Speed

Most pilots and flight instructors understand VA as the maximum speed at which the airplane will stall prior to structural damage, and that full deflection of the flight controls at or below this speed poses no risk to the airplane. This is a dangerous assumption and it is simply untrue.

Guilty as charged. And although I am really not very good at aerodynamics, I now feel that I understand a little bit better about the mechanics of the plane.

If you are a pilot (and especially if you are an instructor) then I recommend reading all three pieces on Aviation Chatter:

One Comment

  • What a great technical review! Always good to get back to the basics.
    Captain, A320

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