- Can helicopters fly upside down?
- Will public transportation ever replace the automobile?
- Can robotic submarines collect specimens at any ocean depth?
- How can a person ride a motorcycle 100 mph but not stand up in a 100 mph wind?
- What are the future propulsion systems for interplanetary travel?
- What is the relationship between the length of a boat and its maximum speed?
- Can a honeybee cause a sonic boom if it travels fast enough?
- Why hasn’t commercial air travel gotten any faster since the 1960s?
- How do the blades of a jet engine start turning?
- Why can’t cars run on water instead of gasoline?
How does an airplane stop on a runway after landing?
When a Boeing 777 comes barrelling down the runway at 150-plus mph, it sometimes feels to its passengers like the plane is struggling mightily to stop. That’s only because it is…By Deborah Halber
When a Boeing 777 comes barrelling down the runway at 150-plus mph, it sometimes feels to its passengers like the plane is struggling mightily to stop. That’s only because it is, says Steven R. Hall, professor of aeronautics and astronautics and a pilot. In an emergency, brakes alone can stop a commercial jet, but the heat produced may be enough to melt the plane’s tires, he says.
Hall says small, propeller aircraft do use brakes almost exclusively to slow down. Larger turboprop aircraft have propellers that can be adjusted to produce rearward thrust after touchdown, rapidly slowing the aircraft. Commercial jet transport aircraft come to a halt through a combination of brakes, spoilers to increase wing drag and thrust reversers on the engines.
Posted: December 16, 2008