- Why does traffic bottleneck on freeways for no apparent reason?
- Why don’t spacecraft burn up or veer off course during reentry from space?
- Are Santa’s reindeer used for propulsion or navigation?
- How do the blades of a jet engine start turning?
- Can helicopters fly upside down?
- Is it possible to make solar-powered airplanes?
- Would it be feasible to dump nuclear waste on the Moon?
- Will public transportation ever replace the automobile?
- Why hasn’t commercial air travel gotten any faster since the 1960s?
- Can I start my car with a voice command?
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