General Question

After_dinner_trivia's avatar

What happens if an Aircraft goes into a steep turn too fast?

Asked by After_dinner_trivia (156 points ) December 9th, 2013

Is it even possible? What happens if an Aircraft attempts to go into a steep turn at a high velocity, if the rate of turn is extreme?

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20 Answers

DWW25921's avatar

Upon looking it up my understanding of it is that it causes a rapid downward motion that continues into a spiral? I suppose one would have to quickly compensate in order to avoid loosing control. Your question is “what would happen?” well my answer is… Nothing good!

JLeslie's avatar

Depends on the turn and depends how high up the plane is. If control is lost, the higher up the plane is, the more chance for the pilot to be able to recover from the turn if recoverable. Much safer to be at 30,000 feet than to be at 5,000 feet.

After_dinner_trivia's avatar

So the Aircraft would loose lift and begin to spiral, does this count as a stall then?

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

It would gain speed, but lose lift and be at greater risk of a stall. It is recoverable if there is enough altitude remaining and the pilot has sufficient skill assuming the aircraft is sound.

DWW25921's avatar

I would hope the engines don’t stall. They may though… I think @JLeslie added a few important factors. The best question being, how high is the plane? How big is the plane? If it’s a large or small craft?

After_dinner_trivia's avatar

@DWW25921 Let’s assume that the Aircraft is a standard airliner, say a 777, at 30,000ft.

DWW25921's avatar

Is there an outside force making the turn “extreme” (damage, explosion, etc.) or is it the cause of normal operating factors.

After_dinner_trivia's avatar

@DWW25921 Nothing out of the norm, just an increase in the rate of turn.

DWW25921's avatar

Ok than, I would hope the pilot would be able to straighten her out after the turn and before the spiral. Lets hope through this the engines stay on! I would think the added thrust would be necessary for leveling off again.

CWOTUS's avatar

A “stall” in terms of aircraft means “loss of lift”; it has nothing to do with the engines stopping. Obviously, having the engines stop can also lead to a stall.

All kinds of bad things can happen to a plane whose pilot makes an incorrect turn. If the turn was attempted without enough banking, then a flat spin loss of control can result. If a tight turn with banking is attempted too near the ground then the wing tip can contact earth, trees or structures and catapult the plane into the ground. This is technically and dryly known as “controlled flight into terrain”.

If the pilot with sufficient altitude attempts to bank the plane at 90° while turning, the most extreme bank that he can make, then if he doesn’t have enough airspeed as he attempts the turn, the plane will start to drop sideways. It will do that anyway, of course, but if he does it without enough speed then he’s starting the stall in an awkward attitude, and he will have to level the plane at some point to regain forward airspeed and flight control.

If he’s attempting to simultaneously climb steeply and turn, then his banking maneuver can introduce a stall if his climb was already at the edge of what is possible for his aircraft as configured and loaded.

“Recovery from the stall” depends on the pilot’s knowledge of his actual condition (sometimes pilots in fog or cloud don’t even realize that they’re not flying straight and level, for example, and won’t even attempt the correct rescue maneuvers – because they don’t realize that they need to!), and the capability of the aircraft.

kritiper's avatar

Everyone blacks out. If the turn is held, the plane will spiral into the ground.

dabbler's avatar

Sounds like a sideways stall to me. Angle of attack is excessive relative to air direction.
Or the wings snap off…

gorillapaws's avatar

Wouldn’t the wings rip off at a certain amount of stress?

DWW25921's avatar

@gorillapaws Well that escalated to an unfortunate end… Yikes!

@RocketGuy That was intense!

Ok than, assuming the plane is free falling is it possible to parachute out or are you pretty much toast at this point?

Judi's avatar

The mistake many pilots make is to try to pull out of it. The proper response is counter intuitive but you should complete the maneuver. Instead of pulling back you should push forward and complete the roll. I’ve told my near death experience in a small plane here before. I won’t go into all the details but only by the grace of God and because we were in a carbon fiber plane instead of aluminum am I alive today.
At one point my husband said, “I’m sorry honey, I’ve killed us” when we were upside down and he heard a large bang. He thought we had ripped the tail off.
My response to him? “FLY THE PLANE!”

RocketGuy's avatar

My aircraft design class got me interested in carbon fibers. Now I deal with that material all the time.

Judi's avatar

@RocketGuy, hubby built his own Lancair IV
Our near death experience pulled 6.5 G’s. An aluminum plane would have twisted like a soda can.

RocketGuy's avatar

@judy – that’s a nice plane!

echotech10's avatar

It can result in a stall. Simply put, that means that the aircraft loses lift, and therefore, cannot stay aloft. Failure to recover can result in a spin, which sometimes can be disastrous. I am a pilot (just as a hobby), and that is one of the first things I learned in my flight training.

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