OCT 03, 2017 4:56 PM PDT

Here's Why Some Planes Can Fly Upside-Down

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


Not all airplanes are created equally. Some are designed for slow and steady long-distance flights, while others are made for faster, short-distance flights (even while upside-down). The latter are usually light and agile aircraft with characteristics designed specifically for the job intended to carry out.

In each different type of airplane exists a distinct wing design that manipulates the incoming air in various ways. The result? - Varying levels of performance.

Commercial airplanes have thicker wings with a bubbled top and flat underside, which helps push the air underneath to generate lift for the rest of the aircraft. Many military fighter jets have similar wing designs, although thinner, because these aircraft need to travel at higher rates of speed.

Airplanes that fly upside down, like stunt planes, need double-duty wings that can push air either over or under the wing, depending on the angle of attack. These kinds of planes have symmetrical wing shapes, enabling the pilot can rotate the aircraft a full 180º and keep the plane airborne in any orientation.

Most non-stunt aircraft don't have symmetrical wings because they're unnecessary and asymmetrical wings are more fuel efficient.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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