Plane & Pilot
Saturday, March 1, 2008


In this edition, "acrobatics" through "induced drag"

wingipediaThe computer generation has come to depend on digital explanations for everything courtesy of Wikipedia (and, no, we don’t know where the name came from). That being the case, we thought we’d come up with our own, more common sense, aviation-based encyclopedia, hence “Wingipedia.” If you think something’s missing, add your two cents through the link at the end of this article.
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Gann, Ernie
Gann is the writer we all wish we could be but can’t even approach. He was a true aviator, in every sense of the word, who also had a terrific command of the language. If you haven’t read The High and the Mighty or Fate Is the Hunter, turn in your pilot’s license.

G-force is a function of the speed of the aircraft and the effort put into the control stick. If slow, no matter how hard the pilot pulls, he won’t get much G before it stalls. If he’s fast, it takes little effort to put lots of G on it. The graphical representation of those limits is known as the V-n Diagram.


Every medium-sized company’s CEO feels that once the company logo is on the tail of a Gulfstream, he or she will know the company has made it. Although there are now bigger, faster bizjets, the Gulfstream still wears the crown.

In a gullwing design, the wing is canted sharply up, or down (inverted gull), as it leaves the fuselage, then abruptly resumes a more normal dihedral angle. A Corsair is an example of an inverted gullwing, and a Stinson SR-9 (and, of course, the Pulawski-designed PZL P.1) is an example of a normal gullwing.

Properly known as a “rotary wing” aircraft, helicopters depend on changing the pitch of the blades (their wings) for lift and the tilt of the rotor for directional control.

Helio Courier
The Helio put the S into STOL (short takeoff and landing). This mission-specific airplane was aimed at working nonexistent runways. It uses lots of wing area, huge flaps and slats for near-hovering approaches.

The Grumman F6F Hellcat was the top dog in the Pacific during WWII. Production began in the summer of 1942, and more than 12,000 were produced before war’s end. Loved by pilots because of its forgiving nature and tanklike structure, it accounted for more than 5,100 enemy shot down.

The opposite of low-wing and the subject of the “which is best controversy.” And the answer is that there’s no “best.” A high-aspect-ratio airplane, however, can be built lighter if it’s high-wing and strut-braced, but it will have more drag.


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