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Old 02-05-2016, 10:13 AM
 
Location: San Ramon, Seattle, Anchorage, Reykjavik
2,254 posts, read 1,422,290 times
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Flew my old Aeronca Champ backwards (according to the ground speed) many times. I'm sure that looked plenty interesting from the ground.
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:43 AM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
18,693 posts, read 11,017,654 times
Reputation: 26292
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeelinLow View Post
I saw this last Friday while out in the parking lot of my apartments. There was a service technician standing with me as another witness. We could not believe what we were seeing!

It was an airplane hovering, not moving forward at all! We watched it for about 5 minutes and then it started very, very slowly to move sideways. The movement was almost imperceptible.

This was NOT an "optical illusion". We had rooftops and trees as points of reference and this plane was absolutely at a dead stop for 5 minutes or more.

Our expectation was that it was going to crash at any moment. I mean, how could a small aircraft just stay up in the air while not moving?

The plane looked like one of those old-fashioned propeller crop dusters with the wide, rounded wings. I did not see propellers, but it sounded like a prop plane. The color was a deep orange/tan color. I saw no lettering or markings of any kind on it.

As it slowly began to move sideways it moved into the glare of the sun and we lost sight of it.

I was baffled and somewhat freaked out. I checked the local news later to see if a plane had crashed in my area.

Went on-line and found that others had seen planes stop in mid-flight and been just as baffled.

How about you? Ever seen this? Any thoughts about it?
When I was a pilot, I actually did that.

But I was flying a sailplane. I had found some ridge lift and was gaining altitude, albeit slowly. When I saw the lift dissipate, I peeled off and went looking for some more.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,816 posts, read 40,147,908 times
Reputation: 24369
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeelinLow View Post
I saw this last Friday while out in the parking lot of my apartments. There was a service technician standing with me as another witness. We could not believe what we were seeing!

It was an airplane hovering, not moving forward at all! We watched it for about 5 minutes and then it started very, very slowly to move sideways. The movement was almost imperceptible.

This was NOT an "optical illusion". We had rooftops and trees as points of reference and this plane was absolutely at a dead stop for 5 minutes or more.

Our expectation was that it was going to crash at any moment. I mean, how could a small aircraft just stay up in the air while not moving?

The plane looked like one of those old-fashioned propeller crop dusters with the wide, rounded wings. I did not see propellers, but it sounded like a prop plane. The color was a deep orange/tan color. I saw no lettering or markings of any kind on it.

As it slowly began to move sideways it moved into the glare of the sun and we lost sight of it.

I was baffled and somewhat freaked out. I checked the local news later to see if a plane had crashed in my area.

Went on-line and found that others had seen planes stop in mid-flight and been just as baffled.

How about you? Ever seen this? Any thoughts about it?
Yep, I did, back in the 1960's. Driving down the road I looked over and saw an airplane raise straight up and then hover. (Looked like a small jet.) However, we lived near a company that did research on various flyilng devices for the military and so were used to seeing odd things and I didn't think much of it.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:31 PM
 
1,039 posts, read 904,140 times
Reputation: 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeelinLow View Post
I saw this last Friday while out in the parking lot of my apartments. There was a service technician standing with me as another witness. We could not believe what we were seeing!

It was an airplane hovering, not moving forward at all! We watched it for about 5 minutes and then it started very, very slowly to move sideways. The movement was almost imperceptible.

This was NOT an "optical illusion". We had rooftops and trees as points of reference and this plane was absolutely at a dead stop for 5 minutes or more.

Our expectation was that it was going to crash at any moment. I mean, how could a small aircraft just stay up in the air while not moving?

The plane looked like one of those old-fashioned propeller crop dusters with the wide, rounded wings. I did not see propellers, but it sounded like a prop plane. The color was a deep orange/tan color. I saw no lettering or markings of any kind on it.

As it slowly began to move sideways it moved into the glare of the sun and we lost sight of it.

I was baffled and somewhat freaked out. I checked the local news later to see if a plane had crashed in my area.

Went on-line and found that others had seen planes stop in mid-flight and been just as baffled.

How about you? Ever seen this? Any thoughts about it?
My Uncle was on the team that developed a plane that could do that for Vietnam war.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:32 PM
 
1,039 posts, read 904,140 times
Reputation: 817
Gruman and Fairchild Republic out on Long Island NY created the plane that could do that back in the 60/70s.
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Old 02-05-2016, 12:48 PM
Status: "Real estate broker. 32 yrs." (set 11 days ago)
 
Location: Northern Maine
10,232 posts, read 16,154,804 times
Reputation: 10770
I have done his many times for the novelty of it. I was a naval aviator. We used to practice lying as lowly as possible before carrier qualifying. If you can get own to 55 knots airspeed and he winds aloft are 55 knots, you will have a ground speed of zero knots. Sometimes you can see your own shadow standing still on the ground.

As you slow an airplane down it takes less and less power to fly. That is true down o a certain point. You can slow it further, but it takes more power. When you are going as slow as you can and the engine is at full power the only way back is to lower the nose and lose altitude to get your airspeed back.

The Air Force calls this the dead man's curve. They warn their pilots to never ever try this or they will die a horrible burning death. Navy pilots are comfortable flying in what we call the "back side of the power curve". There is your aerodynamics lesson for today. Some blue suited Air Force pilot with 10,000 hours may jump in here to claim all the above is just plain impossible. That is why Air Force planes have no tail hooks.

By the way, I own one of these. Click on the link and scroll down to the blue airplane . Click on it and watch zero ground speed takeoffs and landings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1KHlNXjDt4

Last edited by Northern Maine Land Man; 02-05-2016 at 01:35 PM.. Reason: added link
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Old 02-05-2016, 01:48 PM
 
Location: NE Mississippi
18,693 posts, read 11,017,654 times
Reputation: 26292
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Maine Land Man View Post
I have done his many times for the novelty of it. I was a naval aviator. We used to practice lying as lowly as possible before carrier qualifying. If you can get own to 55 knots airspeed and he winds aloft are 55 knots, you will have a ground speed of zero knots. Sometimes you can see your own shadow standing still on the ground.

As you slow an airplane down it takes less and less power to fly. That is true down o a certain point. You can slow it further, but it takes more power. When you are going as slow as you can and the engine is at full power the only way back is to lower the nose and lose altitude to get your airspeed back.

The Air Force calls this the dead man's curve. They warn their pilots to never ever try this or they will die a horrible burning death. Navy pilots are comfortable flying in what we call the "back side of the power curve". There is your aerodynamics lesson for today. Some blue suited Air Force pilot with 10,000 hours may jump in here to claim all the above is just plain impossible. That is why Air Force planes have no tail hooks.

By the way, I own one of these. Click on the link and scroll down to the blue airplane . Click on it and watch zero ground speed takeoffs and landings.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1KHlNXjDt4
You can learn a lot by watching seagulls, can't you? They don't have engines so they use gravity, lift and angles of attack to get everything done.

I was watching a biplane practice short field landings once. He was crossing the controls to slip down and yanking it straight to complete the landing. I thought at the time that if he had known what it looked like he would not have done it. Pretty scary, watching that brick fall from the sky.

Then, one day it was my turn. My tow rope broke during takeoff in my sailplane, and before I knew it I had crossed the controls, dropped her from the sky and landed on the end of the runway. Always nice when you pass the final exam.
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Old 02-05-2016, 03:01 PM
 
59,314 posts, read 46,365,380 times
Reputation: 36792
Same thing I once had a peregrine falcon do outside a office window I was sitting at in downtown Chicago 25 floors up.

It just sat there hovering looking in the window for about 10 seconds with enough wind to keep it aloft and stationary.

Then it just took off in a flash.
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Old 02-05-2016, 03:27 PM
 
18,561 posts, read 10,446,107 times
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I've flown negative ground speed in a PA-3 (Piper Cub). 38 mph stall speed. In any kind of headwind, short final feels like you're going down an elevator. It's pretty easy to land short of the runway if you're used to flying faster airplanes.

Any low time student pilot practices "slow flight" to learn how to control the plane on final approach just above stall speed. Full flaps. Nose up. Carburetor heat. Use the throttle to keep it straight and level. Fly like that for 5 minutes. I certainly had that drill every time I had dual instruction for the first month or two. The instructor will put you a couple thousand feet AGL so there's space to recover if the student stalls the plane. It could be the OP was just watching a student doing that practice drill when there was a headwind.

I remember the first time I saw a C-5A transport from the cockpit of a Cherokee 180. It looked like it was a dirigible just floating in space. I'm sure it was going a couple of hundred knots but it was so huge that it looked like it wasn't moving at all.
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Old 02-05-2016, 03:42 PM
 
9,756 posts, read 9,422,780 times
Reputation: 21443
Quote:
Flew my old Aeronca Champ backwards (according to the ground speed) many times. I'm sure that looked plenty interesting from the ground.
I learned to fly in an Aeronca Champ. I only had about 10 flight hours, when I was to fly one afternoon. The winds were a steady 60 mph and thought the instructor (WWII Naval flyer) would cancel out, and told me we were going up. Got me up to 2,000 feet, and told me to fly into the wind and go into the wind in slow flight mode. Slow flight is the slowest a plane will fly and stay in the air. The plane is in a nose high position. Slow flight was 45 mph for that plane. He made he maintain slow flight flying into the wind. The plane thought it was going forward at 45 mph, but in actuality we were going backwards 15 mph. I held it as we flew backwards from one side of a 10 mile wide valley to the other. He did this, to teach me how the wind can control the action of the plane. As a new student pilot, it was a lesson I never forgot.

Wind is the reason, that Naval air craft carriers always go towards the wind and at a high speed when landing and launching planes. (High Speed is not that fast). The speed of the wind, and he speed of the carrier are added together, and a plane can land, at a slower speed than it can land at a slower speed than otherwise. This makes it safer landing, using the air speed (wind plus carrier speed) to allow it to land traveling slower. Same principals used for launching. I know as I spent a year in school learning to handle the catapult and arresting gear to launch and retrieve planes.

So if there is wind aloft, it is not difficult to understand a plane like you saw sitting still in the air, was able to do that. If the wind changes or if the plane turned slightly it would slip sideways as you saw.

I know a glider pilot that was flying at the California coast. He saw a sea gull flying without moving his wings away from land, so he knew the wind was keeping him up. He flew behind he bird out to sea really enjoying it. The bird turned around and started flapping his wings for the return. He also turned back, but as he did not have flapping wings, he started losing altitude real fast. He crash landed on the beach, lucky to gotten that far.

Those winds aloft, really do effect a plane such as the one you saw which can fly slowly, and you can sit sill, fly backwards etc., if you know what you are doing. Looks strange to non pilots on the ground.
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