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3 Answers

Negative lift

Asked by: 8885 views Aerodynamics

what is negative lift? and how aircraft utilizes it?

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3 Answers

  1. lo_fly on Mar 07, 2013

    It is called “negative lift” an aerodynamic downward force created by any airfoil (such as wings, stabilizers…)
    Usually the horizontal stabilizer has to produce a “negative” lift in order to maintain the airplane balanced

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  2. Brian on Mar 07, 2013


    The tail down force in the picture is what’s referred to as negative lift. Lift is positive if it’s vector extends upward from the wings relative to an upright aircraft. Lift is negative if it’s vector extends downward from the wings relative to an upright aircraft.

    Keep in mind, relative to an upright aircraft does not mean an the main wings cannot develop negative lift in upright flight. It refers only to the aircraft as a reference object in a dimensionless environment such as space.

    For instance, you can have negative lift from the main wings in upright flight. Push forward on the controls hard. The tail is now producing positive lift during this change in pitch and the moment you float upward in your seat the main wings are now producing negative lift. Or fly upside down, now the main wings are producing negative lift. The tail is producing positive lift. In other words, the term positive or negative lift is always in reference to the aircraft and not it’s position in space.

    Clear as mud?

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  3. Jonathan Seitz on Mar 08, 2013

    I agree with Brian, but also remember that Lift is a vector, which means that it has both magnitude and direction. “Negative” lift is just lift in the opposite direction than the rest of the body.

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