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5 Answers

Slow Flight = straight and level flight?

Asked by: 4481 views ,
Aerodynamics, General Aviation

To fly straight and level, we must maintain a constant heading and altitude.

When performing slow flight, if we maintain a constant heading and altitude at MCA would we technically still be considered flying straight and level

The reason I am asking is because the nose would be pitched up (not "level"), but the plane would still be maintaining a constant heading and neither climbing nor descending (constant altitude).


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5 Answers

  1. John D. Collins on Mar 09, 2011

    Straight and level means the airplane is maintaining the same altitude and is not turning.  It is true that at MCA, you will have a higher pitch angle to maintain altitude than for other airspeeds and configurations. The same is true if you compare flight at any two different airspeeds, the slower airspeed will require a greater angle of attack than the faster, it is just that the angle is more pronounced when comparing a speed close to the stall speed with a cruise speed.

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  2. Earhart on Mar 09, 2011

    John, thanks for your response.  However, permit me to me make sure that I read you correctly. 
    You are confirming that even though our wings aren’t “level” to the horizon during slow flight, we are still flying straight and level, correct?  Straight and level since we are maintaining a constant altitude and heading (not turning).

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  3. John D. Collins on Mar 09, 2011

    You understood what I said correctly.

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  4. Brian on Mar 09, 2011

    Straight and level is a reference to the aircraft flight path, not the flight attitude. Would an observer on the ground see a flight path that is level to the ground and straight? If so, you are straight and level. 

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  5. Jon on Mar 13, 2011

    Earhart, let me also add that when you say that the wings aren’t level to the horizon, it sounds like you’re looking at the airplane from the side.  The “level” in “straight and level” comes from looking at the airplane from the back (level as in not banked).  As John stated, in constant-altitude flight, the angle of attack will be different for every airspeed.  Hope that helps.

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