Can an Airbus A380 Fly Upside Down?
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Quora.com is a question-and-answer site where content is written and edited by its community of users. Occasionally we syndicate content from the site if we think it will interest TPG readers. This article originally appeared on Quora.com in response to the question Can an Airbus A380 Fly Upside Down? and was written by Mark Hochstein, an airline pilot who’s also a former fighter pilot and flight instructor.
I am assuming that when you say “fly upside down” you mean sustained inverted flight like an aerobatic airplane. The answer is flatly, no. Inverted flight requires a specific airfoil (wing shape) as well as specific lubrication systems for the engines. Transport category aircraft are not built to engage in inverted flight.
If, however, your question relates to the ability to fly inverted for only a few seconds, then I believe the answer would be yes. Any airworthy aircraft should be able to complete a 1G barrel roll at the hands of a well-trained pilot proficient in the maneuver. A properly executed 1G barrel roll will not over-stress the aircraft or affect lubrication in any way. The danger is that an improperly executed barrel roll can get out of control very quickly.
The master of this maneuver was Bob Hoover, who used to execute 1G barrel rolls in a twin-engine aircraft with one engine shut down WHILE pouring iced tea into a cup that was sitting up on the glareshield (dash) of the aircraft.
The Airbus, being a fly-by-wire aircraft, has limitations in place that would prohibit the execution of this maneuver, but with special procedures, these limiting system can be disabled.
Featured image of an Airbus A380 courtesy of Getty Images.
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