# Angle of Attack: True or False

Whhaaaat? The elevator doesn't change the angle of incidence, and the wing only stalls at one angle of attack, the critical angle.
Read it again slowly and count to ten before lunging toward the keyboard.

The wing is bolted to the airframe (usually) and pitch (forward and aft) inputs into the stick will change the incidence angle of THE ELEVATOR. That's what it does. It has a hinge.

This is the same at any speed or no speed. The critical angle of attack is the angle of attack which produces maximum lift coefficient. is not a single angular value relative to the airframe and varies with wing configuration. Is that better?

Whhaaaat? The elevator doesn't change the angle of incidence, and the wing only stalls at one angle of attack, the critical angle.

Well he is partially correct. A wing doesn’t just stall at one critical AoA. Change the camber of the wing thru use of leading edge slats or trailing edge flaps can increase / decrease the critical AoA from a clean wing.

As far as elevator affecting angle of incidence, not unless it’s a collective “elevator.”

I am not conflating anything. I responded to a post that said the plane is stalled in a 45° bank even if the angle of attack is the same as in straight-and-level-non-stalled flight. Which is ridiculous. The angle of attack is not the same. Then you replied "wrong". So you're trying to say the original poster is right? No he most definitely is not. Yet you selected my post to pick on instead of the incorrect one. How about not taking my post out of context? I quoted two sentences for a reason.

My mistake. Apologies.

Did you even read my post? I know why a wing stalls. This has nothing to do with my assertion/question.

... If the stick is, say an inch farther forward, the wing will not be stalled. Period.

This is the part that had me thinking about the King video. Ever seen a "secondary stall" when you come out of a spin too aggresively? Stick position is relative.

So, you've a\$\$-raped yourself on the POA. No big deal

I didn't see any PoA-esque responses. So far everyone is discussing aerodynamics, control sufaces, and controls. What did I miss?

You're saying the stick can be forward and the wing can be flying at a high angle of attack? Please explain. Also, of course, horizon has nothing to do with this conversation. I'm surprised at how many people here are conflating the horizon or banking with angle of attack.

The horizon has nothing to do with this conversation? I wouldn't be so certain about that.

The elevator controls the aircraft pitch attitude directly. It only influences angle-of-attack indirectly.
The angle of pitch of the airplane wing is the angle between horizontal and the chord line of the wing.
The angle of the flight path is between horizontal and the path along which the airplane wing is actually moving.
The angle of attack is the difference between the two.

The elevator is not the only input that determines the flight path of the wing. And i

I never claimed that the stick had to be full back for a stall to occur...

Perhaps not. But you did claim "...If the stick is, say an inch farther forward, the wing will not be stalled. Period."
Which is what I said is not (necessarily) true.

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This is the same at any speed or no speed. The critical angle of attack is the angle of attack which produces maximum lift coefficient. is not a single angular value relative to the airframe and varies with wing configuration. Is that better?

IK04 said:
The wing can stall a many angles of attack, dependent on the speed of the relative wind, wing configuration (flaps, slats. spoilers) and G loading.

Describe how stalling angle of attack changes with airspeed and g-load. The assertion is the exact opposite what everyone is taught in Flying 101.

You will fly a parabolic trajectory, but you will not stall.
Wrong (IMO). A Piper Colt doesn't have enough elevator to do a power-off stall from level flight even with the stick full aft. Pull the nose way up above the horizon and it will stall when the nose pitches downward while keeping the stick back all the way.

Angle of incidence. The acute angle formed between the chord line of an airfoil and the longitudinal axis of the aircraft on which it is mounted

Is the horizontal stabilizer/elevator or stabilator not an airfoil mounted on an aircraft?

I was never referring to the WING.

The plane's nose will drop (due to the center of gravity being in front of the center of lift) and the plane will gain airspeed.

The nose will drop and the airplane will accelerate.

You will fly a parabolic trajectory, but you will not stall.
I believe that depends on how steep the climb is, and how quickly the move (neutralize elevator, pull power) is executed. I'm fairly sure I can get the airplane to stall with the elevator neutral. Maybe I'm wrong. I'll have to give it a try... if we ever see the sun again.

How does G loading affect the angle of attack at which a wing stalls?
I can take that one... g loading is a result of AoA, not the cause.

This is the part that had me thinking about the King video. Ever seen a "secondary stall" when you come out of a spin too aggresively? Stick position is relative.

I didn't intend to assert that a wing stalls precisely when the stick reaches full back and will unstall when it's relaxed precisely one inch. Sounds like we agree about that.

The horizon has nothing to do with this conversation? I wouldn't be so certain about that.

The elevator controls the aircraft pitch attitude directly. It only influences angle-of-attack indirectly.
The angle of pitch of the airplane wing is the angle between horizontal and the chord line of the wing.
The angle of the flight path is between horizontal and the path along which the airplane wing is actually moving.
The angle of attack is the difference between the two.

I'm simple minded. This is all too much for me to digest. Let's keep it simple. Angle of attack is the angle between wing chord line and relative wind. Done.

But you did claim "...If the stick is, say an inch farther forward, the wing will not be stalled. Period."
Which is what I said is not (necessarily) true.

I wasn't trying to be precise. I was just winging it, so to speak.

Is the horizontal stabilizer/elevator or stabilator not an airfoil mounted on an aircraft?

I was never referring to the WING.

I'm so glad you're here to tell us that moving the elevator causes the angle of the elevator to move. That clarifies things greatly. Now what about the rest of the post?

You're saying the stick can be forward and the wing can be flying at a high angle of attack? Please explain. Also, of course, horizon has nothing to do with this conversation. I'm surprised at how many people here are conflating the horizon or banking with angle of attack.

I never claimed that the stick had to be full back for a stall to occur. I would claim, however, that if there is ample elevator authority, then a stall is guaranteed at full back stick position, at least if we stipulate calm air (i.e., no gusts at just the right angle).

Stall is not a matter of horizon or stick position. You can absolutely stall in a stick forward position just as you could absolutely not-stall with the stick full back.

Stall is a matter of the the “relative wind.” In practice this means the direction we’re flying in but in reality you can get a strong windshear that will create a relative wind that exceeds the angle of attack at just about any pitch attitude and elevator position.

If the stick is forward and you are descending at 100mph in calm winds you have a relative wind of 100mph directly at your nose and your angle of attack is equal to the angle of incidence of your wing minus the angle of descent. If you were to get a 100mph updraft from a relative direction of 90 degrees beneath your wing, you would end up with a relative wind that is creates an angle of attack of 45 degrees plus the angle of incidence minus the angle of descent. Hence critical angle of attack could in theory be exceeded in a descent with forward elevator pressure.

Similarly, you can have the stick full back and not stall provided you have enough thrust. Military fighters are prime examples of this. Their wings are generally installed with 0 degree angle of incidence and their wings naturally produce very little lift yet they are perfectly capable of climbing nearly vertical just after takeoff because they create their own relative wind and rely primarily on thrust.

You can also see this by watching a military jet turn and you will see the application of ailerons does very little without back pressure on the stick; this is because the angle of attack with zero back pressure and zero wind is again equal to the thrust vector plus the angle of incidence (which is 0). The application of back pressure is required in order to create an angle of attack on the wings and adjust the lift vectors.

So with sufficient thrust/speed you could absolutely fly with full back elevator even if the elevator moved a full 90degrees without stalling.

The issue you would encounter is 3 fold:
1) your thrust needs to be able to counter the effects of gravity in the vertical
2) your thrust needs to be able to counter the effects of drag of your elevator at full deflection
3) the normal prevailing wind patterns (updrafts and downdrafts notwithstanding) move parallel to the earth’s surface and you would therefore have to have no wind or sufficient speed to counter the change in relative wind created by the earth’s winds and your relative pitch attitude.

In practice most of us dont have planes with sufficient thrust to create enough relative wind to fly in this manner.

How does G loading affect the angle of attack at which a wing stalls?

If you read the posts of others on here, it has been explained that G loading results in a stall at a smaller angle of attack. The easiest way for us to replicate G load is through steep turns at 45 degrees of bank but ultimately this is no different than overloading your aircraft.

If you were to double the max gross weight of your plane, you would be at 2g of the design weight of the wing. The wing will require more airflow over the wing to generate sufficient lift (assuming its capable at all; for a non-aerobatic aircraft it should be capable up to 3.3g) and the aircraft will therefore stall at a higher airspeed and lower angle of attack than if you were loaded appropriately. [Error: See post below for correction]

Funny how your original post said you’ve gotten less argumentative as you get older yet all you’ve done here is argue. I think you meant to say, like most people in society today, you prefer to argue from behind the anonymity of a keyboard.

I also have to agree with the United pilot that the elevator position does not necessarily determine the angle of attack though again as others have already stated it may appear that way in most flight scenarios.

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If you read the posts of others on here, it has been explained that G loading results in a stall at a smaller angle of attack.

How much smaller? Are we talking a fraction of a degree or what? How many times have you measured it? If this is actually true it must be negligible, otherwise why are we taught that the stall angle is always the same?

You're right, birdus. This is all "fun conversation" leading to enhanced mutual understanding of aviation-related topics. No offense was intended by expression of "a\$\$-raped," only meant to convey some liability to (constructive) criticism of your starting premise. That you're above being thin-skinned concerning critical responses is a huge credit to you and your commitment to advance knowledge in this area. Please accept my apologies if I offended, and thank you for your participation here. Blessings

I probably took your original message a bit too seriously.

How much smaller? Are we talking a fraction of a degree or what? How many times have you measured it? If this is actually true it must be negligible, otherwise why are we taught that the stall angle is always the same?
G loading doesn't affect the angle of attack at which a stall occurs. A wing will stall at any load at the same angle of attack.

How much smaller? Are we talking a fraction of a degree or what? How many times have you measured it? If this is actually true it must be negligible, otherwise why are we taught that the stall angle is always the same?

Correct angle of attack was the wrong term there. AoA was on the brain. Will go back and correct.

G loading doesn't affect the angle of attack at which a stall occurs. A wing will stall at any load at the same angle of attack.

Well that's what I thought, but people keep saying it changes.

The wing can stall a many angles of attack, dependent on the speed of the relative wind, wing configuration (flaps, slats. spoilers) and G loading.

The elevator only changes the resultant angle of incidence relative to the wing.

This is pretty much all wrong. A wing only stalls at one angle of attack given a specific configuration. G loading and relative wind do not change the stalling AOA. A configuration change on the wing which is essentially a new air foil can change the stalling angle of attack. Flap extension generally reduces the stalling AOA while slat or LED is extension generally increases the stalling AOA.

Funny how your original post said you’ve gotten less argumentative as you get older yet all you’ve done here is argue. I think you meant to say, like most people in society today, you prefer to argue from behind the anonymity of a keyboard.

No! I meant exactly what I said! You should've seen how much I used to argue! It's quite possible that it would be better if I let every incorrect statement slide.

By the way, I'd be perfectly happy to have this conversation face to face. I love talking physics, aerodynamics, mechanics, etc.! If you think I'm trying to remain anonymous, just Google my full name. It's Jay Philip Williams. You'll find all kinds of things about me.

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I probably took your original message a bit too seriously.
\\

We're good Bird, Thanks

No! I meant exactly what I said! You should've seen how much I used to argue!

By the way, I'd be perfectly happy to have this conversation face to face. I love talking physics, aerodynamics, mechanics, etc.!

LOL. Alright I believe you

No offense was intended by expression of "a\$\$-raped"

I'd hate to see what you'd say if you WANTED to offend someone!

I believe that depends on how steep the climb is, and how quickly the move (neutralize elevator, pull power) is executed. I'm fairly sure I can get the airplane to stall with the elevator neutral. Maybe I'm wrong. I'll have to give it a try... if we ever see the sun again.

Every time I do a hammerhead where I botch the pivot that is exactly what I am doing. Taking the aircraft straight up and ending at zero airspeed with the elevator Neutral. Put the slightest G on at that point and your stalled. Miss time the kick and your stalled. Neither has the stick remotely close to full aft.

Others have already said it, but I'm not sure it sunk in, so I'll repeat it. In a power off stall you'll have the stick much farther back due to lower elevator authority at slow speed than you will during a power on stall. Do them both back to back and see for yourself.

Stick position is a horrible way to detect a stall. This is a fundamental understanding you're lacking.

I highly recommend you read "Stick and Rudder". The author spends chapters discussing these types of topics in great detail. Just get used to calling the elevator "flippers"

Every time I do a hammerhead where I botch the pivot that is exactly what I am doing. Taking the aircraft straight up and ending at zero airspeed with the elevator Neutral. Put the slightest G on at that point and your stalled. Miss time the kick and your stalled. Neither has the stick remotely close to full aft.

You're saying that when you're headed straight up that the wing is actually flying? And that's it's actually close to its critical angle of attack? Just curious.

I would hazard a guess that the angle of attack is right at the zero lift line when you're flying straight up, just before kicking the rudder over.

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Every time I do a hammerhead where I botch the pivot... Miss time the kick and your stalled screwed...
FTFY. Discovered the hard way that timing the kick by the seat of the pants is based on TAS. The rudder responds to IAS. Not the same at a DA of 8000'.

Wrong (IMO). A Piper Colt doesn't have enough elevator to do a power-off stall from level flight even with the stick full aft. Pull the nose way up above the horizon and it will stall when the nose pitches downward while keeping the stick back all the way.

Sounds like you mis-read. We were talking about stalling with neutral elevator after pulling power to idle on a steep climb. Parabolic arc, no stall. Pull steep enough and you could whip stall, but that's different from a normal stall.

Sounds like you mis-read. We were talking about stalling with neutral elevator after pulling power to idle on a steep climb. Parabolic arc, no stall. Pull steep enough and you could whip stall, but that's different from a normal stall.
In what way is it different? The wing is still stalled. A stall is a stall, some are maybe just a little more severe than others.

Pilots are a pedantic bunch, I love it

PS - the reason I take issue with the assertion that elevator angle is directly related to angle of attack is because even though the two are usually closely related, to teach fundamentals of flying to someone like this misses a bigger and more critical part of the story of what angle of attack and critical angle actually is and how the angle of the elevator effects all it all

As a corollary to this, if you were in bad ice and experienced an elevator stall.. how many people know what that would feel like and what the appropriate recovery would be?

In what way is it different? The wing is still stalled. A stall is a stall, some are maybe just a little more severe than others.

If you drop an airplane vertically tail first while holding the elevator neutral and it whips around momentarily due to physics wanting the airplane to swap ends, you are calling that a stall?? So by doing absolutely nothing you instantly created and quickly recovered from a stall?? No, that's a very different concept from flying along and passing the critical AOA zone where airflow over the wing goes turbulent and stalls. In the example I gave, there is no turbulent flow over the wing because it's literally falling perpendicular to the ground momentarily before it swaps ends. I don't call that a stall. Go try your climb idea. You will find the airplane doesn't stall.

If you drop an airplane vertically tail first while holding the elevator neutral and it whips around momentarily due to physics wanting the airplane to swap ends, you are calling that a stall??
Well, first off, that's not a "whip stall", as I understand it, but a tail slide. But In either case, the wing is stalled because the critical angle of attack has been exceeded. Am I wrong?

Plus... I wasn't talking about a tail slide in the first place.

I'm out. When what I write is repeated as correct, but it was wrong the way I said it, it's time to go.

...And some of you have obviously been drinking.

Well, first off, that's not a "whip stall", as I understand it, but a tail slide. But In either case, the wing is stalled because the critical angle of attack has been exceeded. Am I wrong?

Plus... I wasn't talking about a tail slide in the first place.

Whip stall is sort of a mild tailslide and you have to be really steep. Same concept. Ain't gonna happen at climb out attitude or even 45 degrees.

Whip stall is sort of a mild tailslide and you have to be really steep. Same concept. Ain't gonna happen at climb out attitude or even 45 degrees.
Call it whatever you want. Pretty sure I can pull up into a steep climb -- let's say 45 degrees, for the sake of argument -- let the airspeed decay to just above stall speed, relax the back pressure, pull the throttle, and the plane will stall. Again... willing to be proven wrong, but I don't think I am. Obviously, or I wouldn't say it.

Call it whatever you want. Pretty sure I can pull up into a steep climb -- let's say 45 degrees, for the sake of argument -- let the airspeed decay to just above stall speed, relax the back pressure, pull the throttle, and the plane will stall. Again... willing to be proven wrong, but I don't think I am. Obviously, or I wouldn't say it.

Cool! If ya got a plane, ya got a way to answer the question...unless you're afraid of zoom climbs.