Flying in prone position

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by FlyingJeremy, Feb 22, 2021.

Tags:
  1. FlyingJeremy

    FlyingJeremy Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Messages:
    3
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jeremy
    Hey fellow pilots,

    I am thinking about an aircraft that could be flown lying prone. It's already been done (e.g. youtube weebee aircraft prone - sorry, too new to paste links), but there's no such contemporary GA aircraft.
    If there were one, would you fly it ? Do you see benefits to flying prone ? If you have thought about it, I would be delighted to have a chat with you.

    With my apologies if the topic is not posted where it should be or if there already is an extensive thread (I haven't found it myself).

    Blue skies,
    Jeremy
     
  2. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    9,322
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    Maybe there’s a Wright Flyer replica kit
     
    FlyingJeremy and GRG55 like this.
  3. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    7,732
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    The only benefit I can see is the feeling you'd get. I think it would be less comfortable, more difficult to control, and a whole lot more dangerous.
     
    FlyingJeremy and RyanB like this.
  4. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6,251
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer

    [​IMG]
     
    FlyingJeremy, PaulS and Bill like this.
  5. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6,251
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer
  6. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    7,161
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    San_Diego_Pilot
    4 engines 4 long haul
     
  7. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    6,675
    Location:
    KRDU
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brian Flynn
  8. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6,251
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer
    I wouldn't exactly call that "contemporary" that the OP was seeking.
     
    FlyingJeremy likes this.
  9. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2017
    Messages:
    1,103
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Hang 4
    <<<<<<< Look left. It's a lot more birdlike. I'd not be thrilled to fly that way with an engine though.
     
    FlyingJeremy likes this.
  10. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    2,051
    Location:
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Russ
    The large benefit, of course, is reduced frontal area, thereby lower drag and therefore either higher speed or greater efficiency for a given engine size.

    That's the only benefit I can possibly see.

    Would I fly it? Maybe once around the pattern or something, but I can only imagine the neck pain that would result from a longer flight.
     
    FlyingJeremy likes this.
  11. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Messages:
    12,912
    Location:
    Southeast Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    This page intentionally left blank
    A properly placed inspection port would eliminate the #1 problem pilots have on long flights. Engineer it with inverted oil and fuel, and you could eliminate the #2 problem as well.
     
    Jim K and FlyingJeremy like this.
  12. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    2,685
    Location:
    Rockwood Storage Facility
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mantis Toboggan, MD
    Lars Giertz's Vmax Probe is the most recent one I'm familiar with. It did not end well. Prone is good for frontal area reduction (and the associated drag if done well) but the survivability of something as simple as a hard landing becomes a much bigger issue than seated, even reclining.

    Nauga,
    laid back
     
  13. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    6,675
    Location:
    KRDU
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brian Flynn
    It's relative. I initially found this one: ;)

    [​IMG]
     
    asicer likes this.
  14. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    Messages:
    3,145
    Location:
    Juneau, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AKBill
    Prone probably not, maybe laying down at an angle that would give you enough visibility. Seat configuration would be important, hard landings may hurt you.
     
  15. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,822
    Location:
    North Carolina once again.
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tarheelpilot
  16. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2012
    Messages:
    6,675
    Location:
    KRDU
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brian Flynn
    Actually, not that you mention it, the Rutan experimentals are mostly prone. Technically you're sitting in a seat, but the seat is very reclined.
     
  17. wrbix

    wrbix Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,249
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pilot Lite
    Supine.
     
  18. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,432
    Location:
    Seattle
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ron Wanttaja
    Technically, you're nearly supine, not prone, in a Rutan design.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  19. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,432
    Location:
    Seattle
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ron Wanttaja
    Technically, you're nearly supine, not prone, in a Rutan design.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  20. BrianNC

    BrianNC En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    2,867
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    BrianATL
  21. pmanton

    pmanton Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,620
    Location:
    Indian Hills Airpark Salome, AZ
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    N1431A
    Paul JUMP.JPG
    Flying it is, just like a bird.
     
  22. Grandmother Sumac

    Grandmother Sumac Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2020
    Messages:
    19
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grandmother Sumac

    Attached Files:

  23. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,983
    Location:
    CT & NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dana
    Or sometimes called "suprone", adopted by some older PG/HG pilots as it's almost as efficient as prone but a lot more comfortable.

    Biggest problem with the prone position is the stiff neck you'll have after anything but a short flight...
     
  24. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    9,196
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    The only way I'm flying prone is in a wide body commercial jet with a flat bed seat on a trans-oceanic flight.
    Wine, dinner, cognac, camomile tea, blanket, pillow, sleep...:cool:
     
  25. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    10,956
    Location:
    New England
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    Isn't that falling? Cool pic BTW.
     
  26. FlyingJeremy

    FlyingJeremy Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Messages:
    3
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jeremy
    Hi all,
    First, thanks a lot for your many messages ! Some made me laugh, others shed some light, all were useful !

    @asicer, no a hang glider is no GA aircraft. An aircraft, but not a GA one :) - I fly them by the way, that's what gave me the idea of reducing the drag and getting an even better feeling while flying, I admit. And no, the jetman even with 4 rockets is not a GA aircraft :)))

    @nauga, thanks for the reference to VMaxProbe, outstanding aircraft, so sad its creator passed away, it could have been a blast ! Reminds me a bit of the Opal facett, same outcome, revolutionary machine.

    So if I get it right, none of you would actually fly such an aircraft, right ?

    Kind regards,
    Jeremy
     
  27. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    26,056
    Location:
    Michigan
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ed Frederick
    The only way a prone aircraft would work is if you have a video display of the forward view below your head. No way would I would to be trying to look out in front of me while laying on my stomach for more than 48.6 seconds.
     
  28. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    Messages:
    3,145
    Location:
    Juneau, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AKBill
    :yeahthat:
     
  29. TrueCourse

    TrueCourse Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2019
    Messages:
    219
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    TrueCourse
    Supine for me, not prone. My back would kill me. Maybe supine would too, if it’s a long flight that puts me to asleep.:cool:
     
    AKBill likes this.
  30. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,983
    Location:
    CT & NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dana
    Back in the 1970s there was a guy who built a plane with the intention of flying like a bird... his arms reached into the wings to operate the ailerons, and he worked the elevator and rudder with his feet. He did not survive the test flight.

    Unless you absolutely NEED to lay prone for minimum drag or other reasons it sounds like a solution in search of a problem.
     
  31. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    13,023
    Location:
    DXO124009
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Light and Sporty Guy
    If you look at the hard core competition gliders - where no cost is too high when it comes to drag reduction...
    [​IMG]
     
    Grandmother Sumac and nauga like this.
  32. Grandmother Sumac

    Grandmother Sumac Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2020
    Messages:
    19
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grandmother Sumac
    Concur. Spreading the pilot out in a prone position might be the answer, but only if it’s a really weird question.
     
  33. FlyingJeremy

    FlyingJeremy Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2021
    Messages:
    3
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jeremy
    Hi Dana,
    Thanks for your message. Objective would indeed be to reduce drag. Do you recall by any chance this project ? I would be glad to read about it.
    Thanks & Regards,
    Jeremy
     
  34. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,983
    Location:
    CT & NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dana
    Sorry, I don't recall any more about it. It was just a short thing in Air Progress or maybe Flying magazine, IIRC, sometime between 1976-78. I don't think drag reduction was a factor there, the guy just wanted to fly like a bird.

    If you're going for drag reduction it's unlikely you'd save enough compared to a supine pilot to be worth the disadvantages (comfort, visibility, g-tolerance, crashworthiness, etc.)