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Movie "Flight" - can a commercial jet fly inverted?

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Old 11-10-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
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Movie "Flight" - can a commercial jet fly inverted?

There's a new movie in the U.S. called Flight, starring Denzel Washington as a pilot. The trailers show Denzel flying a commercial jet upside down. Is this possible? I know types of acrobatic and other specialty aircraft can fly inverted. But I thought due to wing shape, air flow, etc, a wing could not provide lift if upside down. Perhaps our aviation or aerodynamic friends can educate me.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:08 AM   #2
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I would speculate that any commercial jet is capable of doing a positive 1G barrel roll, although sustained flight may be questionable due to fuel draw or the intervention of fly-by-wire programming. Back in the 1950's, Boeing test pilot Tex Johnston demonstrated that a 707 could do a barrel roll, but it wasn't sustained inverted flight.

Any symmetrical wing will fly inverted, such as the wings on an aerobatic plane, but commercial jets use asymmetrical wings for greater lift. An asymmetrical wing CAN fly inverted, but it requires a greater angle of attack and substantially increases drag. If all other systems in questions are operating nominally, my concern would be the negative-G rating of the wing. Anything more could cause a wing to fold like an F4U Corsair...
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:17 AM   #3
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The above pretty much sums it up: You can fly inverted in a big jet for a few seconds, then the engines will flame out as there is no fuel pumps in the top of the wings, without engine power you loose hydraulics and then your flight controls and will not be able to sustain inverted flight as you will spin out of control and right at that time the "captain" in the flight movie should bend over and kiss his azz goodbye..

Typical Hollywood, the stupid movie is about as realistic as Avatar and Jaws.
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