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Lowest Speed Attainable In Flight.  
User currently offlineDIJKKIJK From France, joined Jul 2003, 1804 posts, RR: 4
Posted (7 years 10 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 9096 times:

What is the lowest speed a fully loaded jetliner like the Boeing 744 can attain in level flight, and still remain airborne?


Thanks

[Edited 2006-12-05 18:20:47]


Never argue with idiots. They will bring you down to their level, and beat you with experience.
58 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 9073 times:

VS0 would be my guess, but I am probably incorrect. I am not familiar with the 747, so I do not know the actual value of VS0.

User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 9060 times:

Quoting N231YE (Reply 1):
I am not familiar with the 747

Only about five percent of aviation professionals are - it is a rare airplane. Hint: Unless you really need very specific data, leave the question parameters more open. There are, maybe two guys on this forum who've flown the 747. There are a hundred or more who fly all the other planes in the various fleets.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineRedcordes From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 8973 times:

Quoting N231YE (Reply 1):
VS0 would be my guess, but I am probably incorrect.



Quoting DIJKKIJK (Thread starter):
What is the lowest speed a fully loaded jetliner like the Boeing 744 can attain in level flight

At Vso most aircraft would typically be descending unless the nose was held high and loads of power could be applied. High performance aircraft can maintain level flight at minimal airspeeds (below stall). I would guess for a 747 flown "normally" that a speed somewhat above touchdown speed would be the minimum level-flight speed in the landing config. However, in a clean config. I believe the speed would be considerably higher--a while ago on this forum 747's at MGW were said to have a minimum recommended cruise speed above 200 kts. and therefore could not accept a speed restriction of 200 kts.(of course there would be a considerable safety margin there). Anyway, at MGW I'll guess 160 kts. dirty and 190 kts. clean. Any other guesses?



"The only source of knowledge is experience." A. Einstein "Science w/o religion is lame. Religion w/o science is blind."
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 8942 times:

Okay, since "guesses" are starting to appear, it is time to jump in.

VS is "stalling speed or minimum steady flight speed" which is actually contradictory. If you are at a speed at which the stall occurs you are no longer in steady flight. Among the published stall/minimum steady flight speeds VSO is in the "landing configuration"

If our flight is "steady" in the landing configuration that means that we can still maintain altitude or even climb. So, yes, a jet airliner will climb at VSO.

So - at what speed? That depends on some factors - in sort of descending order here:

1. Airplane type - BAe-146 or B-747. Very large variations here.

2. For a given type - configuration, flap setting etc. For jets power-on or power-off does not change anything. For straight wing props it does.

3. For a given type in a specified configuration - gross weight. Big variation with increasing weight.


So I reached out blindly and my hand landed on a 727-200 manual for an airline I did not fly for. Here are some samplings of the numbers for just this one airplane. This manual actually does show a table of stall speeds (and stick shaker speeds which are just a few knots higher) which is kind of unusual. Normally we just have a table for VREF which we know to be 1.3 VSO

Again, B-727-200 series with -9 engines (not that that matters)

At 170,000 pounds, which is fairly heavy for this type, stall speeds range from 163 knots clean down to 107 knots at flaps 30.

At flaps 30 the stall speeds range from 107 knots at 170000 lbs gross weight down to 80 knots at 100000 lbs gross weight. A hundred thousand pounds would be a very light weight for this airplane - very little fuel, very little payload.

So the distilled answer for this one airplane is a charted range from 80 to 163 knots depending on configuration and gross weight.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 2 days ago) and read 8933 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 4):
Among the published stall/minimum steady flight speeds VSO is in the "landing configuration"

In the Cessna 172, you can accomplish near VSO (33kias for the -R) while in flight, aka slow speed configuration, hence my guess. However, you are correct, other than this training manuver for student pilots, the only other time you get near VSO is in landing configuration. But that is with the C172, a very different airplane from an 727 or a 747.


User currently offlineCF188A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 8878 times:

Well... an aircraft can fly backwards. I have done it at 3000 ... and I am sure hundreds on here have also done it one one time or another in the slow level flight flying lesson. You actually can move backwards. You can also do it on the tarmac?... obviously not for long periods of time but it is possible. Other than that just hovering pointlessly above the earth in a Cessna does the trick to lol .

[Edited 2006-12-06 01:33:47]

User currently offlineCitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2439 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 8848 times:

Quoting CF188A (Reply 6):
Well... an aircraft can fly backwards.

You are talking about ground speed. All other posts are talking about airspeeds.



Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
User currently offlineHangarRat From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 633 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 8828 times:

Quoting CitationJet (Reply 7):
You are talking about ground speed. All other posts are talking about airspeeds.

I feel a rehash of the conveyor belt runway discussion coming on.



Spell check is a false dog
User currently offlineRedcordes From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 8826 times:

Hey Slam. Will a Cessna 172 with a standard engine at MGW climb at Vso. I've done a lot of power on entries into stalls (a few knots above stall) and I believe the airplane is losing altitude--and that's at a weight well below MGW. It won't climb. Also, are you suggesting a modern jetliner at MGW could take off at Vso (full flaps, slats) (better bring the gear up) and climb out at that speed. Sounds impossible to me without some BIG engines. I don't mean to doubt your knowledge, but I can't believe it.


"The only source of knowledge is experience." A. Einstein "Science w/o religion is lame. Religion w/o science is blind."
User currently offlineCurmudgeon From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 695 posts, RR: 22
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 8811 times:

At Vso in a jet transport, the drag would very likely eat up most of the excess thrust available for climb (even at low altitude). Vmu (minimum unstick) speed is above Vs, and in many types will involve a tailstrike, so a takeoff at Vs would be impossible anyway. (Not to mention the stick shaker, and in some types, stick pusher)

Typical climb is conducted at V2 + 15-20 kts, which is approx 1.5 Vso.

I have lent my 744 manuals, so I can't provide you with a definitive answer to the OP question. Normal minimum clean for a 744 at 396 tonnes would be around 260 kts, as I recall*. (its been awhile)

Since Vso is defined as a zero thrust stall speed, slower flight would be (theoretically) possible by selecting maximum thrust at high pitch attitudes-the vertical component of the thrust would yield a significant reduction in apparent mass, hence the slower stall speed.

BTW, Vref is 130% of the stall speed for the flaps selected.

[Edited 2006-12-06 04:00:18]


Jets are for kids
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8775 times:

Quoting Curmudgeon (Reply 10):
Since Vso is defined as a zero thrust stall speed

Where is it so defined?



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 8767 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR



I think the lowest speed attainable in flight for any fixed-wing aircraft would occur in ground effect at high power settings, way behind the power curve. What that particular speed is, of course, depends on the factors outlined by SlamClick.


2H4




Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offlineCurmudgeon From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 695 posts, RR: 22
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 8738 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 11):
Quoting Curmudgeon (Reply 10):
Since Vso is defined as a zero thrust stall speed

Where is it so defined?

Hi SlamClick...

If I had been paying attention when I scrolled down through this thread, I would have seen your post the first time, and not bothered with my own, because you covered it cold.

I can't find a definition right now in my books, except for a citation in "Handling the Big Jets" which defines it as "The (not more than) zero thrust stall speed for the maximum landing flaps". this would have been an old C.A.A. definition, broadly equivalent to the FAR's of the 70's.

In flight test (Not that I did much), the V speeds were determined by approaching the predicted stall speed from about 1.5Vs at a rate no greater than 1 kt/sec. Power was "zero thrust", which necessitated a shallow descent to achieve the 1kt/sec delta V. Later tests were conducted at idle (for prop planes), and were considered equivalent to zero thrust only if the difference in tested stall speeds was less than 1/2 knot.

Jet stall speed determination is conducted at idle, since it yields a higher Vs.

I don't have a copy of the FAR or JAR regs (or the MIL Spec) here at home, but the airline, military and flight test texts don't mention thrust in their Vs definitions.

Regards

Cur.



Jets are for kids
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 14, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 8648 times:

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 12):
I think the lowest speed attainable in flight for any fixed-wing aircraft would occur in ground effect at high power settings

I think I'd agree and there are probably more than one or two reasons for this. My personal best example occurred in a BAe-146.

For some dumb reason one plane would not come all the way back to flight idle on a visual approach. I had no trouble (love that tail-mounted speed brake) making the touchdown area but in the flare was carrying more thrust than I wanted and even with the levers back against the stop the N1 was a few percent too high.

Result was that even after an on-speed flare, I floated a thousand feet or more down the runway "feeling for the ground" like a damn Cessna. We touched down at flight idle with about 70 knots indicated, when stall speed should have been 89 knots. Also did not get stick shaker/pusher.

Then in best BAe fashion the problem went away and we could not duplicate it in three more legs.

It occured to me that this particular type might get some synthetic ground effect with engine thrust getting bottled up under the wings, ahead of the flaps, but I don't know.

In his autobi, Chuck Yeager claims to have landed the delta-winged XF-92 at 67 MPH (58 knots) on his first flight in it.

But then he is Chuck Yeager and we are not.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineRedcordes From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day ago) and read 8595 times:

Slam, lets say at 1kt. below Vso the aircraft is stalled and dropping like a rock. And, at a few kts. above it is climbing a bit. Wouldn't there be a point in between where the aircraft would simply hold altitude? From what you've stated the aircraft is either stalled or climbing. No matter how technically-well you support your argument, it simply is not logical. IMHO.


"The only source of knowledge is experience." A. Einstein "Science w/o religion is lame. Religion w/o science is blind."
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 16, posted (7 years 10 months 1 day ago) and read 8582 times:

Quoting Redcordes (Reply 15):
No matter how technically-well you support your argument, it simply is not logical. IMHO.

Not logical if...

Quoting Redcordes (Reply 15):
at 1kt. below Vso the aircraft is stalled and dropping like a rock. And, at a few kts. above it is climbing a bit.

...was what I said. But it isn't. Here...

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 4):
If our flight is "steady" in the landing configuration that means that we can still maintain altitude or even climb.

...is part of what I said.

Steady flight. Controllable flight. So anywhere below the angle of attack that is represented by an indicated airspeed of VSO the plane is "steady" and "controllable" per the regulations.

Now if my flight is steady and controllable when I am exactly, spot-on VSO then I can climb, descend, or maintain level, even level turning flight.

I can climb or descend as I always do - with basic pitch and power management. I can turn normally as long as I don't exceed the bank angle that would increase my G-load and therefore my effective weight & stall speed. I'd be comfortable with 15° angle of bank as that is considered to have nil effect on airplane performance.

Does that make more sense?



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineRedcordes From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (7 years 10 months 23 hours ago) and read 8562 times:

Maybe for commercial jet airliners Vso is not really the absolute threshold of a stall, but a calculated number that keeps the aircraft a bit above a fully stalled condition that ensures safe operation. The next time I take up a 172 I'm going to try to fly with full power just above an actual Vso stall (which will be below the MGW Vso due to a lesser load) and watch the VSI. I'm quite sure the VSI will be well in the negative range. With full flaps in the Vso config. I imagine a speed about 10-15 kts. above Vso would be necessary to even hold altitude. If true, how do you explain that the aircraft won't climb even though the wing is not stalled? The more excess power probably the slower this hold-altitude speed would be. Also, the original question asks for the lowest speed to simply hold altitude. From your answers you are implying there is no such speed; and, that the aircraft either will be able to climb or not. I'm sorry this seems ridiculous on the face of it. Forget about the "steady" and "controllable" per the regulations obfuscations. My apologies.


"The only source of knowledge is experience." A. Einstein "Science w/o religion is lame. Religion w/o science is blind."
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 18, posted (7 years 10 months 22 hours ago) and read 8551 times:

Quoting Redcordes (Reply 17):
Forget about the "steady" and "controllable" per the regulations obfuscations. My apologies.

Okay, silly me. I thought FAR 1.2 Abbreviations and Symbols was a pretty good place to get the meaning of VSO.

I have to admit, my command of English is so questionable I also thought that if you were unable to control your rate of descent your flight regime might not be described as "steady."

I'll butt out now.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineBellerophon From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 583 posts, RR: 59
Reply 19, posted (7 years 10 months 22 hours ago) and read 8542 times:

DIJKKIJK

...What is the lowest speed a fully loaded jetliner like the Boeing 744 can attain in level flight, and still remain airborne?...

148 kts


B747-436 Stall Speeds, Sea Level, Forward CG. Clean / Flap 30° + Gear Down.


MTOW.................396,890 kgs / 875,000 lbs
  • Clean.........208 KIAS
  • Flap 30°.....148 KIAS

MLW...................285,760 kgs / 630,000 lbs
  • Clean.........172 KIAS
  • Flap 30°.....124 KIAS

Typical LW...........250,000 kgs / 551,000 lbs
  • Clean.........158 KIAS
  • Flap 30°.....116 KIAS

Regards

Bellerophon


User currently offlineRedcordes From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (7 years 10 months 22 hours ago) and read 8535 times:

Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 19):

...What is the lowest speed a fully loaded jetliner like the Boeing 744 can attain in level flight, and still remain airborne?...



Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 19):

B747-436 Stall Speeds, Sea Level, Forward CG. Clean / Flap 30° + Gear Down.

Does stall speed equal minimum level-flight speed? I very much doubt that it does!



"The only source of knowledge is experience." A. Einstein "Science w/o religion is lame. Religion w/o science is blind."
User currently offlineBellerophon From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 583 posts, RR: 59
Reply 21, posted (7 years 10 months 22 hours ago) and read 8532 times:

Redcordes

... Does stall speed equal minimum level-flight speed? I very much doubt that it does!...

Just out of interest, why?

Regards

Bellerophon


User currently offlineN231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (7 years 10 months 22 hours ago) and read 8525 times:

Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 19):
DIJKKIJK

...What is the lowest speed a fully loaded jetliner like the Boeing 744 can attain in level flight, and still remain airborne?...

148 kts

B747-436 Stall Speeds, Sea Level, Forward CG. Clean / Flap 30° + Gear Down.

MTOW.................396,890 kgs / 875,000 lbs
Clean.........208 KIAS
Flap 30°.....148 KIAS

Was my guess of VSO correct?

[Edited 2006-12-07 01:48:08]

User currently offline3DPlanes From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 167 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (7 years 10 months 20 hours ago) and read 8485 times:

Quoting Redcordes (Reply 20):
Does stall speed equal minimum level-flight speed?

You seem to be hung up on level-flight vs stall... If you have enough excess power - or low enough drag, I don't see why you can't climb at Vso (okay, technically just a hair on the high side of it). Since lift increases with alpha, isn't the wing generating maximum lift just before the stall speed? Jet fighters can certainly climb at Vso (arguably, even below it), given all the power they have.

On a 172 (which I've yet to fly <-- noob), I understand that FULL flaps are almost never used as the plane (as you seem to describe) can't maintain altitude, let alone climb. I've read a number of accident reports where a 172 went in to the trees because they tried to go around without pulling in the full flaps.

In a Warrior or Archer, I can fly around all day along at Vso without losing altitude. And I have to pull a little power to do it, so I imagine I could likely eek out a bit of climb... I'm thinking of it like its just a slower (and less efficient) version of Vx or Vy.

Something else to try the next time I'm up, and not in a hurry.



"Simplicate and add lightness." - Ed Heinemann
User currently offlineRedcordes From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 245 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (7 years 10 months 19 hours ago) and read 8473 times:

Quoting 3DPlanes (Reply 23):
Since lift increases with alpha, isn't the wing generating maximum lift just before the stall speed?

Lift is also dependent on airflow/airspeed. That is why maxium lift is probably generated at Vy not Vso.

Quoting 3DPlanes (Reply 23):

You seem to be hung up on level-flight vs stall.

Yes, because that was the question posed in the initial post.

Quoting 3DPlanes (Reply 23):
Jet fighters can certainly climb at Vso (arguably, even below it), given all the power they have.

I agree and mentioned that in an earlier post.

Quoting 3DPlanes (Reply 23):

In a Warrior or Archer, I can fly around all day along at Vso without losing altitude. And I have to pull a little power to do it, so I imagine I could likely eek out a bit of climb.

I think you'll need full power and a very nose-high attitude if you've got full flaps (Vso) and I'd be surprised if you have done it for more than a brief time. Also, unless you're at MGW, you'll need to be several knots below Vso as published for MGW. I'll try it in a 172 and you can do it in the Warrior. I would suggest experimenting to find what the true stall speed is for your given weight and balance and then trying to fly at a few knots above that speed to see if you can climb. Should be fun.



"The only source of knowledge is experience." A. Einstein "Science w/o religion is lame. Religion w/o science is blind."
25 Post contains images FLY2HMO : Sure will, but you'll be lucky if you get anything over 200fpm. That would be one way. Another way to do it would be reducing the amount of G load on
26 Redcordes : If you could climb at Vs for a specific configuration--let's say 30 deg. flaps--in an averagely loaded 172 (I'm guessing the stall speed would be abo
27 SlamClick : Well that settles it. The rest of us are out of our league presuming to argue with you. Especially when you reject verbatim FAA definitions as "obfus
28 Redcordes : Slam, 148 is the Vso speed. You and others have stated that typically an aircraft will climb at this speed, therefore it is clearly not the slowest s
29 2H4 : For some reason, you keep avoiding anwering this question: ....Why? 2H4
30 Vzlet : What may be getting lost here is the critical role of angle of attack. To fly more slowly than VSO requires an increase in AoA. That's what results i
31 SlamClick : Okay, more complication than the original question required but airplanes stall at an angle of attack - NOT an airspeed. Your experience with a Cessn
32 Redcordes : Ok Slam. From what you have said, I guess there is no speed and attitude whereby a 747 and many other aircraft at full power could only hold altitude
33 DIJKKIJK : Thanks for the all the replies , chaps! Happy Holidays!
34 N231YE : I am having euphoria of the mind at this moment...I learn something new everyday...
35 Post contains images SlamClick : You can ask me to answer a question or you can specify HOW the question is to be answered but you cannot do both. * * * I'm not being flippant here b
36 Redcordes : Ok, I looked up "steady". Now maybe you could look up "answer". The original post said "level" not steady. Good pilots can fly on the back edge of th
37 Post contains images Pihero : I think SlamClick has tried to explain his position well. Problem is that people keep going out of topic, but first let's make one thing clear : One a
38 Post contains images SlamClick : Well excuse me. I didn't know you meant "level" as in pitch attitude. I thought you meant it the way most pilots would - as in "level flight" as in m
39 YYZAeroEng : That right there doesn't make sense. With an airspeed of 0 kts there is no lift generated and you can't fly. Also your thrust and lift vectors point
40 Bellerophon : YYZAeroEng ...The only way an aircraft can climb is if the lift being produced is greater than the weight of the airplane... No. A common misconceptio
41 YYZAeroEng : It really isn't a misconception. The lift acting at the aerodynamic centre of the your airfoil will be acting perpendicular to your chord line. Thus
42 Post contains images Bellerophon : YYZAeroEng ...The only way an aircraft can climb is if the lift being produced is greater than the weight of the airplane. ... That statement is, and
43 Redcordes : Bellerophon, your answers make a lot of sense. However, the original post asks: "...lowest speed...level flight...., and still remain airborne". I rea
44 BAe146QT : At the risk of sounding like a fanboi, I reckon that would make a great signature line. As I was reading this thread, but before I got to your post,
45 Post contains images Bellerophon : Redcordes ...Therefore, I believe there is a speed below the Vso of 148 kts. (which I suppose is a flight idle speed) at which level flight could just
46 SlamClick : I think the assumptions you make surrounding that statement are substantially correct. I posted the F-16 crash picture to make this point: If you are
47 Xv408 : In my aero classes (a long time ago) a typical zero lift AoA would be -4 degrees or so. Depends on camber. But most subsonic wings have camber. Corre
48 BAe146QT : Taking the maneuvre as a whole, I would say "both". Flight either side of a ballistic movement. The tricky part (for me at least) is deciding when on
49 Bellerophon : Xv408 ...But most subsonic wings have camber.... Agreed. ...a typical zero lift AoA would be -4 degrees or so. Depends on camber... I'm happy to go al
50 Post contains links Pihero : This video could be an illustration of this discussion : an overpowered airplane and a spirited pilot. Forget about steady aerodynamics, we only deal
51 Redcordes : Thanks Bellerophon. I was unfamiliar with Vzrc, but it certainly makes sense from my experience with a C-172--probably due to its marginal power. See
52 Redcordes : Thank you. This is exactly what I'm thinking. All over--maufacturers' specs., instructional material, FAR's Because of my experience flying and obser
53 Post contains links SlamClick : All over? Show me a few links. maufacturers' specs? Ditto instructional material? Still waiting. FAR's? From the FAA's own website: http://ecfr.gpoac
54 Gh123 : And several thousand who pretend!
55 Redcordes : Slam, here's some certification info. from the FAA: Sec. 25.103(a)(1) to describe the option of idle or zero thrust. The commenter does not see the ne
56 BAe146QT : This thread has gone to hell. Redcordes appears to be asking "At what point does a commercial aircraft reach a speed where it cannot climb but is not
57 Redcordes : Obviously, delta wings are an exception, and not relevant to the 747. However, since thrust is necessary to keep a 747 at Vso in level flight, I'm won
58 WSOY : I should think an aircraft can be flown below the advertised stall speed, only that the likelihood of losing the lift all at once will rapidly become
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