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Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?  
User currently offlineWarreng24 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 705 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 6081 times:

Is there any technical reason(s) why the Zero G company uses at 727? Is the 727 airframe (or design) better for this application that say a DC-9? Or a L-1011?

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineNws2002 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 854 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6067 times:

I would imagine that flying those parabolas is stressful to the aircraft, so a strong airframe and the extra redundancy of three engines could be a good thing. That is just a total guess on my part though and I'm sure someone else will have a more factual answer.

Does anyone know what kind of modifications that had to make to the aircraft?


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16908 posts, RR: 67
Reply 2, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6058 times:

I don't think the particular plane has any significance. IIRC ESA use an A300.

They probably took it because that particular plane was available at a good price and in good condition. Also the 727 has a decent interior size (length and width). A DC-9 is narrower, meaning less space for interior activities. An equivalent vintage 737 is shorter.

I don't think you'd need to make any structural modifications since they're not really exceeding any design limits. I could be wrong though. Inspections are likely to be more frequent since they're putting more fatigue on the structure in a shorter time than usual.

Quoting Nws2002 (Reply 1):
I would imagine that flying those parabolas is stressful to the aircraft,

Not really. We're talking zero to two gees with gentle transition. You probably wouldn't see those values in service due to passenger comfort, but it's comfortably within spec. It puts extra fatigue life on the structure, but it is well within design limits.

Quoting Nws2002 (Reply 1):
the extra redundancy of three engines could be a good thing.

I don't think this makes any difference at all. They're not doing ETOPS. If all engines fail they can probably glide back to the airport.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineTb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1546 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (4 years 12 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 6048 times:

Because it's an awesome airplane, that's why! lol

I remember reading somewhere that the only modifications they made were some slight modifications to the oil system in the engines to operate under 0-G.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 2):
If all engines fail they can probably glide back to the airport.

If it was only that easy, lol.



Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24061 posts, RR: 23
Reply 4, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 5718 times:

French operator Novespace has been using a 36-year-old A300B2 for zero-G flights for various space agencies and other research organizations. It was one of the Airbus test aircraft that first flew in 1973. It's the 3rd Airbus aircraft built and the oldest still flying.
http://www.novespace.fr/en,home.html
http://www.dlr.de/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-734/1210_read-3259/

In it's earlier days with Airbus:


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Photo © Eduard Marmet
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Photo © Ian Oswald (via Martin Stephen)



In it's Zero-G role:


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Photo © Sven Pipjorke
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Photo © Helmut Schnichels



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Photo © Tim De Groot - AirTeamImages



User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 23
Reply 5, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 5621 times:



Quoting Nws2002 (Reply 1):
I would imagine that flying those parabolas is stressful to the aircraft, so a strong airframe and the extra redundancy of three engines could be a good thing.

I'd have to agree with you! Plus the fact that NASA used a few B707's for the Zero G aircraft for many years, the same cross section of fuselage as the B727. Just things that make you go MMMMMMMMM!  Smile



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineOnetogo From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 313 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 5567 times:



Quoting Tb727 (Reply 3):
Because it's an awesome airplane, that's why! lol

That's exactly what I was going to say. Want to know what I think the biggest problem is with airliners these days? They are not 727's... Big grin


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16908 posts, RR: 67
Reply 7, posted (4 years 12 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 5542 times:



Quoting Tb727 (Reply 3):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 2):
If all engines fail they can probably glide back to the airport.

If it was only that easy, lol.

Well, yes.  Wink But what I meant was that an extra engine on an aircraft that is only flying locally isn't a major sticking point.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2752 posts, RR: 45
Reply 8, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5420 times:



Quoting Warreng24 (Thread starter):
Is there any technical reason(s) why the Zero G company uses at 727? Is the 727 airframe (or design) better for this application that say a DC-9? Or a L-1011?

My question is "why not"?

It seems that the 727 met the requirements for passenger capacity and aircraft performance, and was no doubt relatively inexpensive to obtain. No doubt they considered other types, but decided that for their application the 727 is the best overall selection.


User currently offlinePhollingsworth From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2004, 825 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5373 times:



Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 5):
I'd have to agree with you! Plus the fact that NASA used a few B707's for the Zero G aircraft for many years, the same cross section of fuselage as the B727. Just things that make you go MMMMMMMMM!

The "vomit comet" was actually a KC135, which has a smaller diameter fuselage than the 727 does


User currently offline9VSIO From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 693 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5300 times:
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Are the windows removed/covered to prevent disorientation/passengers getting rather alarmed?


Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16908 posts, RR: 67
Reply 11, posted (4 years 12 months 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5295 times:



Quoting 9VSIO (Reply 10):
Are the windows removed/covered to prevent disorientation/passengers getting rather alarmed?

"Getting alarmed"? You mean someone on board didn't know they were going to experience variable Gs?  Wink

As for disorientation, you may be right. I think you don't want to give visual clues like the horizon while you are doing zero G. Zero G is zero G whether in orbit or in a vomit comet. But if you can look it adds to disorientation.

Seriously though, I think the reason is threefold:
- You don't want someone running into a window instead of padding when floating. This could damage the window, the person, or both.
- Windows may distract from the experiments/orientations/training being run.
- Cover plates are lighter and require less maintenance than windows.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offline9VSIO From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 693 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 5038 times:
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Yea, for the alarming bit, I meant the climb and dive angles involved might look a lot steeper to pax who have only flown on commercial stuff.


Me: (Lining up on final) I shall now select an aiming point. || Instructor: Well, I hope it's the runway...
User currently offlineTb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1546 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (4 years 11 months 3 weeks 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 5000 times:

No windows because in her other life she hauls freight for Amerijet. The interior of the airplane is Gil liner like any other freighter except it's nice and clean.


Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
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