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F117A Nighthawk

Tue Aug 10, 2004 6:59 pm

Could anybody explain to me how the Lockheed F117A - Nighthawk is able to become airborne? The aircrafts design looks rather "edgy" (sharp edges) and doesn't resemble much of any other traditional aircraft design (obviously an important factor enabling it to avoid radar detection). But how can this machine actually fly? To me it looks like it "breaks" with the original conditions of wing design that makes the airflow over and under the wing create the necessary lift.


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RE: F117A Nighthawk

Tue Aug 10, 2004 8:09 pm

It's "flat" on the undersite, "curved" at the upper site, so there is natural lift.

Electronics/computers take care of keeping the aircraft stable and translating pilot input into the desired movements.

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RE: F117A Nighthawk

Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:06 pm

A few years ago, an F-117 lost part of its wing in flight (someone will be able to provide more detail, I'm sure). The thing came down like a falling leaf. Didn't look all that aerodynamic then, either. Without the computers, the F-117 doesn't fly.
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RE: F117A Nighthawk

Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:12 pm

To be fair, without a wing, most aircraft don't fly so well either. The crash you are referring to is the Airshow crash in Maryland. Improperly installed fasteners during maintainence caused the wing to shear off. A bit more serious than just a panel coming off.
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