warreng24
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Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:54 am

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?
 
nws2002
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:46 am

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?
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:58 am

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." - John Ringo
 
tb727
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:22 am

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.
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Viscount724
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:48 pm

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

 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:04 am



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
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onetogo
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:37 am



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
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:20 am



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." - John Ringo
 
PGNCS
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:57 pm



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.
 
phollingsworth
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:20 pm



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
 
9VSIO
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:39 am

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...
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:04 am



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." - John Ringo
 
9VSIO
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:13 pm

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...
 
tb727
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RE: Zero-G Experience, Why A 727?

Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:28 am

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.
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