Jetliner Appears to Hover in Midair during Takeoff


(Video Link)


Freaking airplanes! How do they work? This video shows an Airbus A330 taking off from the Farnborough Airshow in 1994. About 24 seconds into the video, the jetliner appears to hover, nearly motionless, in midair.

-via Jalopnik

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@Kylie you are correct. The extent of the dispute is significant since the pilot claimed with some apparent justification that the black box recorders had been tampered with. In support of his claims the cockpit voice recording and flight data recordings went four seconds out of sync.

The pilot claimed that the major cause of the incident was that the engines did not respond the an increase in throttle.

Air France had received bulletins from Airbus stating that there were two problems with the A320, firstly that there were problems with throttle response at low altitude and secondly that there were problems with barometric altimeter. Neither of these bulletins were passed on to pilots until after the accidents.

Some people have placed significance on the fact that the investigation was carried out by the French authorities when the aircraft's owner and operator and manufacturer were French companies.
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@Shannon it may be a common trick in a high winged prop trainer, but it's not so common in jet airliners. It's pretty easy to work out the stall speed of something like a 172, not so easy in a jet airliner. In particular you don't have a nice simple documented stall speed for an A330 or any other airliner, it depends on all sorts of things like the loading to a much greater extent than a light aircraft. And bear in mind that a jet engine doesn't work like a prop engine. It takes a lot more pilot skill to run a jet that slowly with the nose high at such a low speed than to run a light prop plane close to it's stall speed.

And obviously the consequences of failure are somewhat more expensive if you stall an A330 at low altitude than if you do the same with a 172.
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It's a pretty normal part of learning to fly to put your plane into slow flight into the wind and look down and see that you're flying extremely slowly or even backwards... I think everyone who's gone through flight school has done something like this (I did it in a little Cessna).

That reminds me -- planes like the Vought V-173* ("Flying Pancake") with *EXTREMELY* slow stall speeds could actually be pointed into the wind and appear to take off vertically, hovering straight up or even in reverse in the right conditions... Even though strictly speaking they had no special capabilities for VTOL beyond what all normal planes have.

* See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vought_V-173
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Yes the pilot is flying as close to a stall as he can get. A risky trick to pull, but it's an airshow and doing risky stunts is bread and butter to airshow pilots. If they didn't do this sort of thing they wouldn't get the paying audience.

Furthermore the text is somewhat misleading. The apparent hover does not take place during takeoff, but during a flypast.
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