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Monday, July 8, 2013

Rolling a 707


This photo is from a demonstration flight done way back in 1955 by Tex Johnson. He rolled a 707  airliner over Seattle using a maneuver called a Chandelle, at least that's what I think he said in this video (it's short: not even two minutes). The video is not very clear. You can infer that the aircraft rolls over, but you can't actually see it.
    I had a hard time figuring out just what I was looking at in this photo. I finally realized we are looking right along the leading edge of the wing. The 707's engines stick way out in front of the wing. The pylon for the inboard engine cuts across the top left corner of the photo.
    Near as I can tell no one else has rolled an airliner and lived to tell about it except the crew of an All Nippon Airways airliner that did it accidentally a couple of years ago.
    I know commercial aviation would be aghast at the idea of anyone doing anything fun in an airliner, but I for one would feel better if they were to take the trouble to find out just how capable these planes are and to demonstrate it. I would much rather fly in an airplane that can recover from rolling over than one that can't.

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