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Question 31

F-22 and S-37 fighters:
1. Is it true that the S-37 is a stealth fighter?
2. From the best of your knowledge, how do these two compare?
3. How fast is each in mph?
4. Where can I find detailed info on the two?

1. The S-37 Berkut, right now, is just a testbed for a future aircraft. The forward swept wings are known to provide excellent maneuverability, as the X-29 project has shown. At this time, the S-37 is not what you call stealth -- yet the completed model will surely have at least some type of modern stealth technology incorporated into it.

2. The F-22 Raptor has 2-D thrust vectoring nozzles. This is what the US calls its high maneuverable era aircraft, yet the Russia airforce has been working with thrust vectoring for decades now. This is best shown from their Su-37 Flanker, a super maneuverable aircraft. The forward swept wings of the S-37 Berkut, however, will provide an even higher maneuverability and will just complement the 3-D thrust vectoring nozzles of their technology. The S-37 will truly be an amazing performance aircraft, yet nothing can compare to American technology. The amount of money and technology put into the F-22 will make it a far superior aircraft on the battlefield, with BVR (Beyond Visual Range) attacks.

3. The S-37 Berkut has an estimated top speed of 1544 mph - 1555 mph, while the F-22 Raptor has an unreleased top speed of approximately 1188 mph (Mach 1.8) - 1320 mph (Mach 2).


F-22 Links -

S-37 Links -

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Question 32 -- Updated 12/4/04

1.Is it possible for an aircraft to reach the speed of the X-15 with no rocket engines even if it would need more than 2 engines?

2.What is the most powerful engine available for an aircraft and what speed would it be able to take an aircraft to?

     Currently, the only way to get an aircraft to reach the speeds of the X-15 is to send it up to 350,000 feet where the air is much less dense. Even the most powerful turbine (jet) engine can only put out a maximum of 115,000 pounds of thrust, which is nothing compared to the 488,000 pounds of thrust output from the space shuttle's rocket engines. Not only that, turbine engines (and most every aircraft engine) requires oxygen to burn. At these altitudes, every engine but rocket engines (and some discussed later) would literally suffocate from the lack of oxygen to burn. Rocket engines carry their own oxygen onboard (liquid oxygen in the X-15, some rockets could use solid oxygen). The ramjet engine requires air to be forced through it and compressed. Ramjets are the simplest form of engines, with no moving parts. The ramjet, however, has its speed limits. Above about Mach 6.0, the ramjets would not be able to compress the air required and would at least stall. The new scramjets (being tested in the X-43) can achieve speeds of mach 10 or higher. However, the scramjet needs to reach Mach 5 before it starts working, and it is brought to this speed by a rocket. Scramjets can power an aircraft to speeds of the X-15 and beyond, yet they are still in testing stages. Scramjets seem to be the most economical engines that could reach speeds greater than mach 10, however the most powerful engines available would have to still be rocket engines.

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Question 33

What is agility?

     The agility of an aircraft is determined by many factors. Mainly these factors depend on the aircraft's configuration, payload, and atmospheric conditions. Some aspects involved in measuring an aircraft's agility are its turn performance (rate-of-turn), stall boundary (minimum speed), aerodynamic and structural limitations (G-force), and specific power (engine power).

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Question 34

What are the advantages of swept back wings?

     The further a wing is swept back, the less drag there is upon the leading edges and body of the entire wing. This reduced drag helps to speed the aircraft up aerodynamically and results in more cost efficiency, because the aircraft can travel faster with less drag. Without swept back wings, aircraft would never be able to go faster than the speed of sound with such large wings, and would experience the "dutch roll" or spin out of control.

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Question 35

What is the heaviest plane ever built?

      Last I knew, the An-225 was the largest and heaviest aircraft ever built. It weighs in at about 1,322,750 lb maximum. It first flew on December 21, 1988, and only one has ever been built. It is sometimes used for civilian transport and other such duties, but has never been used for combat purposes. Provisions for a second Antonov 225 have been built, however the pieces have never been assembled -- and probably never will.

      The heaviest aircraft before the An-225 was the An-124 Condor, weighing around 892,872 pounds maximum. It first flew on December 26, 1982, and has gone into full production with about 27 in military service and 21 in civilian service. Its record lasted for less than six years before the An-225 came about.

      The heaviest combat aircraft ever built would be the Tu-160 Blackjack, built by Tupolev and first flying on December 19, 1981. It weighs 606,261 lb maximum and is a strategic bomber.

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Question 36

Is the X-15 faster than the SR-71 Blackbird?

      Technically, the X-15 is defined as an aircraft -- powered by rocket engines instead of a piston or turbine engine. The SR-71 is the fastest airplane in the world to take off under its own power, the X-15 is one of the fastest manned aircraft which is completely controlled. An aircraft is any craft capable of flight, while an airplane must have wings and a jet engine or propellers, it must be heavier than air, and must able to fly. There are many aircraft faster than the X-15, but there are no airplanes faster than the Blackbird family aircraft (SR-71, YF-12, A-12).

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Question 37

Where are all the other helicopters between the AH-1 Cobra and the AH-64 Apache?

      Acutally there are helicopters between the AH-1 and the AH-64, though they are not listed as attack helicopters. The A- is just to specify attack, as the Y- in YF-23 is used to specify a prototype. The H-2 Seasprite is after the H-1 Hueycobra, then the H-3 Sea King, and the H-4, then H-5, etc. -- all the way through the H-64 Apache and so on.

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Question 38

How does reverse thrust work?

      Reverse thrust is done differently depending on the engine type. Jet engines use this technique in one of two ways: either a sliding cowl or clam shells -- both of which redirect the direction of the engines' jet thrust forwards instead of backwards. Prop engines can be reversed by changing the pitch of the blades so they cut the air at an angle that produces forward thrust instead of over the wings.

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Question 39

In a 747, if one engine is damaged it can still operate normally, why? Will its force become unbalanced? Will it make the aircraft turn?

      Each engine to go out would degrade aircraft performance, however in some instances an aircraft might have an engine purposely shut down to conserve fuel. There would surely be an unstable force, and an opposing rudder would be used to compensate for this imbalance. Without rudder compensation the aircraft would begin to yaw to the side with the engine out slowly, but usually having to run on one of four engines isn't a dire emergency.

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Question 40

I am asking for the interior dimensions of the 727 aircraft. We are doing a hypothetical project about waste problems and are using the 727 and steel shipping containers to provide a stable structure a living environment.

      A complete and detailed overview of the 727 can be accessed from the Boeing website, specifically located at PDF file

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Question 41

Will there be a replacement for Columbia in the near future? Will it look the same?

      Most likely there will not be a replacement for the Columbia orbiter vehicle that was lost. The US Space Shuttle is planned to be phased out in the near future in favor of a more advanced and efficient space vehicle. The space shuttle itself is a very inefficient vehicle based on very old technology. The shuttle can cost $10,000 per pound sent in orbit. New vehicles such as the X-33 and X-34 (or ones submitted by private designers) will someday provide a cheap and quick turnaround into space.

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Question 42

Which will be the true replacement of the F-14? Could the JSF or F/A-18E/F Super Hornet exceed the performance of the F-14?

      The F-14 is truly an amazing aircraft, but it doesn't qualify as a "modern marvel" in terms of the current defense needs. In the days of the cold war our greatest fears were the Tu-95 Bears which could launch a cruise missile from 400 km away, but the wars of the future will be much different. Popping off a $500,000 missile to knock out an aircraft at this range is no longer a matter of the upmost importance. Most of the wars of the future wont be fought in the sky but will probably be a matter of ground attack capabilities and SAM interception. Most likely there isn't a country that would send an aircraft out these days to drop a bomb on America or its allies; this would most likely be a suicide mission -- unsuccessful at that. I personally don't see great hope for the Super Hornet; it would merely be a compliment to the current F/A-18 force in use. The JSF most likely wouldn't be able to be a true equal to the F-14, just as the F-15 could never truly be replaced -- but maybe that's just an old attachment to the aircraft I have. Of course the Super Hornet and the JSF have more advanced technologies incoorperated into them, though the E/F has a pretty hefty pricetag. Neither are combat proven, nor have they gone into full flight status. Their true absolute top speeds have not been publicly addressed, and the JSF is still in testing for the most part so there is no definite answer to its arsenal hold, only predictions.

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