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High Wing V Low Wing


Guest Bendorn
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one you can't see up, one you can't see down. one is easy to refuel the other usually harder. one is easier to get into, the other harder. one can be taxied (forced land) thru a gate/fence posts, one can't. one of each are better hanger mates. bout it.

 

handleling is usually read as high wings have more inherant stability in roll due to weight lower than the wing and low wings have more diheadral to effect this stability. this may affect performance. i found piper arrow to be a little 'wallowy' getting close to stall. low wings can float a bit on landing. Pug vs Clive, Ford vs Holden.

 

 

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high or low

 

personally I like to be high - hence the passion for flying. Fighter aircraft are low wing - cargo are high wing- speed vs. load. Do you want to fight or carry a load and go some where, and live comfortably. An old yarn in aviation is a conversation between a fighter pilot and a bomber - the bomber pilot told the fighter to watch this, when nothing happened the bomber said I streched my legs and made a cup of coffee. The answer to your question is what do you want your plane to do for you. The plane will always do what you tell it to do - right or wrong, choice is yours

 

 

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I prefer low wing in the circuit because you can see through the turn. I prefer fuelling low wings. I also think they often look better. If you have short low wings the fact you can't see straight down is lessened as you can easily turn and have a look. Give me low short wings and a canopy any day.

 

High wings make better bush aircraft - more wing clearance, good view down (although struts can get in the way a bit). You can also throw a tarp over the wing and have an instant tent, or just stand under the wing for shade on a hot day. They may be easier for some people to get into. The high wings I've flown do seem more ungainly in handling.

 

If you are not sure there is only one solution for you - biplanes. Yes, they are the worst of both worlds!!

 

 

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Guest pelorus32

The CFI who vainly worked to make a reasonable pilot out of me has a strong preference for high wings, particularly for training and low hour pilots. His reasoning: When someone flips it on its back - a soft landing, a bad landing, going through a ditch, whatever - you are very likely to get out of a high wing unscathed. Not so a low wing necessarily.

 

I love the look of low wings and in my limited experience they are crisper performers. But in the summer in Australia they are so hot.

 

Horses for courses.

 

Mike

 

 

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Personally I doubt that there is much in it with repect to performance, load carrying and total visibility (pressuming that downward visibility is no more important than upward visibility).

 

What I cant seem to get past is when there is a large flyin like Narromine, where people fly for a number of hours to get there. There are 2 types of arriving pilots. Those that flew high wing, and those that flew low wing. The low wing pilots can be identified by the 3rd degree burns to the face and nose and the dehydration both of which look as though hospitalisation is a possibility.

 

On the other hand the high wing pilots are indistinguishable from the locals gawping at the low wing arriving pilots.

 

Let the bricks fly... :big_grin:

 

Andy

 

P.S, anyone ever seen a low wing weight shift :big_grin: If you have, it was in the process of crashing.

 

 

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Visibility

 

Well, while it's true that a high wing has issues with visibility looking up, I suppose you can always look at something with a clear roof panel. However, I have yet to see a low wing with a clear floor ;)

 

Scotty

 

 

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Have a look at anything seriously aerobatic. It will have a clear floor. By the way, I can't think of anything seriously aerobatic with high wings. Is there anything?

 

Whilst it may be true that we don't spend most of our time in the circuit, it IS where we are closest to the ground and where there is the most traffic. I've had time in high wing, low wing and biplanes and I'm happy in all. However the best handling machines I've flown have been either low wing or biplane.

 

I started in high wings and never really worried about the lack of visibility in a turn (& circuit) until I spent more time in low wings ... then every high wing base & final turn became an irritation!

 

As someone said, horses for courses. Try both and see which you prefer.

 

 

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HI verses LOW.

 

Seriously strong crosswinds are only limited by available bank. High wings win every time. A tension strut is the easiest way to make a light , strong structure simply. You get cooked in most low wings.. They tangle in grass. They are hard to get under & clean. Flaps & ailerons are prone to damage on taildragger versions. You have to walk on the wing to get in. You can't taxi through gates. If you are unlucky enough to tip one over, you might not be able to get out of it. there's not enough space to built a good undercarriage with real shock-absorbing capability. You can't see gable markers and taxiway lights as easily. Ground effect can be a minus if you have to land on a short field . The top[ (curved) part of the wing is where the lift is derived from. You are sitting on it in a low-wing, so that bit is not working. The cockpit cut-out on a low wing presents a major problem for the strength of the fuselage. & so on.. though that's probably most of it. Regards,...Nev..

 

 

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LAUGHS!!! Having experienced the pleasure of removing myself from an inverted aircraft, I certainly see the advantage of a high wing, Nev ;) Especially when that lovely smell of strong gasoline trickling down your neck is cooling you off ;>

 

 

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Thanks for all your input. I'm slowly moving down my check list to work out my ideal plane and I think the highwings have it at the moment.

 

It's difficult when you work out your budget, ideal cruise speed against fuel economy and range. The Aeropup is looking pretty good.....

 

 

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I started in high wing and don't really mind either way too much, but I do prefer low wing. (I've had both Fords and Holdens too).

 

Facthunter, I think you should hunt for more facts on crosswind capability in high vs low wing. The lowest crosswind maximum aircraft I've flown was a Maule (high wing), and the highest crosswind capability aircraft I've flown were two different low wing types.

 

Lift is produced from the bit between the wings. I'm sure Spitfires etc managed to produce sufficient lift.

 

I know that trickle of fuel down the neck!! I also know that ungainly climb up on the strut to get fuel, trying to haul the fuel hose up there and hang on to it while dipping tanks. It's also hard to clean the top of the wing (where any spilled fuel ends up).

 

You don't get cooked in warriors, arrows, and I don't think jet airline pax complain about being cooked. The low wings that do get hot are those with canopies - however canopies give fantastic visibility, and of course you can taxi with them open. I've been MUCH hotter taxiing a Partenavia (high wing, angled windscreen) than taxiing a low wing canopy aircraft with the canopy open.

 

So there are good and bad points, depending on what you want. Yes, canopy aircraft can get hot in the sun. Well ventilated ones are not hot in flight (but you can get sunburnt!) But you can open the canopy during taxi (and in flight in some aircraft), you have great visibility and the sun is lovely at times. You feel more like you are flying, not sitting in a car.

 

Yes, it is absolutely true that high wing aircraft are better on strips with long grass/uneven terrain (as long as there is prop clearance of course), for taxiing through gates etc. They make great bush aircraft!

 

Yes, Fords and Holdens. It depends what you want.

 

 

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More.

 

Mazda,The FACT is that due to the configuration ( not some book figure ) there is more available bank on landing crosswind with a high-wing. (If you need it).

 

. The bit of the top surface of the wing, that you are sitting on, is within the confines of the fuselage, so it is not there for lift purposes.

 

With a high-wing, the top surface of the wing, is available full-span. A well designed canopy can provide some lift too. ( This force can also detach the canopy at high speed. if the design is not sufficiently strong ).

 

I did not wish my comments to relate to airline type aircraft as they are not covered by RAAus (yet?). I did not feel the need to put the bad points of High-wing,either, because my intention was to put a Hard-Sell one-sided view only, (I'm allowed to do that) and it's a little tongue-in cheek, of course, but I believe it to be based on fact.

 

For the persons who are contemplating the purchase of one or other type, on what might be written here, in some part, it would be an opportune time to bring up the most serious downside of most high-wing designs, the factor of restricted visibility in turns. An effective method of looking behind, prior to turning, needs to be developed, to operate safely. Nev....

 

 

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Guest pelorus32

I just did a calculation - a little rough but without meaningful error. On a sample low wing RA style aircraft with 5 degrees of dihedral I came up with a limiting bank angle on landing of just under 11 degrees.

 

My personal opinion is that the time when you are likely to hit this limit is in a gusty crosswind where you may need quite large deflections to halt unexpected excursions and to regain rwy c/l.

 

I will have a think tonight and see if I can calculate the steady crosswind that would require that kind of angle.

 

Interestingly the Flight Safety Foundation in their Approach and Landing Accident work - albeit for transport category aircraft - emphasise the usefulness of combined crab and sideslip on landing. Their view is that it limits the capacity for aircraft damage by:

 

  1. Limiting the crab angle that needs to be kicked off in order to have a/c and rwy heading aligned at touchdown;
     
     
  2. Limiting the required bank angle and therefore limiting the likelihood of breaching the a/c's geometrical limitations;
     
     
  3. Limiting the amount of crab angle that will exist on touchdown should the pilot fail to time control inputs to kick the crab angle off prior to touchdown.
     

 

Food for thought.

 

Regards

 

Mike

 

 

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Understood Nev! I'm not trying to be argumentative, as I said I'm happy in high or low wings, but the crosswind generalisation is not true. There are other factors besides how high the wings are - things like the aileron effectiveness/span.

 

If you've ever flown a Maule you would know that 5 knots of crosswind is significant, and 10 knots means you need to consider landing across the strip or going to an alternate (or make sure you've paid your insurance). The reason for this is that they have a substantial amount of flap and not a great deal of aileron. So a generalisation that high wing = more bank angle = better in a crosswind is simply not true.

 

The max crosswind of a Beagle Pup on the other hand is something like 25 knots (I don't have the figure in front of me) and the Airtourer is 20 knots. Perhaps this is because the Airtourer has full span flaperons.

 

There are other factors such as how long the wings are. In my experience, short stubby wings are better in a crosswind.

 

I seem to recall from the depths of my met training that wind increases with height, so surely this means the disrupted surface wind (from ground friction) that could get under a low wing would not be a strong as the wind likely to get under a high wing.

 

Anyway, I don't think it is possible to say one is better than the other in a crosswind. I do think pilots need to know the limit of each type that they fly - whether high or low wing.

 

 

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Other factors.

 

Thanks Mike.

 

May I suggest that the height of grass cover is a relevant consideration, & also that it is much easier to judge how much clearance is left when you are looking from below the wing, rather than from above.

 

Sure Mazda, It is not correct to make an all -embracing statement, and you are quite right to consider that the higher sitting high wing may be more prone to getting the wind under the wing, especially if you are banked the wrong way, (to be avoided at all costs) You have made me realise that the avoidance of that phenomenon probably requires the wing to be lowered a little more anyhow.

 

An ineffective aileron on a highwing would not be particularly nice in the crosswind situation as it already has more lateral stability than it needs. (pendulum).Stability acts against manoeuverability. Having said that, it's amazing how well a Gazelle handles crosswinds, quite surprising really Regards Nev...

 

 

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