787 climbs vertical after takeoff for airshow? Wow.

Video of this is really impressive, even though it’s obviously a lightly loaded 787. Still, climbing vertical is something every pilot dreams of and it appears this plane, under the right circumstances, does that. I’m impressed and I want a seat with that crew.

CNN video.

Wow,just wow.

I wonder how many times they practiced it before they confident enough to put a helicopter in front of it.

I’m going to guess there’s a fair amount of foreshortening going on that makes the angle appear steeper than it actually is. I’m a sucker for airplane videos, and you often see this effect (to a lesser degree) with a camera at a good distance away and above with a really long lens. That said, I have no doubt it was a hellaciously steep departure, but big airliner that with no passengers, luggage or transcontinental fuel load has a ridiculous thrust to weight ratio and can do all kinds of fun things like this.

If you want a thrill ride, fly with Finnair. The pilots (who I was told are also part of the Finnish air force) fly the damn things like fighter jets. Or at least it seems like it after years of flying on airlines that don’t allow that.

The British Airways pilots who flew the Concordes on their tour of Britain on their last day of service had some fun with that. The one that took off from Edinburgh for the final journey to Heathrow went up like a fighter plane, full afterburner. Talk about thrust to weight ratio…

Near as I can tell, neither the 787 (any of the variants) or the Concorde had/have a thrust to weight ratio over 1. They come close though, if you ‘best-case’ some variables.

The 787, if you assume a Manufacturers Empty Weight of 109 tons (as opposed to the Operators Empty Weight for the 787-8 and 787-9 of ~130 tons and 152 tons respectively—I’m guessing this MEW is for the -8 version) and 2 Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-Z engines with almost 39 tons each of thrust at rated takeoff power, gives you a 78/109 ratio, or .71.

The Concorde weighed 86.75 tons empty, and had four Olympus turbojets with 19 tons each of thrust in afterburner. So 78-ish divided by 86.75, or not quite .9.

I’m really interested in how the 787 crew managed their maneuver, as I wouldn’t have guessed that .71 thrust ratio could get you close to a 90 degree climb, even assuming that the climb isn’t a stable, constant climb. Maybe they went wheels up extremely quickly, built up a big head of speed (so no 250 knot speed limit below FL 180), and turned that energy into a climb?

Blue meth.

I suspect almost any aircraft - okay, any jet with a thrust ratio over about .66 - could do a limited vertical climb if forward speed plus max thrust is put into it. It’s all about the other factors, and sustainability, as you outline it.

The article itself says it wasn’t vertical. Paraphrasing the pilot, “It looks like 90 degrees. Trust me, it’s not.”

Sounds like a normal departure from John Wayne airport.

You know it’s going to be interesting when the pilot gets on the intercom to warn the passengers before takeoff…

Yeah, I’ve been on a few of those “noise reduction” flights, where right about the time you’re used to the takeoff acceleration, they cut all the engines.


I think the last time I weighed that little was 6th grade…
And the torqueing noises as the tube of the plane flexed…:eek:

You were closer without the qualification. Almost any aircraft can go vertical by trading speed for height. A glider can do it with a thrust to weight ratio of 0:1. The only real limitation is that it needs to be able to achieve a high enough speed in a dive and have enough control authority that it can get to the vertical before it runs out of energy. I have yet to fly something that can’t do that, but there’s probably something out there that can’t.

So first, it doesn’t go vertical, that’s an illusion. Second they get the angle they get by taking off at a higher speed than necessary and converting that excess speed into a steep climb angle. Once the speed washes off to the normal climb speed they lower the nose.

Here’s another nice example of turning excess speed into a steep climb by an RNZAF Boeing 757. - YouTube

Something very lightweight maybe, without a lot of momentum even when travelling at top speed? Microlight perhaps? Would it stall before completing the vertical turn?

Maybe. Though even a hang-glider can do a loop and they are basically a weight-shift microlight without the engine and cockpit.

Wasn’t the A6 Intruder capable of a vertical climb? Indeed an accelerating climb? Mind you that was a fighter jet, not a passenger aircraft.

Haven’t paid much attention to the 787, but that is a beautiful-looking bird.

The A-6 was an attack aircraft, not a fighter.

Here’s a video of an Airbus a380 doing much the same - except its a MUCH larger aircraft (world’s largest passenger plane) :slight_smile: I’m extra impressed at the turn made at the climb’s ‘apex’ as that’s a big-time stall risk, IME. (assuming loss of speed due to the climb, etc) Lotsa, lotsa power in them engines…

I can tell its not exactly vertical but it sure can get ‘up there’ rather quick.

Just about any plane can do a loop. That’s just a matter of trading airspeed for altitude . But when these large jets rotate into a vertical, or near vertical, climb that’s an impressive display of power. Near the apex of that climb, I imagine the pilots were watching the AS indicator rather closely because if that ship stalled, I’m betting it wouldn’t have been a benign one that close to the ground.

I’ve seen many military jets do it at airshows, etc., but they are certainly not loaded for battle or carrying max fuel.

Actually, you can’t do a loop in an airliner. We’ve all tried many times in the sim. The problem is you can’t pull enough G to do the maneuver quick enough. So regardless of the speed you begin with, you end up somewhere between vertical and on your back when the airspeed gets to zero. Then you fall out of the maneuver.

At a low altitude the ground arrives before you can regain control. And at an altitude high enough to recover from, you don’t have the nearly as much excess thrust, so you don’t even get that far into the maneuver.