Why do aircraft carriers turn into the wind for flight launch operations?

Why do military aircraft carriers turn into the wind to conduct flight operations? I realize that its mostly about having enough lift, but with the wind to a plane's back, doesn't that provide both the lift necessary and additional speed?

15 Answers

Relevance
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The wing is designed so that when the air moves across the wing from front to rear the air moving over the wing has a lower pressure than the air under the wing. The faster the air moves the more lift, thus turning into the wind allows for a lower take-off speed even with catapult assistance . Carrier flight decks are not very long so the most lift in the shortest amount of time is a good thing.

    http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/Wright/airplane/lifteq...

    http://www.desktopaero.com/appliedaero/wingdesign/...

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    An aircraft is designed to take off into the wind so it is easier to control. When one is catapulted off the deck of the carrier it has all the speed it needs to fly but it gives the pilot only seconds to get the aircraft under control.

    If it was to be catapulted with the wind not only would the pilot have to struggle with control but with gaining lift.

    If you ever see an F-18 being launched you will see the pilot is holding a handle with his right hand near the top of the canopy.

    So complex is the launch it is all computer controlled and it is only when he is in the air can he let go and take the joy stick. Think about how little time he has.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    th eway planes are built-to create lift the air must speed over the top of the wing, and create a swoop of air underneath. If the planes don't take off into the wind,they don't get this as much. Possible, but not an ideal situation. Same as landing. Always landing into the wind too.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    the idea is to get as much lift as possible as fast as possible. by turning into the wind it increases the wind speed over the wing surface, creating the added lift by combining the speed of the aircraft and the windspeed.

    if they took off with the wind to their backs it would actually decrease wind speed

    • Login to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    When you fly a kite which way do you run? Running into the wind adds to the lift due to the increased wind speed over the wing.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    To create more lift. A strong tailwind could actually cause the jet to drop, stall, or crash, especially a strong wind from behind. Winds at sea can be very strong creating much better lift enhancing take-off. Even jump jets like the Sea Harriers can benefit from extra lift caused by headwinds as long as it's not real strong. Helicopters don't benefit as much of course, and strong winds are detrimental.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    in order to increase the apparent wind speed, thereby reducing the speed of the aircraft relative to the ship

    Same reason they change the active runway for wind direction at all airports

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You're thinking groundspeed. It's airspeed that keeps 'em up, so you want to head into the wind to give you the extra edge in speed over the wings, where it counts. That's why you get the "lift" answers.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 1 decade ago

    To reduce the speed necessary to lift the aircraft off the deck, the speed of the aircraft relative to the deck.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    moving into the wind is the same as adding airspeed to the aircraft, all about airspeed over the wing surfaces which generate lift. It also eliminates any errors due to crosswinds.

    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.