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Flying Parabolas: What's the longest time?

Discussion in 'AviatorChat.com' started by Jedi, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. Jedi

    Jedi Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Watching a great show just now on NOVA about a top-secret program in 1964
    to send secret astronauts up for 30 days at a time to photograph the Soviet Union.

    Part of their training was in "vomit comets" - but it looked like they were weightless
    a LONG TIME, given the contiguous film.

    So it got me wondering - what's the absolute longest parabola that can be safely
    flown to simulate weightlessness? As in, how many minutes?

    Thanks airplane gurus,

    :)

    Jedi
     
  2. Bounce

    Bounce Formula 3

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    #2 Bounce, Dec 24, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2010
    Wiki says 10mins but not for the Nasa birds perhaps the same time.

    It looks interesting though, would love to try it if were available commercially.
     
  3. Tillman

    Tillman Splenda Daddy
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    http://www.gozerog.com/
     
  4. NeuroBeaker

    NeuroBeaker Moderator
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    A friend of my dad has been on one of the 'vomit comet' flights when helping to design the toilets that were used on the space shuttle. They installed little cameras about the rooms containing each of the prototype toilets and gave everyone little waistbands to wear with disruptor sensors on them that was supposed to blur out their private regions on the film.

    Although the feeling of weightlessness was apparently conducive to getting the tests under-way, I was told that the early prototypes were not very effective with regard to containment, and that the little waistband sensors did nothing whatsoever to protect personal privacy. Apparently, everyone had a good giggle about that when watching the recorded footage and trying to figure out possible design improvements.

    Sounds like quite an adventure, but can't say I'd want to try it. :)

    All the best,
    Andrew.
     
  5. GuyIncognito

    GuyIncognito Six Time F1 World Champ
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    #5 GuyIncognito, Dec 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  6. solofast

    solofast Formula 3

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    That would equate to about 20 seconds of weightless time per parabola, which sounds about right. Remember that you are accelerating pretty quickly as you go down the parabola, and you have a Vne on the down side that you have to respect. It is available commerciall, not cheap, but if you want to do it you can. Google "Zero Gravity Corp" and have fun...
     
  7. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
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    I vaguely think it's around 90 seconds in the 727... when I used to do it years ago in a Baron, I think we could get around 15-20 seconds. Incidentally, don't try it in a Baron when running on the aux tanks-- the tanks will unport and the engines will quit... that will get your attention.

    Or so I've heard...

     
  8. Bob Parks

    Bob Parks F1 Veteran
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    Your comment brings back the -80 roll by Tex Johnston. he maintained 1G all the way around because if he had gone negative for any length of time, fuel in the wings could have filled the vent stringers on the upper skins and possibly siphoned fuel. Also the constant speed drives could have gone into oil starvation and ground to a halt. The flight engineer said that he could not have detected that they were inverted if his eyes were blind folded.
     
  9. solofast

    solofast Formula 3

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    I don't think so. If you fall at 1G for 45 seconds you are doing almost 1,000 mph in the vertical direction. Even in a parabola you aren't going to be falling for half the time, so there is no way you could ever see that much time in a commercial jet. In one article for the Zero Gravity corp they mentioned that the time weightless is just under 30 seconds. If you did it in a supersonic fighter maybe you could get close to a minute, but that would take you close to Mach 2 on the downside of the trip..... Gravity is a relentless thing...
     
  10. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
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    Sorry, you are correct. They say 20-30 seconds.

    http://www.gozerog.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Experience.How_it_Works

     
  11. Bounce

    Bounce Formula 3

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    Cheers for the information regarding the "Zero G corporation" It's actually not that bad at $5k, I was planning a USA trip in 2012 and I would much rather spend $5k on this then blow it in Vegas :D

    Merry Christmas to everyone!


     
  12. Jedi

    Jedi Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Not to sound picky and pee on the cupcakes.... but it's always stuck in my
    craw to call this "weightlessness". It's zero-G SIMULATION. The people who
    do this are FALLING TO EARTH with LOTS OF Gs involved at "the bottom"...
    Were the airplane not there, they'd be screaming in utter terror, still falling. Only the
    airplane happens to be falling at the exact same rate. It's the relative environment
    of falling airplane cabin and falling person that creates the "weightlessness" - it's just
    a sensation. You are NEVER "weightless" - I'd weigh the same fat 224 pounds on
    that plane as I do on the earth.

    Just a pet peeve of mine...

    :)

    Jedi
     

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