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Q & A: Could a fighter jet tow a human?

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Most recent answer: 11/04/2015
Q:
What would happen to a fighter jet if it were going an average of 1000mph and was towing an average sized person (160lbs) behind it? Would the aerodynamics be thrown off to where maintaining stability would be impossible at these speeds? Or would it be business as usual with extra weight added to the aircraft?
- Ethan (age 14)
Corvallis, Oregon, USA
A:

Hi Ethan,

I asked an experienced fighter pilot about this and got the following reply:

I think you could handle any stability problems by using a long-enough rope.  I imagine the problem would be drag, not weight.  Aircraft routinely carry heavy bombs and missiles attached to the airframe.  Would the aircraft have enough excess thrust available to accelerate to 1000 mph while towing an un-aerodynamic human?

It would also probably rip the human's appendages off...

So there you go. Don't try it at home.

Rebecca H.


(published on 11/04/2015)

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