How It Works
Airbus A380 in flight

Can you do a loop-the-loop in a passenger jet?

Airbus A380 in flight

To perform a 360-degree loop, an aircraft needs to achieve three phases in quick succession: the entry, the climb and the exit.

Each of these would cause particular problems to anything the size and weight of even a small commercial jet. Entry has to be undertaken at top speed to carry the plane through vertical ascent, making optimum fuel load a tricky calculation.

At this velocity, the climb would put massive strain on the wings and tail – enough to tear them from the fuselage. Finally, the jet’s weight would be too great and flight controls too weak to pull out of the loop without causing vibrations that could rip the aircraft apart.

Needless to say, nobody has found a pilot brave enough (or airline dumb enough) to try it.

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Plus, take a look at:

How do you land a plane?

Could we build a plane with a glass bottom?

Why do our ears pop on planes?


  • Teto85

    The Boeing 707 Prototype did two barrel rolls at its debut over Lake Washington in 1955 or ’56.

    • RametinDallas

      Boeing 707 Barrel Roll – Pilot Tex Johnston Performs Roll In Dash-80 Prototype Aircraft In 1955

      • Teto85

        Eyup. Thanks for that. I saw that on TV last week on The Aviators or some other show. Interesting that this shows up here now.

    • Bobby Knuckles

      I’m sure you know this but I gotta say: a barrel roll puts nowhere near the same amount of force on a plane as a loop-de-loop does.

      • Teto85

        Personally I can you that holds true for the pilot as well. Especially right after lunch. No more pre-loop burritos.

  • Hard Little Machine

    It takes a special airframe to do that. Figure something that can take 5 to 7Gs plus and minus. If your plane get do that, feel free.

  • Prranjal Shrivaastav

    Given that thrust-to-weight is matched to that of an F22, Aluminium is replaced with Kevlar and the hollow passenger cabin is tactically strengthened with roll cage like criss-cross supporting bars, maybe then passenger jets can perform a loop-de-loop.