Mach tuck

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Mach tuck is an aerodynamic effect, whereby the nose of an aircraft tends to pitch downwards as the airflow around the wing reaches supersonic speeds. The aircraft will be subsonic, and traveling significantly below Mach 1.0, when it first experiences this effect.

Causes of Mach tuck

Mach tuck is dependent upon the dynamics of lift.

Mach tuck is the result of an aerodynamic stall due to an over-speed condition, rather than the more common stalls resulting from boundary layer separation due to insufficient airspeed, increased angle of attack, excessive load factors, or a combination of those causes. As the aircraft's wing approaches its critical Mach number, the aircraft is traveling below Mach 1.0. However, the accelerated airflow over the upper surface of the cambered wing exceeds Mach 1.0 and a shock wave is created at the point on the wing where the accelerated airflow has gone supersonic. While the air ahead of the shock wave is in laminar flow, a boundary layer separation is created aft of the shock wave, and that section of the wing fails to produce lift. The image to the right illustrates this concept.

In most aircraft susceptible to Mach tuck, the camber at the wing root, the section of the wing closest to the fuselage, is more pronounced than that of the wing tip. This design ensures that in a standard stall the root will stall before the tips. This allows the pilot to recognize the stall while still maintaining control of the ailerons to...
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