• Question: can aeroplanes go backwards?

    Asked by puddings on 20 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 20 Jun 2019:


      Yes. but only certain kinds of planes. Some have moveable jet engines which allow for reverse thrust. but the majority of commercial planes can only go ‘backwards’ by turning around

    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 20 Jun 2019:


      Not my area of expertise beyond having been on lots of planes. I dont think I’ve ever seen one go backwards, even on the ground they are usually towed backwards.

    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 20 Jun 2019:


      I have no idea! Travelling backwards on a plane doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest though. Going forwards is terrifying enough. 🙂

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 20 Jun 2019:


      I don’t think so, here is a nice overview of what reverse thrust is and when it is used:

      And why it is not used to move planes backwards:

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 20 Jun 2019:


      Most of them can’t but as Matthew said, there are some that have special engines that enable this but it’s quite rare to do this. Even when on the ground, planes are quite clumsy and need the air staff and control vehicles to help it maneuver.

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 24 Jun 2019:


      Again, reading the answers with much interest and expanding on my lack of knowledge in this area..

    • Photo: Alex Blenkinsop

      Alex Blenkinsop answered on 24 Jun 2019:


      They are designed to be streamlined (think about the pointy nose), so it wouldn’t really make sense to go backwards.

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