Concept

# Stall (fluid dynamics)

Summary
In fluid dynamics, a stall is a reduction in the lift coefficient generated by a foil as angle of attack increases. This occurs when the critical angle of attack of the foil is exceeded. The critical angle of attack is typically about 15°, but it may vary significantly depending on the fluid, foil, and Reynolds number. Stalls in fixed-wing flight are often experienced as a sudden reduction in lift as the pilot increases the wing's angle of attack and exceeds its critical angle of attack (which may be due to slowing down below stall speed in level flight). A stall does not mean that the engine(s) have stopped working, or that the aircraft has stopped moving—the effect is the same even in an unpowered glider aircraft. Vectored thrust in aircraft is used to maintain altitude or controlled flight with wings stalled by replacing lost wing lift with engine or propeller thrust, thereby giving rise to post-stall technology. Because stalls are most commonly discussed in connection with aviation, this article discusses stalls as they relate mainly to aircraft, in particular fixed-wing aircraft. The principles of stall discussed here translate to foils in other fluids as well. A stall is a condition in aerodynamics and aviation such that if the angle of attack on an aircraft increases beyond a certain point, then lift begins to decrease. The angle at which this occurs is called the critical angle of attack. If the angle of attack increases beyond the critical value, the lift decreases and the aircraft descends, further increasing the angle of attack and causing further loss of lift. The critical angle of attack is dependent upon the airfoil section or profile of the wing, its planform, its aspect ratio, and other factors, but is typically in the range of 8 to 20 degrees relative to the incoming wind (relative wind) for most subsonic airfoils. The critical angle of attack is the angle of attack on the lift coefficient versus angle-of-attack (Cl~alpha) curve at which the maximum lift coefficient occurs.