In aviation, the maneuvering speed of an aircraft is an airspeed limitation selected by the designer of the aircraft. At speeds close to, and faster than, the maneuvering speed, full deflection of any flight control surface should not be attempted because of the risk of damage to the aircraft structure.
It has been widely misunderstood that flight below maneuvering speed will provide total protection from structural failure, such as in American Airlines Flight 587. Due to this accident a CFR Final Rule was issued effective October 15, 2010 clarifying this misconception.
The maneuvering speed of an aircraft is shown on a cockpit placard and in the aircraft's flight manual but is not commonly shown on the aircraft's airspeed indicator.
Design maneuvering speed VA
Maximum operating maneuvering speed VO
Some aircraft have a maximum operating maneuvering speed VO. The concept of maximum operating maneuvering speed was introduced to the USA type-certification standards for light aircraft in 1993. The maximum operating maneuvering speed is selected by the aircraft designer and cannot be faster than , where Vs is the stalling speed of the aircraft, and n is the maximal allowed positive load factor.
At airspeeds slower than the aircraft will stall before the structure is subjected to its limiting aerodynamic load. The maneuvering speed or maximum operating maneuvering speed depicted on a cockpit placard is calculated for the maximum weight of the aircraft. Some Pilot's Operating Handbooks also present safe speeds for weights less than the maximum.
The formula used to calculate a safe speed for a lower weight is , where VA is maneuvering speed (at maximum weight), W2 is actual weight, W1 is maximum weight.
- Federal Aviation Administration, Advisory Circular 23-19A, Airframe Guide for Certification of Part 23 Airplanes, Section 48 (p.27) Retrieved 2012-01-06
- Federal Aviation Administration, 14CFR §25.1583 Final Rule Retrieved 2012-01-06
- CNATRA P-821 (Rev. 01-08) "Flight Training Instruction, Advanced Naval Flight Officer (T-45C)". Department of the Navy, 2008.
- 14 CFR §23.335(c)(2) Definition of Maneuvering Speed
- USA 14CFR §23.1557 Retrieved 2012-01-06
- Jeppesen Instrument/Commercial Manual. 2000. ISBN 0-88487-274-2.