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# Rate of climb

An F-15 Eagle climbing and releasing flares.

In aeronautics, the rate of climb (RoC) is an aircraft's vertical speed - the rate of change in altitude. In most ICAO member countries (even in otherwise metric countries), this is usually expressed in feet per minute and can be abbreviated as ft/min. Elsewhere, it is commonly expressed in metres per second, abbreviated as m/s. The rate of climb in an aircraft is indicated with a vertical speed indicator (VSI) or instantaneous vertical speed indicator (IVSI).

The rate of decrease in altitude is referred to as the rate of descent or sink rate. A decrease in altitude corresponds with a negative rate of climb.

There are a number of designated airspeeds relating to optimum rates of ascent, the two most important of these are Vx and Vy.

Vx is the indicated airspeed for best angle of climb. Vy is the indicated airspeed for best rate of climb.[1] Vx is slower than Vy.

Climbing at Vx allows pilots to maximize the altitude gain per unit ground distance. That is, Vx allows pilots to maximize their climb while sacrificing the least amount of ground distance. This occurs at the speed for which the difference between thrust and drag is the greatest (maximum excess thrust). In a jet airplane, this is approximately minimum drag speed, or the bottom of the drag vs. speed curve.

Climbing at Vy allows pilots to maximize the altitude gain per unit time. That is, Vy, allows pilots to maximize their climb while sacrificing the least amount of time. This occurs at the speed for which the difference between engine power and the power required to overcome the aircraft's drag is the greatest (maximum excess power). Climb rate is proportional to excess power.

Vx increases with altitude and Vy decreases with altitude. Vx = Vy at the airplane's absolute ceiling, the altitude above which it cannot climb using just its own lift.

The initial rate of climb record for pilot aircraft is held by MiG-29 at 330 m/s (65,000 ft/min). The average rate of climb for a MiG-29 is 109 m/s from sea level to 6000 m. [2]

## References

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### Look at other dictionaries:

• rate of climb — The rate of gain of vertical height per unit of time (i.e., feet/minute or meters/second). The rate of climb is normally calculated when an aircraft is climbing at its specified climbing speed and not in zoom climb. In helicopters, there are two… …   Aviation dictionary

• rate of climb — noun The rate at which an aircraft gains altitude. A negative rate of climb implies descent. Syn: climb rate …   Wiktionary

• rate-of-climb indicator — noun : a standard flight instrument that indicates the rate of ascent or descent of an airplane * * * /rayt euhv kluym /, Aeron. a flight instrument that indicates the rate of climb or descent of an aircraft. [1945 50] * * * rate of climb… …   Useful english dictionary

• Rate of Climb and Descent Indicator — The Rate of Climb and Descent Indicator (RCDI) is an aircraft cockpit instrument displaying vertical speed. Other terms used are Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI), or, for particularly sensitive RCDIs in gliders, Variometer .The principle of… …   Wikipedia

• rate-of-climb indicator — /rayt euhv kluym /, Aeron. a flight instrument that indicates the rate of climb or descent of an aircraft. [1945 50] * * * …   Universalium

• rate-of-climb indicator — An aircraft instrument indicating the rate of climb or descent in feet per minute or meters per second. The same as a vertical speed indicator, or VSI …   Aviation dictionary

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• rate of climb indicator — noun An instrument installed in an aircraft that indicates the rate at which the aircraft is gaining or losing altitude …   Wiktionary

• rate-of-climb indicator — noun an aircraft instrument that provides an indication of the vertical change in position Syn: variometer, vertical speed indicator, vertical velocity indicator …   Wiktionary

• best rate-of-climb air speed — See best climb speed …   Aviation dictionary