A zoom climb is a climb where the rate of climb is greater than the
maximum for a sustained climb, as determined from the thrust of the
aircraft's engines. During a zoom climb, the aircraft gains
potential energy at the expense of kinetic energy. (This is
different from a steady climb, where the increase in potential
energy comes from mechanical work done by the engines, rather than
from the aircraft's kinetic energy.)Lockheed NF-104A, 56-0756, zoom
climbing with rocket power.In a demonstration of their performance,
English Electric Lightning fighter aircraft have sometimes used
zoom climbs to climb above a Lockheed U-2 (which cruises at an
altitude above the Lightning's service ceiling), before pouncing on
it from above. During the Second World War, MiG-3 pilots utilized
zoom climbs and subsequent descents to maintain a speed advantage
over German fighters.
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