Rotating stall and the inlet vortex in centrifugal fans with inlet vane control has been studied. The advances in stall research in aero-engine compressors are discussed. The present study shows that stall in centrifugal fans can be quite different from that in axial compressors, in that stall can occur in a progressive and intermittent fashion. The study also shows that a discontinuity in the fan characteristic is not necessarily accompanied by rotating stall, unlike the axial machines. Experimental results indicate that the positive prewhirl created by inlet vanes tends to delay the occurrence of stall. Also, dorsal fin devices that are used to control the inlet vortex do not seem to affect the stall point unfavorably. The inlet vortex frequency was found to invariably exhibit a linear relation with the flow rate even when dorsal fins were used. This offers a practical method to distinguish between the inlet vortex and rotating stall.