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Flight Controls (Part Three) – Ailerons

in Flight Controls

Differential Ailerons

With differential ailerons, one aileron is raised a greater distance than the other aileron is lowered for a given movement of the control wheel or control stick. This produces an increase in drag on the descending wing. The greater drag results from deflecting the up aileron on the descending wing to a greater angle than the down aileron on the rising wing. While adverse yaw is reduced, it is not eliminated completely. [Figure 5-6]

Figure 5-6. Differential ailerons.
Figure 5-6. Differential ailerons.

Frise-Type Ailerons

With a frise-type aileron, when pressure is applied to the control wheel or control stick, the aileron that is being raised pivots on an offset hinge. This projects the leading edge of the aileron into the airflow and creates drag. It helps equalize the drag created by the lowered aileron on the opposite wing and reduces adverse yaw. [Figure 5-7]

Figure 5-7. Frise-type ailerons.
Figure 5-7. Frise-type ailerons.

The frise-type aileron also forms a slot so air flows smoothly over the lowered aileron, making it more effective at high angles of attack. Frise-type ailerons may also be designed to function differentially. Like the differential aileron, the frise-type aileron does not eliminate adverse yaw entirely. Coordinated rudder application is still needed wherever ailerons are applied.

Coupled Ailerons and Rudder

Coupled ailerons and rudder are linked controls. This is accomplished with rudder-aileron interconnect springs, which help correct for aileron drag by automatically deflecting the rudder at the same time the ailerons are deflected. For example, when the control wheel or control stick is moved to produce a left roll, the interconnect cable and spring pulls forward on the left rudder pedal just enough to prevent the nose of the aircraft from yawing to the right. The force applied to the rudder by the springs can be overridden if it becomes necessary to slip the aircraft. [Figure 5-8]

Figure 5-8. Coupled ailerons and rudder.
Figure 5-8. Coupled ailerons and rudder.

Flaperons

Flaperons combine both aspects of flaps and ailerons. In addition to controlling the bank angle of an aircraft like conventional ailerons, flaperons can be lowered together to function much the same as a dedicated set of flaps. The pilot retains separate controls for ailerons and flaps. A mixer is used to combine the separate pilot inputs into this single set of control surfaces called flaperons. Many designs that incorporate flaperons mount the control surfaces away from the wing to provide undisturbed airflow at high angles of attack and/or low airspeeds. [Figure 5-9]

Figure 5-9. Flaperons on a Skystar Kitfox MK 7.
Figure 5-9. Flaperons on a Skystar Kitfox MK 7.

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