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Flight Controls (Part Six) – Stabilator

in Flight Controls

A stabilator is essentially a one-piece horizontal stabilizer that pivots from a central hinge point. When the control column is pulled back, it raises the stabilator’s trailing edge, pulling the airplane’s nose up. Pushing the control column forward lowers the trailing edge of the stabilator and pitches the nose of the airplane down.

Because stabilators pivot around a central hinge point, they are extremely sensitive to control inputs and aerodynamic loads. Antiservo tabs are incorporated on the trailing edge to decrease sensitivity. They deflect in the same direction as the stabilator. This results in an increase in the force required to move the stabilator, thus making it less prone to pilot-induced overcontrolling. In addition, a balance weight is usually incorporated in front of the main spar. The balance weight may project into the empennage or may be incorporated on the forward portion of the stabilator tips. [Figure 5-13]

Figure 5-13. The stabilator is a one-piece horizontal tail surface that pivots up and down about a central hinge point.
Figure 5-13. The stabilator is a one-piece horizontal tail surface that pivots up and down about a central hinge point.

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