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Flight Controls (Part Nine) – V-Tail

in Flight Controls

The V-tail design utilizes two slanted tail surfaces to perform the same functions as the surfaces of a conventional elevator and rudder configuration. The fixed surfaces act as both horizontal and vertical stabilizers. [Figure 5-16]


Figure 5-16. Beechcraft Bonanza V35.
Figure 5-16. Beechcraft Bonanza V35.

The movable surfaces, which are usually called ruddervators, are connected through a special linkage that allows the control wheel to move both surfaces simultaneously. On the other hand, displacement of the rudder pedals moves the surfaces differentially, thereby providing directional control.

When both rudder and elevator controls are moved by the pilot, a control mixing mechanism moves each surface the appropriate amount. The control system for the V-tail is more complex than that required for a conventional tail. In addition, the V-tail design is more susceptible to Dutch roll tendencies than a conventional tail, and total reduction in drag is minimal.

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