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Flight Controls

Flight Controls (Part Seven) – Canard

Flight Controls

The canard design utilizes the concept of two lifting surfaces, the canard functioning as a horizontal stabilizer located in front of the main wings. In effect, the canard is an airfoil similar to the horizontal surface on a conventional aft-tail design. The difference is that the canard actually creates lift and holds the nose up, […]

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Flight Controls (Part Six) – Stabilator

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 […]

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Flight Controls (Part Five) – T-Tail

Flight Controls

In a T-tail configuration, the elevator is above most of the effects of downwash from the propeller as well as airflow around the fuselage and/or wings during normal flight conditions. Operation of the elevators in this undisturbed air allows control movements that are consistent throughout most flight regimes. T-tail designs have become popular on many […]

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Flight Controls (Part Four) – Elevator

Flight Controls

The elevator controls pitch about the lateral axis.  Like the ailerons on small aircraft, the elevator is connected to the control column in the flight deck by a series of mechanical linkages. Aft movement of the control column deflects the trailing edge of the elevator surface up. This is usually referred to as up “elevator.” […]

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Flight Controls (Part Three) – Ailerons

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 […]

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Flight Controls (Part Two) – Adverse Yaw

Flight Controls

Since the downward deflected aileron produces more lift as evidenced by the wing raising, it also produces more drag. This added drag causes the wing to slow down slightly. This results in the aircraft yawing toward the wing which had experienced an increase in lift (and drag). From the pilot’s perspective, the yaw is opposite […]

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Flight Control Systems (Part One)

Flight Controls

Flight Controls Aircraft flight control systems consist of primary and secondary systems. The ailerons, elevator (or stabilator), and rudder constitute the primary control system and are required to control an aircraft safely during flight. Wing flaps, leading edge devices, spoilers, and trim systems constitute the secondary control system and improve the performance characteristics of the […]

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Flight Controls

Flight Controls

It should be noted that flight control systems and characteristics can vary greatly depending on the type of aircraft flown. The most basic flight control system designs are mechanical and date back to early aircraft. They operate with a collection of mechanical parts such as rods, cables, pulleys, and sometimes chains to transmit the forces […]

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