What was the real function of the "dog-tooth" notches in the leading edge of the wing of the Vought F8U crusader?

Wikipedia says:1

Vought's design team... produced... a relatively unorthodox fighter that possessed... dog-tooth notching at the wing folds for improved yaw stability

I find it hard to believe that any potential yaw stability deficit would not be addressed simply by increasing the (already ample) size of the vertical fin.

Did the "dog-tooth notches" really have anything to do with yaw stability?


  1. Link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vought_F-8_Crusader#Design, accessed 7/30/2023
  • $\begingroup$ It's my idea that a dog-tooth on the leading edge will decrease stall speed. You can also find them on the F/A-18 and MiG-23 $\endgroup$
    – Mateo
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ Btw it appears that the wording of that sentence on Wikipedia has been substantially changed in the short time since this question was posted-- but the substance of the comments about the various design features remains essentially the same, including the claim that the dog-tooth notching improved yaw stability. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know. I'm definitely not an expert yet. But I guess that's the reason why we're here $\endgroup$
    – Mateo
    Commented Jul 31, 2023 at 18:13

1 Answer 1


The usual way in which such devices work is that they provide a barrier between separated flow and the ailerons. The vortex coming from the notch ensures that the flow separation from the inboard wing cannot spread easily to the outboard wing and impair aileron effectiveness.

As such, it is useful for stability, but roll-stability, not yaw-stability.


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