So, we have a F-16 chilling on the ramp, showing us its tailfeathers:

F-16 parked on ramp, view from behind

Interestingly enough though, inboard of the all-flying stabilator sections, there is a fixed stabilizer section (this is quite clearly visible on the right due to what the stab is doing on that side). This isn't universal on stabilator-equipped aircraft though, or even fighters, as the F-22 appears to have its all-flying horizontal tail hinged at the fuselage joints:

F-22 parked, side view

and the trimmable stabilizers on airliners are hinged at the fuselage-stabilizer joint as well:

A-300 THS root close-up

So, why is it that the F-16 doesn't follow this pattern? Is there some aerodynamic design reason for that?


1 Answer 1


The F-16 has an all moving tail plane all right. What you are referring to as the 'fixed part' is actually the fuselage portion which houses the air brakes. It can be seen clearly in the following photograph.

F-16 stabiltor

Belgian AF stabilizer; image from designer.home.xs4all.nl

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    $\begingroup$ A-ha -- so there's a "glove" fuselage section there -- very not obivous if you're looking at the tailfeathers end from behind! $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 1:14

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