Currently studying for a course on fighter aircraft. I came across the phenomenon of 'wing rock', which occurs at very high angles of attack, but I couldn't find any good sources that explain how this phenomenon works in detail. Could anyone give me an explanation of the mechanics of this phenomenon?

  • $\begingroup$ NASA sponsored a research paper on this. ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?R=19850037432 There are quite a few other papers on this subject. Your educational institution should be able to get you access to them. $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Jun 1 '19 at 9:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Thank you for the resource! $\endgroup$ – Wouterr G Jun 7 '19 at 19:57

It occurs on aircraft that have triangular or arrow-like wing shape.

Let's say at a high angle of attack, the left wing begins stalling first. The aircraft will turn slightly to the left. Immediately, there are two forces counteracting this:

  • when the left wing goes down, it stops stalling and the shadowed wing on the right begins stalling;
  • if the aircraft is laterally stable, the aircraft has a tendency to revert to the center position when turning left or right.

Therefore the aircraft will turn slightly to the right, and the same process repeats again.

| improve this answer | |
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for the explanation! $\endgroup$ – Wouterr G Jun 7 '19 at 20:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.