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
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    $\begingroup$ 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.

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

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