What are the differences between airbrakes on the top side of jet aircraft (like on the F-15) compared to those on the lower side (like on the A-7), in terms of effectiveness and pitching when they are deployed?

F-15 lands with deployed airbrake From Wikipedia.

A-7 with deployed airbrake From Reddit.

Would pitch authority be better in one than the other?


1 Answer 1


Since airbrakes are frequently used during landing, putting them underneath the fuselage could create a ground clearance problem.

Putting brakes on the top only would create a pitch-up tendency when they are deployed. This is countered automatically by the Fly-By-Wire flight controls, so no correction is necessary for the pilot.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I thought that the Korea-era fighters like the Sabre were the closest we got to bottom-mounted airbrakes... then I remembered the A-7... and added it to OP's question because more people need to see the flying ironing board. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ The F-4 has airbrakes under the wings and no clearance problem. $\endgroup$
    – George Geo
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 11:07
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The mirage F1 also has airbrakes on th lower part of the fuselage (picture) $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ The A-6 and EA-6B had them on the wingtips... $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 20:57

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