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Questions tagged [control-surfaces]

Use for control surfaces; for the cockpit controls, use [flight-controls] instead.

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33 votes
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Why do military jets sometimes have elevators in a depressed position when parked?

Why do they have elevators in such a position as if the joystick is pushed forward, even though there's nobody inside the cockpit?
stackzebra's user avatar
30 votes
5 answers
5k views

In the early days of flight, were there any cockpit control schemes other than the modern one?

Back in the early days, what kind of control schemes were invented for aircraft, other than the modern one? (pedals to yaw, yoke to pitch and roll). I'm only interested in control schemes that can be ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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23 votes
4 answers
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Why were the Space Shuttle's elevons reversed, early in re-entry?

The veteran Space Shuttle commander Charlie Precourt writes, in the July 2022 issue of EAA's Sport Aviation, p. 38: Another interesting reality about our flight controls was their working essentially ...
Camille Goudeseune's user avatar
20 votes
3 answers
11k views

Why is the Tu-144 the only commercial airplane with canard configuration?

I understand the delta wing was chosen because of the supersonic cruise (like the Concorde), and canards were added to reduce the approach/landing speed. But canards may be used without delta wing (e....
Manu H's user avatar
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19 votes
5 answers
10k views

How are cruise missiles different from ballistic missiles?

Cruise missiles and ballistic missiles are used by many nations as offensive and defensive technology. How do cruise missiles and ballistic missiles maneuver, and what are the differences between the ...
Victor Juliet's user avatar
19 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the purpose of these odd "control surfaces" on the BAE Taranis?

I was looking at a video of the BAE Taranis, and noticed these weird control surfaces: There is a matching pair on the underside. They don't seem to move at all throughout the video, even on landing, ...
0xDBFB7's user avatar
  • 322
18 votes
3 answers
6k views

How do elevons work to roll a flying wing?

I have an RC Flying Wing that uses elevons for control. To go up both elevons move upwards and the wing pitches up. Both go down and the wing pitches down. I’m OK with this. However, if I want to ...
hydev's user avatar
  • 283
16 votes
6 answers
4k views

Can an airplane fly with on-off control surfaces?

I understand that, at least for remote-controlled model planes, the control surfaces can point to a range of angles, say, from $-30^\circ$ degrees to $30^\circ$. My questions are: Would the same ...
student1's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the purpose of this aileron trailing edge strip?

See the following photos of the LH aileron of a Beechcraft King Air B200: Source: own work Source: own work As seen in the above photos, the Beechcraft King Air B200 has what I would describe as a ...
J W's user avatar
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16 votes
0 answers
905 views

What causes the "dead band" phenomenon during takeoff on the Boeing 737?

During takeoff, the Boeing 737 encounters a distinctive "dead band" phenomenon after the initial pitch reaches approximately 10 degrees. Essentially, a slight increase in back pressure is ...
tedioustortoise's user avatar
14 votes
5 answers
6k views

Do fighter jets use elevators as ailerons?

I saw jets in game using elevators to roll right and left, but I never saw them doing in real life. I was wondering if fighter jets actually use elevator to roll like they do in game.
Jinsung Kim's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why are the grid fins on Starship pointy and sharp?

The grid fins on Starship are serrated, why? Does it help in transonic maneuvers? Source: Starbase Factory Tour with Elon Musk [Part 1], YouTube, at 30:28
Pioneer's user avatar
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14 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why do aircraft have a crossover airspeed, and why does it increase at higher vertical load factors?

According to the NTSB accident report on the crash of USAir Flight 427, all commercial aircraft have a crossover speed (the speed at which the maximum rolling force from the aircraft’s ailerons and ...
Vikki's user avatar
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13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Do jackscrews suffer from blowdown?

With hydraulic control surfaces, at high airspeeds, there is a point where aerodynamic loads exceed the capability of the actuators. This limits control authority and can result in the control surface ...
TomMcW's user avatar
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13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why are the red/white control surfaces under the wing extended during a take off?

These pictures are more than a little dated as the CF-101 Voodoo's have not been flown since the mid 80's. In these two photos we can see the Voodoo is performing a full afterburner take off. Note ...
Forward Ed's user avatar
13 votes
8 answers
8k views

Can all airliners be turned without rudder input?

Is it possible for pilots to make a right or left turn, using just the ailerons and without rudder input in all airliners? If not why so, for what reason?
securitydude5's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

How are control surface problems in wings having high bending dealt with?

In some aircraft which have large wing deflection due to bending, do ailerons or flaps not get stuck or bent themselves? In the case where hinging axis is also bent how do ailerons operate?
Mridul's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
11k views

What are the pros and cons of having canard control surfaces versus a horizontal tail control surface?

For a normal civil aviation aircraft, what are the pros and cons of having Canard control surfaces or horizontal tail control surface?
Victor Juliet's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
4k views

Why isn't the rudder below the tail?

Most airplanes have a rudder on top of the tail. When it is turned to the left, it causes the plane to yaw to the left. But it also puts a roll force to the right, because it is usually above the ...
Lycodo's user avatar
  • 123
12 votes
2 answers
10k views

Are the functions of ailerons and rudder similar?

The ailerons help the plane to bank left/right by increasing lift to one wing and decreasing in another. Likewise, the rudder also helps in turning the plane by yawing and deflecting the nose right/...
Dwiparna Datta's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

How does flight control surface authority change with AOA?

I am working on semi-realistic (let's just call it "believable") flight simulation component set for a game engine. One of the topics that I tried to research but could not find reliable information ...
IKA's user avatar
  • 223
12 votes
1 answer
3k views

Does the B-1B Lancer have controllable canards?

These three pictures shows the B-1B Lancer's canards and its elevators. I am not sure to call that feature a canard as the jet also has elevators. In my limited understanding, canard and elevator are ...
AirCraft Lover's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why do the ailerons of this flying wing work oppositely compared to those of an airplane?

I made this simple wing glider and put some ailerons on it. I thought that the ailerons in this glider would work the same way it works on airplanes, wherein the roll will be in the direction of the ...
Adriel Mattheuz Estolano's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
2k views

What aircraft had the first pilot-assisted controls?

This question about regulations regarding hydraulic flight controls got me thinking about the history of hydraulic or pilot-assisted controls. As aircraft get larger the control surfaces must grow ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
575 views

What are these blades on the engine cowling of a Wittman Tailwind?

The Florida Air Museum in Lakeland has a Wittman W-8 Tailwind with four wooden, propeller-like blades on the engine cowling: Source: own work What are the blades for? It's an experimental aircraft ...
Pondlife's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
1k views

Do aircraft using only spoilerons for roll control, with no conventional ailerons, have a crossover airspeed?

Airplanes generally have a crossover airspeed (a minimum airspeed below which directional control of the airplane cannot be maintained in the event of a rudder hardover). This is because, as airspeed ...
Vikki's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
2k views

How exactly do the Beechcraft 1900's stabilons work?

The Beechcraft 1900, in addition to the usual wings and vertical and horizontal stabilizers, and the extra vertical tail surfaces added for improved directional stability, has a pair of horizontal ...
Vikki's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
1k views

Has anyone researched or built an aircraft that controls pitch and roll by pumping liquid within the airframe?

I am confident I have seen an article couple years ago about a "static surface aircraft" (or at least a concept of it) with no control surfaces, which uses a "wet mass" to adjust its roll and pitch. ...
FlegmatoidZoid's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is the location of an aircraft spoiler really that vital?

I was wondering that spoilers in most of the aircraft are always placed aft (towards the tail) the CG location. Why aren't they placed ahead of the wings or near the nose of the aircraft? The same is ...
CuthillMckee's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why do gliders have bungee cords in the control systems and what do they do? Are they on all control surfaces? What about ultralights?

Why do gliders have bungee cords in the control systems and what do they do? Are they on all control surfaces? Why don't ultralights have them?
Fred's user avatar
  • 1,507
10 votes
2 answers
7k views

How is pitch controlled in a flying wing?

How do delta wing or flying wing aircraft maintain their pitch attitude in the absence of an elevator? I understand that the ailerons on the wings do control the banking/roll, but they are ...
Romi's user avatar
  • 103
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Can the MH-60 helicopter fly without one or all of the stabilators?

The MH-60R helicopter has a horizontal Stabilator that consists of three subassemblies, RH Stabilator, LH Stabilator, and Center Stabilator. Can the aircraft fly without the RH Stabilator? Can the ...
Steven's user avatar
  • 101
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Will control surfaces on a plane be less efficient at a higher altitude?

I may be wrong but I learned that control surfaces depends on the air flow to work properly, and that airliners have a higher cruise altitude because of the less dense atmosphere, improving the fuel ...
Gabriel Brito's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
674 views

How long does it take on average for a control surface to deflect by one degree?

I know this should vary quite a bit (because of aircraft size / use / build / actuation / control surface weight), but I was wondering if anyone here could ball-park some numbers on how long it would ...
simulation_guy's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
13k views

How does trim work on an A320?

In the very interesting answer from Jan Hudec to a question about the various flight control computers on Airbus planes, two different means to trim the aircraft are mentioned: The stabiliser and the ...
Monolo's user avatar
  • 1,687
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why do some Mach trimmers move the elevator?

A pop-up rod on a the FO's control column on a DC-9 that shows the Mach trim position. (YouTube) Regarding the title, I'm not sure if it's just some or all jetliners (I tried to research it). On the ...
user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
2k views

Is a monobloc variable incidence wing viable (updated)?

Could this be a viable way to control roll on an aerobatic airplane, using some sort of tab to control a monobloc variable incidence wing? Both wings are mechanically linked together in order to only ...
user avatar
9 votes
4 answers
3k views

Under what circumstances does the F-16 and possibly similar fighters deploy leading edge slats?

What does the F-16 (perhaps other fighters as well) use to decide when to deploy leading edge flaps? I would assume angle of attack, airspeed, stick deflection, or some combination of the three, are ...
MD88Fan's user avatar
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9 votes
6 answers
2k views

Can flaps be used to perform rotation and flare?

TL; DR using flaps to directly control sink/climb rate near ground = simpler and faster response = easy to fly airplane? Rotating is the pitch up during takeoff that causes the aircraft to leave the ...
Abdullah is not an Amalekite's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why is the tail group of virtually every airplane swept instead of straight?

Even low performance airplanes like ultralights have their tail group (vertical and horizontal stabilizer with rudder and elevator) swept backwards knowing fully well that a straight tail group will ...
David Teahay's user avatar
  • 2,885
9 votes
2 answers
720 views

Why were the ailerons of the Fokker Dr. I (Red Baron) located on the top wing?

Photos' source are here: Fokker Dr. I (Red Baron), and here: a Sopwith triplane. They are probably not the actual airplane but only (claimed) authentic models. It makes sense to me that the Sopwith ...
AirCraft Lover's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
4k views

What are advantages and disadvantages of flaperons?

What are some advantages and disadvantages of flaperons? Do they cause some issues or are they top-notch reliable?
Joelthepilot's user avatar
8 votes
5 answers
6k views

Why don't commercial aircraft use all-movable tail surfaces like my RC plane? [duplicate]

Many conventional RC planes use control surfaces at the tail just like the image below: You can see there is a part in front of each surface control that never moves and only the surface control ...
amandanovaes's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
7k views

How are flaps controlled?

I can understand what function(s) the flaps serve, but how are they controlled from an internal perspective? Does flipping the switch send signals to an electrical servo? Or is it hydraulics? How are ...
user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do X-shaped control surfaces work?

I watched this video of the Raytheon SDB II and noticed that it seems to have no control surfaces on its wings, just the four fins on the tail. How do these fins work to alter the attitude of the SDB ...
Sean Duffy's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
816 views

Has the Boeing 737 MAX MCAS system successfully prevented a stall or approach to stall condition outside testing?

The Boeing 737 MAX MCAS system has been in the press a lot as it has been implicated as a possible cause of 2 fatal crashes. The MCAS system was put in to prevent a wing stall caused by excessive ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Do modern airplane controls provide force feedback of external forces on the control surfaces?

As I was sitting inside the cockpit of an old AN-26 at the aviation museum, long grounded and no longer flightworthy, sudden gusts of wind outside would sometimes move the control surfaces and make ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 1,327
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

In missiles, what actuators are used for the control surfaces?

In a normal airplane, hydraulics or even cable-pulled systems are used to power the control surfaces. In a missile, that seems infeasible. What device is used to move the control surfaces, and where ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 17.7k
8 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why does the Eurofighter Typhoon have a long arm canard versus the close coupled canard of the Dassault's Rafale or the JAS-39 Gripen?

The Rafale and the Gripen are quite similar but the Eurofighter Typhoon has the canards far forward. I've been told that this was due to the shape of the air intake. Apparently the Typhoon's air ...
O'Terror's user avatar
  • 1,383
8 votes
2 answers
872 views

How does a self-centering rudder affect left-turning tendency?

In this answer to a question about controls, Peter Kämpf mentions the Klemm 35: ...the rudder has two narrow strips which are deflected slightly to the left and the right, respectively. This ...
Dan Hulme's user avatar
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