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Airliner Tail Stabilator Question.  
User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2991 times:

Hi guys.

With regards to airliner jets, including smaller regionals, I understand that most/a lot of these aircraft use a Stabilator to control pitch (the whole horizontal stabilizer moves, instead of just an elevator, that's attached to a fixed stabilizer).

I have a question. Do any of these airliners have stabilators that move independant of each other, just like those used on modern fighter jets?

I always find it quite a show to watch a fighter jet's stabilators moving individually during their flare before touchdown...especially if it's on an Aircraft Carrier.

If this is a feature on some airliners, I wouldn't think that the left and right stabs need to move as quick as a fighter jet's. I'm just wondering if this feature exsist's at all on airliner aircraft?

Chris  Smile









"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
25 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineEssentialPowr From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2816 times:

None that I'm aware of.

Independent actuation of the tail planes on tactical military a/c is a function of fly by wire, so the system has to be smart to begin with.

Among FBW airliners, I'm aware of none in which the left and right sides of the stab move independently in normal mode or even abnormal (not to be confused with the elevators, which can be split on many a/c in an abnormal situation).

There simply isn't the need for that much roll authority or redundancy due to battle damage on an airliner (hopefully never in the 2nd case) to necessitate the additional complexity, weight, etc.

Interesting question; the Boeing F18 website shows this well...

Cheers



User currently offlineTheairbusguy From France, joined Sep 2001, 37 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2799 times:


ugh???
on all liners, you will find a stabilizer AND elevators , never seen aircraft without elevator and only stabilizer to control pitch !


NO  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


User currently offlineEssentialPowr From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2795 times:

Neither of us said otherwise.

A "flying tail" is a movable stab w/ an elevator...A PA-28 has it, as do all airliners...

An F14/15/16/18/22, Mig29 etc just have a movable tailplane w/ no elevator.



User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2786 times:

Hi guys.

Thanks for your replies. I thought it was a long shot...about the possibility of the left and right stabs moving independently. However, I've learned so many things about airliners, since I've been in this forum, that really surprised me.

Question: Do all airliners have a horizontal stab, as well as an elevator? (meaning, NO single panel stabilators only, for pitch control), which is what Theairbusguy is saying.

I'm just trying not to get anyone confused. I think.

Chris  Smile




"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offlineEssentialPowr From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 2783 times:

I think he's trying to state that all airliners have a trimmable stabilizer, and elevators, which is a true statement.

It is aerodyanmically more "elegant" (ie less drag) to move a large surface a small amount, rather than moving a smaller surface a large amount.

For comparison, a C172 has a fixed tailplane combined w/ elevators largely b/c it's certainly a much simpler, lighter, and cheaper design that operates from 0 - 160kts or so. A modern airline is exponentially heavier, and faster, and must have a tailplane that can control the formation of a shock wave at high subsonic speeds.

If you can, read Chuck Yeager's books. He talks about the F86 as compared to the MIg 15. The F86 had a flying tail (movable tailplanes) the Mig didn't, only elevators. As the Mig approached sonic velocities, the formation of the shock wave "blanketed" the tail and rendered the elevators ineffective. Around .92 and higher, the Mig had little if any pitch control, which means it wasn't able to recover for a high speed dive, and was therefore limited to a Mmo around .84-.86. It was a great design to be sure, but they hadn't realized that a flying tail was nec. for high speed flight. The theory carries over to airliners.

Sorry for the dissertation.


User currently offlineXXXX10 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 777 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2754 times:

The Bae 146 has no movable stabiliser just elavators, not sure about the other regional jets

Also I don't think the elevators have hydraulic assistance


User currently offlineEssentialPowr From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2742 times:

How is the Avro trimmed for pitch?

User currently offlineAllisonTP From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 13 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2747 times:

The 146 has conventional trim and servo tabs on the elevators for pitch trim control and aerodynamic assistance. This may help.  Smile

AllisonTP


User currently offlineBlackbird From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2741 times:

The L-1011 has a stabilator.


The entire tail rotates, also mechanically-linked elevators exist for assistance.

For up elevator, the leading edge rotates down, the trailing edge goes up, at the same time, the elevators deflect up as well to produce more down-force and increase deflection.

The L-1011 was designed with a large amount of pitch control incase of a high-speed upset/jet-upset, or in the event of a mis-set trim. Even with full-down trim, you could still take off, to my knowledge, this is the only conventional airliner, that can take off like this. It would require considerable up-elevator to do it, but it can be done.

The Piper PA-28 Archer (many of you are aware of this one) has a stabilator. Very easy to control pitch with this design, very responsive, etc. The Cessna C-177 Cardinal also has a stabilator (actually there are two slots in the stabilator to increase airflow over the bottom so the tail doesn't stall on landing). I've never flown a Cardinal (about 150 of my 345.1 hrs were logged on the PA-28) so I don't know it's (The Cardinal) handling capabilities, but I'd bet that it would have a superb pitch control.

-Andrea Kamarov


User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2737 times:

Hello Blackbird.

Thanks for your reply. I had just finished a photo search of L-1011's for some follow-up questions, when I saw your post. You basically answered one of my questions, however, I believe you made a tiny mistake.

By looking at the photo's below of L-1011's during their T/O rotation, or flare while landing, it is so obvious that this airliner uses the "whole" horizontal stab for pitch control (a Stabilator), not just an elevator. We both agree on this.  Big thumbs up So I was going to ask if the elevator plays the part of a Trim Tab for the Stabilator during these phases of flight. You already answered this by mentioning that the L-1011's elevators aid the Stab's by deflecting "UP" to produce more down-force and increase deflection.

I believe the elevator would have to move DOWN, in order to help deflect the Stab's trailing edge upward, thus acting like a trim tab. (sorry Andrea, I don't mean to be picky).

Another question is: At high speed, do the stabilators remain level and only the elevators are used for pitch control? In other words, on an L-1011, do the elevators ever act like elevators, or are they simply large trim tabs for the stabilators? Plus...am I completely confused now???

Check out the Stabilator deflection in these photos.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Luís Padrão



Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Luis Rosa



Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Torsten Maiwald



Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Bo Kim



Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Craig Hendley



Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Don Boyd


Take Care.

Chris  Smile



"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offlineBlackbird From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2724 times:

Thanks for your reply. I had just finished a photo search of L-1011's for some follow-up questions, when I saw your post. You basically answered one of my questions, however, I believe you made a tiny mistake.

Oh really?

By looking at the photo's below of L-1011's during their T/O rotation, or flare while landing, it is so obvious that this airliner uses the "whole" horizontal stab for pitch control (a Stabilator), not just an elevator. We both agree on this. So I was going to ask if the elevator plays the part of a Trim Tab for the Stabilator during these phases of flight. You already answered this by mentioning that the L-1011's elevators aid the Stab's by deflecting "UP" to produce more down-force and increase deflection.

Exactly

I believe the elevator would have to move DOWN, in order to help deflect the Stab's trailing edge upward, thus acting like a trim tab. (sorry Andrea, I don't mean to be picky).

Nononononono... It's not a trim-tab, the mechanical links are NOT connected mechanically to the cockpit control-column; it's connected to the stab itself! As the tail's leading edge rotates down and the trailing edge rotates up, it sort of "pulls" the elevators up TOO. This is to produce even MORE deflective power than a standard elevator. It is NOT a trim tab. Think of an Stabilator with an conventional elevator ATTACHED. Wierd huh? But that's how it was designed-- to provide extra deflective power to pull the plane out of a high-speed upset, or a mis-set trim.

Another question is: At high speed, do the stabilators remain level and only the elevators are used for pitch control? In other words, on an L-1011, do the elevators ever act like elevators, or are they simply large trim tabs for the stabilators? Plus...am I completely confused now???

No, the stabilator works the same at high-speeds too. To correct for a high-speed/jet-upset, it would be kind of pointless to just use the elevators to do it when you spent all this time developing a stabilator to do it  Laugh out loud. You'd might as well go with elevators alone if you were going to do this LoL! No, the Stabilator is SPECIFICALLY designed for it's added ability to pull up under normally difficult, if not impossible circumstances The Mis-set trim thing is an added feature. Of course this doesn't mean you deliberately f-ck the trim up just to say "HEY! I can take off anyway, and you guys in the DC-10 CAN'T Na na na-na Nah!"  Laugh out loudD  Smile/happy/getting dizzy LoL.

-Andrea












User currently offlineEssentialPowr From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 2707 times:

I disagree w ALlisonTP and XXXx10, and believe the Avro/BAe146 has a trimmable stabilator like most, if not all other jet airliners.

Blackbird's post has a gross error; Spaceman's perceptions are correct. The L1011s pitch control system is not significantly different than any other airliner.

On the PA28's stabilator, the yoke moves the entire surface. Antiservo tabs move opposite the direction of the stabilator to decrease input forces required. Trimming this a/c is accomplished by changing the spring force on the anti servo tab. So far so good...

BUT from Blackbird's discussion...
"For up elevator, the leading edge rotates down, the trailing edge up, the elevators deflect up as well..." is a TOTAlly incorrect statement. For up elevator, ONly the ELEvator pivots, the stab is static unless one is simultaneously trimming it.

Stabs on transports (including the L1011) are driven via a jackscrew; it is a large surface that must overcome extremely large loads. It is not a "dynamic" surface like that of the PA28. The stab is NOT controlled by the yoke at all; it's controlled by the trim switches on the yoke. The stab only moves when the trim switch is activated or the autopilot trims it. That's why it's a "trim" and not a control. Pitch inputs from the yoke move the elevators only.

The whole design on a .85M jet is to enable the elevators to remain "faired" in the same plane as the stab (part of the large surface moving a tiny amount theory). Tabs on the elevators act as control or balance tabs (servo or anti servo) to enable the a/c to be controlled in the event of hydraulic loss. From a design and redundancy standpoint, the stab is way too large a component to be moved with anything other than a jack screw. The Alaska MD80 (87?) crashed b/c the screw was stripped, allowing the stab to flop uncontrollably. The yoke still controled the elevators, but there was simply not enough authority with the "dynamic" stab.

Cheers...


User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (12 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 2689 times:

Hi EssentialPowr.

You mentioned above that "the whole design on a .85M jet is to enable the elevators to remain "faired" in the same plane as the stab". Well, the photos I posted earlier, seem to support your statement. In every pix of the L-1011's during T/O and landing, the elevators appear to be completely neutral in position.

With all the earlier conversation about how the elevators work and when they're used, it seems like they're not used to much (if you look at the photos).

Also, I think XXXX10 and AllisonTP have it right about the Bae 146. If you look at these 3 photos...it sure looks to me like the horizontal stabilizer is fixed, and that the elevators control pitch (with the aid of a trim tab).


Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Walter Pietsch



Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Stefan Gruenig



Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Jordi Grifé



PS. Blackbird, Holy Smokes!!! Take it easy would ya. If someone in this forum says they believe you made a tiny mistake, you don't have to Bite their head off!!! Or ream them a new A-HOLE!!! (with the language YOU like to use in your posts, I'm sure I have'nt offended you). Take a Vallium! It's great that you're a pilot, but I sure hope you're NOT an instructor!!

Chris  Smile







"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offlineEssentialPowr From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2679 times:

I've asked Musang to confirm.

As you've stated, all the pics I've seen of the Avro in flight show the elevators faired very neatly. If the stab didn't trim, then naturally the elevators would have to be deflected in some of these cases. At any rate, all Boeing (including MDC) and Airbus products, the Lockheed 1011, Fokker 100, and ERJ/CRJ have a trimmable stab, as does the Metroliner, the list goes on.

If the Avro doesn't, that certainly runs counter to most designs, but if that's how they designed it, it must work well.


Cheers-



User currently offlineEssentialPowr From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2675 times:

Mr Spaceman,

Elevator deflection on the ground is probably not the best way to answer our question. The elevators can move if the gust lock is not applied, but it looks like maybe the gust lock, if applied, pulls the yoke aft.

Great discussion, not if we can just get a definitive answer!!
Cheers-


User currently offlineR4D-5 From Belgium, joined Sep 2001, 13 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 2654 times:

In "Jane's All the World a/c", the Bae 146 Srs 300 is said to have "Fixed incidence tailplane. Manually operated balanced elevators, each with trim and servo tab."
Regards


User currently offlineEssentialPowr From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 2653 times:

Thanks for the ref and clarification, R4D-5. Musang is an AVRO Capt, and answered this on another topic.

My apologies to XXXX10 and AllisonTP-

Cheers-


User currently offlineEssentialPowr From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 2648 times:

R4D-5,

How many other airliners are you aware of that don't have a trimmable stab? (I don't have a Jane's...)

thanks
EssentialPowr


User currently offline747Teach From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 176 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2648 times:

Spaceman: I've been reading the replies to your question about stabilators. To the point, I'm unaware of any heavy airliners that have horizontal stabilizers that operate independently left and right. I'd like to offer some clairfication about the L1011 pitch system, however. In the Lockheed maintenance manual, chapter 27 (flight controls), Description and Operation, the stabilizer is described as a "flying stabilizer" with a mechanically operated elevator. Pitch inputs go to linkage located at the left end (for the Captain) or right end (for the First Officer) of the series trim bar. This bar is located at the fuselage bulkhead below the stabilizer forward spar. Additional linkage (called the non-linearizer linkage) then sends inputs to the left or right stabilizer servo. As the pilot commands the stabilizer to move, the servo sends hydraulic pressure (left servo for A and B hydraulic system, right servo for C and D hydraulic system) to the four hydraulic actuators that move the forward spar of the stabilizer up and down. Four servo feedback pushrods follow the stabilizer motion, and allow the servo to "null" at the commanded point. Next to the left servo is the electrical feel/trim assembly, for electrical trim. It receives electrical commands from the flight deck, and signals the left servo to send hydraulic pressure to the actuators. Next to the right servo is the mechanical feel/trim assembly, which receives mechanical signals from the flight deck, and tells the right servo to send hydraulic pressure to the actuators. There are a number of other components that aid in positioning the stabilizer, such as the mach schedule coupler shaft, series trim output, etc., but they all have the job of telling the servos to send hydraulic pressure to the stabilizer actuators. There is no reference to any mechanical jackscrew anywhere I can find, nor do I remember ever seeing one anywhere inside the afterbody. In my viewpoint, this "flying stabilizer" system is substantially different than the more common jackkscrew-driven arrangement. The elevators are driven by a cable system. The end of the drive cable is attached to the afterbody structure, routes around the forward quadrant, aft to the aft drive quadrant, the back forward to the forward quadrant again, then to a separate attachment to the afterbody. As the stabilizer moves up and down, this cable system moves the aft drive quadrant, which then moves the elevators in proportion to the stabilizer movement. The left and right elevator each has its own cable system. This "flying stabilizer" system is why you notice the stabilizer displacement in the photos here. Hope this explanation isn't too complex, but it seemed there was some misunderstanding of how the pitch system works. Sincerely,

User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 20, posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2632 times:

Hello 747Teach.

Thanks for all your additional info. The time and effort you spent is much appreciated. Your explanation was well worded. I could visuallize the L-1011's "Flying Stabilizer" components from the cockpit to the tail section as you described them.

I understand that unlike most airliners, the L-1011 uses a Flying Stabilizer system (4 hydraulic actuators move the stabilizer), instead of the more common mechanical Jackscrew-Driven arrangment.

Take Care.

Chris  Smile








"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offlineEssentialPowr From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 1820 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 2613 times:

I stand corrected here as well. Thanks for the input; it appears the jackscrew mechanism is typically Boeing/McDonell.


cheers


User currently offline747Teach From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 176 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 2612 times:

Mr. Spaceman, a note regarding your interest in stabilizers. The Lockheed Jetstar had a somewhat unusual method of accomplishing horizontal stabilizer movement. On this aircraft, the horizontal stab is fixed to the vertical stabilizer. To change the angle of incidence of the horizontal stabilizer, the entire vertical stabilizer is pivoted on a hinge point at the bottom of the vertical stab. If I remember correctly, there is a jackscrew that attaches to the front spar of the vertical fin, and as that jackscrew turns in response to pilot commands, it drives the leading edge of the vertical fin up and down (or fore and aft, depending on how you look at it). As the vertical fin moves, this of course changes the angle of incidence of the horizontal stabilizer. The horizontal stab has conventional elevators for pitch control on the aft edge. It would appear that Lockheed had a rather different approach to pitch control. I will try to attach photo 162566 from the Airliner file here which shows a Jetstar in profile. Notice the unpainted area fore and aft along the side of the vertical fin, above and aft of the engines and below the horizontal stab. This is the area that slides in the fairing as the vertical fin moves. The pivot point is at about the center of this unpainted area. Thought you might find this interesting.
Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Pere Davesa

Regards.


User currently offline310_engineer From Belgium, joined Dec 2000, 165 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 2611 times:

That is very interesting, it's the first time I see or even hear about a system like that. Is there any special reason why Lockheed used a hor. stab like this? I think the "conventional" way that we proberly all know is much more simple then this one.

Thank's for the info 747Teach.
Regards
Mike


User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 24, posted (12 years 11 months 1 week 2 hours ago) and read 2612 times:

Hi 747Teach.

Yes sir, that's very interesting indeed. I never knew this about the JetStar, and I used to refuel one ever week or so, back in the early 90's.

When I was a Ramp Rat for SkyCharter (an FBO at Toronto's Pearson Intl-YYZ), there was a company that we serviced every week or two. They flew only 2 corporate business jets (that I knew of). One was the old Lockheed JetStar and the other was the old North American/Rockwell Sabreliner. These 2 old jets "cracked me up" when they were parked beside a G-IV, Challenger 601, Falcon 900 or a Lear 55. They were so unique! The Saberliner had Triangle windows, but the JetStar really took the cake with it's huge mid-span wing tanks, and it's double engines on each side. You could tell they were from the same era by looking at their cockpit windows. They both have small windows above the pilot's heads, like a DC-9. Man, I was always happy to see them.

I have some questions...On the JetStar, at what stage of flight would the horizontal stab's angle of incidence need to be change, if elevators controlled pitch? Was it for trimming the aircraft for level flight during cruise, so the elevators could remain neutral? Also, how did the pilots move the vertical stab from the cockpit? Did they use a trim wheel?

Here's some photo's of the JetStar showing her doubled engines, large mid-wing fuel tank, and the moveable vertical stab up close.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Dietmar Schreiber



Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © AirNikon


Here's some pic's of the Sabreliner. Check out the Triangle windows.

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © AirNikon



Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Jarrod Wilkening


Chris  Smile






"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
User currently offlineMr Spaceman From Canada, joined Mar 2001, 2787 posts, RR: 9
Reply 25, posted (12 years 11 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2586 times:

Hi guys.

> 747Teach, are you out there? I was hopeing to hear from you again, regarding my JetStar questions.

Perhaps this thread is Going...Going...going...Almost Gone!!!

Chris  Smile



"Just a minute while I re-invent myself"
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