7e72004
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"T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:04 am

I was thinking a little bit ago about the "T" tail and its history. Who was the first to build the "T" tail? Boeing with the 727 or Douglas with the DC-9? And is there any more of a benefit with a 727, 717 or DC-9 as opposed to the 737, A320, etc.?
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1337Delta764
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:06 am

A conventional tail probably won't work properly on aircraft with all of its engines rear-mounted, and a T-tail would look odd on an aircraft with wing-mounted engines IMO.
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7e72004
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:08 am

I mainly meant..why build the 727? or why build the DC-9?
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Leezyjet
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:11 am

Quoting 7E72004 (Thread starter):
Who was the first to build the "T" tail? Boeing with the 727 or Douglas with the DC-9?

IIRC this was the first T-tail jet a/c :-


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7e72004
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:14 am

Ok..then i guess neither boeing or douglas  Smile But that picture above is sure an ugly ass plane!!
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N328KF
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:31 am

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 1):
a T-tail would look odd on an aircraft with wing-mounted engines IMO.



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[Edited 2006-05-19 22:36:42]
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7e72004
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:33 am

I did not think of those...didn't the original 727 design have engines on the wings?
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avconsultant
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:35 am

Quoting 7E72004 (Reply 6):
I did not think of those...didn't the original 727 design have engines on the wings?

I thought the original design of the 757 had a T-tail with the 707/727/737 nose.
 
7e72004
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:37 am

Maybe you are right...i just remember reading some book and they had a "prototype" picture that looked very funky.
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Aeroflot777
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:38 am

The TU-134 first flew in 1962. So that was an early bird as well.


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Leezyjet
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:40 am

Quoting 7E72004 (Reply 4):
But that picture above is sure an ugly ass plane!!

Maybe not to your tastes, but that "ugly ass plane" brought a new generation of first's to the aviation industry.

Also if the UK Government had not insisted on the design being so specific to one airline (and same with the VC-10), then the aircraft industry could look very different today.

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Areopagus
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:48 am

Some older planes with T-tails include the Handley-Page Victor

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OV735
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 5:53 am

Quoting Leezyjet (Reply 3):

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the Sud Est SE-210 Caravelle the first T-tailer? The Caravelle made its maiden flight in the 1950s while the Trident only took to the air in 1962.
 
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 6:41 am

Quoting OV735 (Reply 12):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the Sud Est SE-210 Caravelle the first T-tailer?

But the Caravelle doesn't have a T-Tail, I think it barely rates as a cruciform tail.
 
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 6:47 am

Quoting ShowerOfSparks (Reply 13):
But the Caravelle doesn't have a T-Tail, I think it barely rates as a cruciform tail.

Hm. Good point. I guess it's a matter of interpretation. I've always thought of T-tail as a tail where the horizontal stabilizer is mounted on the tailfin, but I must say I don't know if that complies with official classification. So it might indeed not be a T-tailed aircraft. Mea culpa.

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N328KF
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 6:51 am

Quoting OV735 (Reply 14):
I've always thought of T-tail as a tail where the horizontal stabilizer is mounted on the tailfin, but I must say I don't know if that complies with official classification.

And all this time, I thought it meant "a tail that resembles a capital-letter T."
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dash80
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 7:04 am

Found this on http://www.hs121.org, a Trident preservation organization.

A drawing of an early trident version.

 
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yowza
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 7:09 am

Does the T-tail have any significant heavy lifting benefits over a conventional tail? The reason I ask is that a number of military heavy lift birds have this type of tail.

Also in terms of design philosophy why is it that a lot of Russian birds adopted this style, was it due to them favouring rear mounted engines?

YOWza
 
OV735
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 7:23 am

Quoting N328KF (Reply 15):
And all this time, I thought it meant "a tail that resembles a capital-letter T."

Well, my T's look like the Caravelle's tail. And yes, I have been told a number of times that my handwriting is illegible.  Silly

Quoting YOWza (Reply 17):
Also in terms of design philosophy why is it that a lot of Russian birds adopted this style, was it due to them favouring rear mounted engines?

I have heard that when Nikita Khruschev was visiting France in the very early 1960's, he flew there on a Tu-104 (where the engines are mounted in the wing root), and during his visit the French gave him a demo flight in a Caravelle. Khruschev was impressed by the low cabin noise in the French jet, compared to the Tu-104, resulting directly from the fact that the engines were mounted in the rear of the plane.

As he went back home to Moscow, he wanted Tupolev to make a new and better version of the Tu-124 with rear-mounted engines. The result was the Tu-134.

Practically the only way to have rear-mounted engines is to also have a T-tail, which the Tu-134 got. I guess Tupolev (and Ilyushin) saw it good and thus the later Il-62 and Tu-154 also had a T-tailed design.
 
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 7:24 am

Aircraft with a T-tail generally have a high wing or rear-mountend engines, so advantages must be related to that. I'm sure it has been discussed here.

As well as the Javelin, a few other fighers had a T-tail.

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A disadvantage was blanking out the airflow over the tailplane at high angles of attack. The proposed Starfighter successor, the Lancer, had a low tail.

The Sabreliner has rear-mounted engines and a low tail.

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mandargb
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 7:30 am

I think the problem was engine mounting on the wing was not all that sophisticated.
So they (HS Trident, TUs, ILs, DC-9s, and boeing) etc ended up mounting engines on the body. And the best place was near the rear end.
With that engine bulk there they had to make the tail as "T".
T tail I think has some disadvantage in the landing configuration that the low air flow over the control surfaces on the tail (vertical stabilizer) can be a problem.
This is because the whole body of the plane kind of in the front of the T tail in this configuration now blocks in this configuration.
(Read threads on 727 landing and some accident reposrs)
 
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FlyCaledonian
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 7:50 am

What about the might VC-10. A more beautiful T-tail you will struggle to find.


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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 2:15 pm

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 1):
a T-tail would look odd on an aircraft with wing-mounted engines IMO.

It can be!!

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Alias1024
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 2:28 pm

Quoting YOWza (Reply 17):
Also in terms of design philosophy why is it that a lot of Russian birds adopted this style, was it due to them favouring rear mounted engines?

The Russians designed their aircraft to be rugged, and be able to operate out of some pretty basic airstrips, including gravel runways. Putting the engines up on the tail reduced the chances of sucking debris into the engines.
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 3:50 pm

Quoting OV735 (Reply 18):
The result was the Tu-134.



Quoting Alias1024 (Reply 23):
The Russians designed their aircraft to be rugged

Both great tidbits, thanks guys.

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TheCheese
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 4:12 pm

T-tails are a benefit to some designs, because they keep the horizontal control surface well away from the wing's lift-shadow at low angles-of-attack during climb operations.

On aircraft with aft-mounted engines, the T-tail also gets the horizontal control surfaces away from the engines.

Also (at least for the 727) a T-tail lengthens the aircraft, increasing lattitude for load-and-balance.
 
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LTU932
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 4:19 pm

Quoting 7E72004 (Reply 6):
I did not think of those...didn't the original 727 design have engines on the wings?

No, it was one of the original 757 designs that had a T-Tail. Does anyone have a picture of that T-Tail 757 design?
 
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 7:52 pm

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 1):
a T-tail would look odd on an aircraft with wing-mounted engines IMO.

Looks okay to me!


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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sat May 20, 2006 9:49 pm

Quoting Skydrol (Reply 22):
When in doubt, try a little of everything:

Thanks for the laugh!  Smile

Quoting 7E72004 (Reply 4):
But that picture above is sure an ugly ass plane!!

Ouch!

Quoting Leezyjet (Reply 10):
Maybe not to your tastes, but that "ugly ass plane" brought a new generation of first's to the aviation industry

Exactly! Tis all in the eye of the beholder! I can't imagine what you would think of its unique landing gear configuration  Smile

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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sun May 21, 2006 12:16 am

Quoting 7E72004 (Thread starter):
is there any more of a benefit with a 727, 717 or DC-9 as opposed to the 737, A320, etc.?

This is what I found on Wikepedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-tail

There are pros and cons to this arrangement.

Pros
The tailplane surfaces are kept well out of the airflow behind the wing, giving smoother flow, more predictable design characteristics, and better pitch control. This is especially important for planes operating at low speed, where clean airflow is required for control. deHavilland Canada's line of larger STOL aircraft all use this arrangement for this reason.
The effective distance between wing and tailplane can be increased without a significant increase in the weight of the aircraft. The distance between the two planes gives the "leverage" by which the tailplane can control the aircraft's pitch attitude - with a greater distance, smaller, lighter tailplanes and elevators can be used.
The tail surfaces are mounted well out of the way of the rear fuselage, permitting this site to be used for the aircraft's engines. This is why the T-tail arrangement is also commonly found on airliners with rear-mounted engines. The Douglas DC-9, Boeing 727, Vickers VC-10, Hawker-Siddeley Trident and BAC 1-11 all used the T-tail for this reason.

Cons
The aircraft will tend to be much more prone to a dangerous deep stall condition, where blanking of the airflow over the tailplane and elevators by a stalled wing can lead to total loss of pitch control.
For similar reasons, T-tailed aircraft can be much more difficult to recover from a fully-developed spin.
The fin must be made considerably stronger and stiffer to support the forces generated by the tailplane. This inevitably makes it heavier as well.
The control runs to the elevators are more complex.
The elevator surfaces are much more difficult to casually inspect from the ground.
In aircraft fitted with an ejector seat and a T-tail, F-104 Starfighter, there were (mostly unfounded) concerns about being able to clear the tail. Though it presents obvious problems in low-altitude escapes, the solution adopted was a downward-firing ejection seat.
A compromise is also possible, with the tailplane mounted part way up the fin rather than right at the top. The Sud Aviation Caravelle is an aircraft with this configuration
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KevinBG
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sun May 21, 2006 12:34 am

Quoting AvConsultant (Reply 7):
I thought the original design of the 757 had a T-tail with the 707/727/737 nose.

I worked for Boeing(in Everett) on the 767 program in the late 70's. The original 767 and 757 design did have "T" tails.

The idea was that they'd use the 727 design and tooling. The "T" tail design was dropped not too long after 767 program launch(June 78) because they couldn't actually use the 727 design, and the "T" tail made the plane heavier, longer and more costly to build.
 
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sun May 21, 2006 12:38 am

The Trident may have been a classic, but that nosewheel configuration looks ridiculous.
 
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sun May 21, 2006 12:40 am

Quoting YOWza (Reply 17):
Does the T-tail have any significant heavy lifting benefits over a conventional tail? The reason I ask is that a number of military heavy lift birds have this type of tail.

My guess is that it has something to do with rear loading, it keeps the horizontal stabilizer out of the way of being potentially damaged during loading/unloading operations.

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 1):
a T-tail would look odd on an aircraft with wing-mounted engines IMO.

How about with a nose-mounted engine  Smile

I own such an aircraft, a Beech Skipper. Frankly I'm not a big fan of T-tails on GA aircraft. On my Skipper, there's no propwash over the horizontal stabilizer so the tail only becomes effective at about 45-50 knots or so. This makes it tough to relieve nosewheel pressure during soft field ops. I also own a Beech Sundowner and even though my Skipper is a nice little airplane (also has better avionics, lower time, better economics, nicer panel), the Sundowner just flies much nicer. It doesn't have a T-tail but it has a all flying tail (stabilator) like an L1011, which has its own set of pros and cons (Cherokees have this design as well).

Beech.
 
sphealey
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sun May 21, 2006 1:07 am

I have read in many sources that an additional factor was that Juan Trippe thought T-tails looked cool, and pressured both Boeing and Douglas to use them wherever possible. Not something you will find in any engineering analysis, and possibly just a hanger story, but given the history it sounds plausible.

sPh
 
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sun May 21, 2006 1:29 am

Quoting BeechNut (Reply 32):
How about with a nose-mounted engine

Here ya go...


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Garri767
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sun May 21, 2006 3:05 am

This one has to be high on the list -
 Wink

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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sun May 21, 2006 3:23 am

Quoting ShowerOfSparks (Reply 13):
But the Caravelle doesn't have a T-Tail, I think it barely rates as a cruciform tail.

Its called a "Mid-Mounted" tail.


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Leezyjet
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sun May 21, 2006 4:39 am

Quoting OV735 (Reply 12):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the Sud Est SE-210 Caravelle the first T-tailer? The Caravelle made its maiden flight in the 1950s while the Trident only took to the air in 1962.

I did think about the Caravelle, but then decided that it wasn't a true T-tail in the context of this thread.

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DeltaRules
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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sun May 21, 2006 12:40 pm

Two more T-tails with wing mounted engines:

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RE: "T" Tail Questions

Sun May 21, 2006 12:54 pm

If I remember correctly, the first time they discovered the problem with deep stall on a T-tail plane was during a high angle-of-attack test with the BAC 111 prototype, which cause the plane to violently stall and crash, killing the flight test crew. That was why the British CAA required the installation of a "stick shaker" to warn the pilot of too high AOA flight and also automatically lower the nose of the plane to prevent that violent stall, something that was also fitted to the 727.