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7.2.5: Lateral-directional stability and control

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    Consider again an aircraft in horizontal, steady, linear flight. Suppose in this case that the lateral-directional elements (vertical stabilizer, rudder, ailerons) do not produce forces nor moments, so that there not exists a primary problem of balancing (as there was in the longitudinal case) since we have a longitudinal plane of symmetry.

    In this case, the lateral-direction control surfaces (rudder and ailerons) fulfill a mission of secondary balancing since they are used when there exists an asymmetry (propulsive or aerodynamic). For instance, aircraft must be able to fly under engine failure, and thus the asymmetry must be compensated with the rudder. Another instance could be the landing operation under lateral wind, which must be also compensated with the rudder deflection. Notice that the center of gravity lays on the plane of symmetry, so that its position does not affect the lateral-directional control. Further mathematical analysis will be studied in posterior courses.

    7.2.5: Lateral-directional stability and control is shared under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Manuel Soler Arnedo via source content that was edited to conform to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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