Monday, November 30, 2009

Primary Flight Controls

Aircraft control systems are carefully designed to provide adequate responsiveness to control inputs while allowing a natural feel. At low airspeeds, the controls usually feel soft and sluggish, and the aircraft responds slowly to control applications. At higher airspeeds, the controls become increasingly firm and aircraft response is more rapid.

Movement of any of the three primaries flight control surfaces (ailerons, elevator or stabilator, or rudder), changes the airflow and pressure distribution over and around the airfoil. These changes affect the lift and drag produced by the airfoil/control surface combination, and allows a pilot to control the aircraft about its three axes of rotation.

Design features limit the amount of deflection of flight control surfaces. For example, control-stop mechanisms may be incorporated into the flight control linkages, or movement of the control column and/or rudder pedals may be limited. The purpose of these design limits is to prevent the pilot from inadvertently over controlling and overstressing the aircraft during normal maneuvers.

A properly designed airplane is stable and easily controlled during normal maneuvering. Control surface inputs cause movement about the three axes of rotation. The types of stability an airplane exhibits also relate to the three axes of rotation. [Figure 5-4]

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