Monday, November 30, 2009

Ailerons control

Ailerons control roll about the longitudinal axis. The ailerons are attached to the outboard trailing edge of each wing and move in the opposite direction from each other. Ailerons are connected by cables, bell cranks, pulleys and/or push-pull tubes to a control wheel or control stick.

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.

Flight Control Systems

Aircraft flight control systems consist of primary and secondary systems. The ailerons, elevator (or stabilator), and rudder constitute the primary control system and are required to control an aircraft safely during flight. Wing flaps, leading edge devices, spoilers, and trim systems constitute the secondary control system and improve the performance characteristics of the airplane or relieve the pilot of excessive control forces.

Introduction to Flight Controls

This chapter focuses on the flight control systems a pilot uses to control the forces of flight, and the aircraft’s direction and attitude. It should be noted that flight control systems and characteristics can vary greatly depending on the type of aircraft flown. The most basic flight control system designs are mechanical and date back to early aircraft. They operate with a collection of mechanical parts such as rods, cables, pulleys, and sometimes chains to transmit the forces of the flight deck controls to the control surfaces. Mechanical flight control systems are still used today in small general and sport category aircraft where the aerodynamic forces are not excessive. [Figure 5-1]

Sunday, November 22, 2009

High Speed Flight Controls

On high-speed aircraft, flight controls are divided into primary flight controls and secondary or auxiliary flight controls. The primary flight controls maneuver the aircraft about the pitch, roll, and yaw axes. They include the ailerons, elevator, and rudder. Secondary or auxiliary flight controls include tabs, leading edge flaps, trailing edge flaps, spoilers, and slats.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Function of Mach Buffet Boundaries

Mach buffet is a function of the speed of the airflow over the wing—not necessarily the speed of the aircraft. Any time that too great a lift demand is made on the wing, whether from too fast airspeed or from too high an AOA near the MMO, the “high-speed” buffet occurs. There are also occasions when the buffet can be experienced at much lower speeds known as the “low-speed Mach buffet.”

Sweepback Effect

Most of the difficulties of transonic flight are associated with shock wave induced flow separation. Therefore, any means of delaying or alleviating the shock induced separation improves aerodynamic performance. One method is wing sweepback. Sweepback theory is based upon the concept that it is only the component of the airflow perpendicular to the leading edge of the wing that affects pressure distribution and formation of shock waves. [Figure 4-60]

Airplane Shock Waves

When an airplane flies at subsonic speeds, the air ahead is “warned” of the airplane’s coming by a pressure change transmitted ahead of the airplane at the speed of sound. Because of this warning, the air begins to move aside before the airplane arrives and is prepared to let it pass easily. When the airplane’s speed reaches the speed of sound, the pressure change can no longer warn the air ahead because the airplane is keeping up with its own pressure waves. Rather, the air particles pile up in front of the airplane causing a sharp decrease in the flow velocity directly in front of the airplane with a corresponding increase in air pressure and density.

Boundary Layer Law

The viscous nature of airflow reduces the local velocities on a surface and is responsible for skin friction. As discussed earlier in the chapter, the layer of air over the wing’s surface that is slowed down or stopped by viscosity, is the boundary layer. There are two different types of boundary layer flow: laminar and turbulent.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mach Number Versus Airspeed

It is important to understand how airspeed varies with Mach number. As an example, consider how the stall speed of a jet transport aircraft varies with an increase in altitude. The increase in altitude results in a corresponding drop in air density and outside temperature. Suppose this jet transport is in the clean configuration (gear and flaps up) and weighs 550,000 pounds. The aircraft might stall at approximately 152 KCAS at sea level. This is equal to (on a standard day) a

High Speed Flight: Subsonic Versus Supersonic Flow

In subsonic aerodynamics, the theory of lift is based upon the forces generated on a body and a moving gas (air) in which it is immersed. At speeds of approximately 260 knots, air can be considered incompressible in that, at a fixed altitude, its density remains nearly constant while its pressure varies. Under this assumption, air acts the same as water and is classified as a fluid. Subsonic aerodynamic theory also assumes the effects of viscosity (the property of a fluid that tends to prevent motion of one part of the fluid with respect to another) are negligible, and classifies air as an ideal fluid, conforming to the principles of ideal-fluid aerodynamics such as continuity, Bernoulli’s principle, and circulation.

High Speed Flight: Speed Ranges

The speed of sound varies with temperature. Under standard temperature conditions of 15 °C, the speed of sound at sea level is 661 knots. At 40,000 feet, where the temperature is –55 °C, the speed of sound decreases to 574 knots. In high-speed flight and/or high-altitude flight, the measurement of speed is expressed in terms of a “Mach number”—the ratio of the true airspeed of the aircraft to the speed of sound in the same atmospheric conditions. An aircraft traveling at the speed of sound is traveling at Mach 1.0. Aircraft speed regimes are defined approximately as follows:

Effect of Load Distribution

The effect of the position of the CG on the load imposed on an aircraft’s wing in flight is significant to climb and with aft loading and “nose-down” trim, the tail surfaces exert less down load, relieving the wing of that much wing loading and lift required to maintain altitude. The required AOA of the wing is less, so the drag is less, allowing for a faster cruise speed. Theoretically, a neutral load on the tail surfaces in cruising flight would produce the most efficient overall performance and fastest cruising speed, but it would also result in instability. Modern aircraft are designed to require a down load on the tail for stability and controllability.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Effect of Weight on Stability and Controllability

Overloading also affects stability. An aircraft that is stable and controllable when loaded normally may have very different flight characteristics when overloaded. Although the distribution of weight has the most direct effect on this, an increase in the aircraft’s gross weight may be expected to have an adverse effect on stability, regardless of location of the CG. The stability of many certificated aircraft is completely unsatisfactory if the gross weight is exceeded.

Effect of Weight on Aircraft Structure

The effect of additional weight on the wing structure of an aircraft is not readily apparent. Airworthiness requirements prescribe that the structure of an aircraft certificated in the normal category (in which acrobatics are prohibited) must be strong enough to withstand a load factor of 3.8 Gs to take care of dynamic loads caused by maneuvering and gusts. This means that the primary structure of the aircraft can withstand a load of 3.8 times the approved gross weight of the aircraft without structural failure occurring. If this is accepted as indicative of the load factors that may be imposed during operations for which the aircraft is intended, a 100-pound overload imposes a potential structural overload of 380 pounds. The same consideration is even more impressive in the case of utility and acrobatic category aircraft, which have load factor requirements of 4.4 and 6.0, respectively.

Effect of Weight on Flight Performance

The takeoff/climb and landing performance of an aircraft are determined on the basis of its maximum allowable takeoff and landing weights. A heavier gross weight results in a longer takeoff run and shallower climb, and a faster touchdown speed and longer landing roll. Even a minor overload may make it impossible for the aircraft to clear an obstacle that normally would not be a problem during takeoff under more favorable conditions.

Forces in Descents

As in climbs, the forces which act on the aircraft go through definite changes when a descent is entered from straight-and-level flight. For the following example, the aircraft is descending at the same power as used in straight-and-level flight.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aircraft's Weight and Balance

The aircraft’s weight and balance data is important information for a pilot that must be frequently reevaluated. Although the aircraft was weighed during the certification process, this data is not valid indefinitely. Equipment changes or modifications affect the weight and balance data. Too often pilots reduce the aircraft weight and balance into a “rule of “If I have three passengers, I can load only fuel; four passengers, 70 gallons.”

Rate of Turn (ROT)

The rate of turn (ROT) is the number of degrees (expressed in degrees per second) of heading change that an aircraft makes. The ROT can be determined by taking the constant of 1,091, multiplying it by the tangent of any bank angle and dividing that product by a given airspeed in knots as illustrated in Figure 4-48. If the airspeed is increased and the ROT desired is to be constant, the angle of bank must be increased, otherwise, the ROT decreases. Likewise, if the airspeed is held constant, an aircraft’s ROT increases if the bank angle is increased. The formula in Figures 4-48 through 4-50 depicts the relationship between bank angle and airspeed as they affect the ROT.

Aircraft High Speed Stalls

The average light plane is not built to withstand the repeated application of load factors common to high speed stalls. The load factor necessary for these maneuvers produces a stress on the wings and tail structure, which does not leave a reasonable margin of safety in most light aircraft.

Load Factors and Flight Maneuvers

Critical load factors apply to all flight maneuvers except unaccelerated straight flight where a load factor of 1 G is always present. Certain maneuvers considered in this section are known to involve relatively high load factors.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Load Factors and Stalling Speeds

Any aircraft, within the limits of its structure, may be stalled at any airspeed. When a sufficiently high AOA is imposed, the smooth flow of air over an airfoil breaks up and separates, producing an abrupt change of flight characteristics and a sudden loss of lift, which results in a stall.

Load Factors in Steep Turns

In a constant altitude, coordinated turn in any aircraft, the load factor is the result of two forces: centrifugal force and gravity. [Figure 4-44] varies with the airspeed—the higher the speed, the slower the ROT. This compensates for added centrifugal force, allowing the load factor to remain the same.

Load Factors in Aircraft Design

The answer to the question “How strong should an aircraft be?” is determined largely by the use to which the aircraft is subjected. This is a difficult problem because the maximum possible loads are much too high for use in efficient design. It is true that any pilot can make a very hard landing or an extremely sharp pull up from a dive, which would result in abnormal loads. However, such extremely abnormal loads must be dismissed somewhat if aircraft are built that take off quickly, land slowly, and carry worthwhile payloads.

Load Factors in Aerodynamics

In aerodynamics, load factor is the ratio of the maximum load an aircraft can sustain to the gross weight of the aircraft. The load factor is measured in Gs (acceleration of gravity), a unit of force equal to the force exerted by gravity on a body at rest and indicates the force to which a body is subjected when it is accelerated. Any force applied to an aircraft to defiect its flight from a straight line produces a stress on its structure, and the amount of this force is the load factor. While a course in aerodynamics is not a prerequisite for obtaining a pilot’s license, the competent pilot should have a solid understanding of the forces that act on the aircraft, the advantageous use of these forces, and the operating limitations of the aircraft being flown.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Aircraft Torque Reaction

Torque reaction involves for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. As applied to the aircraft, this means that as the internal engine parts and propeller are revolving in one direction, an equal force is trying to rotate the aircraft in the opposite direction. [Figure 4-39]

The Aircraft Propeller Basic Principles

The aircraft propeller consists of two or more blades and a central hub to which the blades are attached. Each blade of an aircraft propeller is essentially a rotating wing. As a result of their construction, the propeller blades are like airfoils and produce forces that create the thrust to pull, or push, the aircraft through the air. The engine furnishes the power needed to rotate the propeller blades through the air at high speeds, and the propeller transforms the rotary power of the engine into forward thrust.

Torque and Propeller

To the pilot, “airplane) is made up of four elements which cause or produce a twisting or rotating motion around at least one of the airplane’s three axes. These four elements are:
1. Torque reaction from engine and propeller,
2. Corkscrewing effect of the slipstream,
3. Gyroscopic action of the propeller, and
4. Asymmetric loading of the propeller (P-factor).

An aircraft stall results from a rapid decrease in lift

An aircraft stall results from a rapid decrease in lift caused by the separation of airflow from the wing’s surface brought on by exceeding the critical AOA. A stall can occur at any pitch attitude or airspeed. Stalls are one of the most misunderstood areas of aerodynamics because pilots often believe an airfoil stops producing lift when it stalls. In a stall, the wing does not totally stop producing lift. Rather, it can not generate adequate lift to sustain level flight.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spiral Instability

Spiral instability exists when the static directional stability of the aircraft is very strong as compared to the effect of its dihedral in maintaining lateral equilibrium. When the lateral equilibrium of the aircraft is disturbed by a gust of air and a sideslip is introduced, the strong directional stability tends to yaw the nose into the resultant relative wind while the comparatively weak dihedral lags in restoring the lateral balance. Due to this yaw, the wing on the outside of the turning moment travels forward faster than the inside wing and, as a consequence, its lift becomes greater. This produces an overbanking tendency which, if not corrected by the pilot, results in the bank angle becoming steeper and steeper. At the same time, the strong directional stability that yaws the aircraft into the relative wind is actually forcing the nose to a lower pitch attitude. A slow downward spiral begins which, if not counteracted by the pilot, gradually increases into a steep spiral dive. Usually the rate of divergence in the spiral motion is so gradual the pilot can control the tendency without any difficulty.

Directional Oscillations (Dutch Roll)

Dutch roll is a coupled lateral/directional oscillation that is usually dynamically stable but is unsafe in an aircraft because of the oscillatory nature. The damping of the oscillatory mode may be weak or strong depending on the properties of the particular aircraft.

Aircraft Forces in Turns

If an aircraft were viewed in straight-and-level flight from the front [Figure 4-28], could be seen, lift and weight would be apparent: two forces. If the aircraft were in a bank it would be apparent that lift did not act directly opposite to the weight, rather it now acts in the direction of the bank. A basic truth about turns: when the aircraft banks, lift acts inward toward the center of the turn, as well as upward.