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Encyclopedia > Vertical stabilizer

The vertical stabilizer or fin of an aircraft is found on its tail, generally pointing straight upward. It is also known as the vertical tail, and is part of an aircraft's empennage. The trailing end of the stabilizer is typically movable, and called the rudder; this allows the aircraft to yaw. Often navigational radios have their antennas placed on or in the vertical tail. In some aircraft, the vertical stabilizer houses an engine; the Lockheed L-1011, McDonnell Douglas DC-10, McDonnell Douglas MD-11, Boeing 727, Tupolev Tu-154, and the Yakovlev Yak-40 are all examples of this arrangement. A Japan Airlines Boeing 747-400. ... The word tail in the English language has a number of meanings: Tail (anatomy) is used to describe the rear end of an animals body, especially when it forms a distinct, flexible appendage to the trunk; Tail can describe anything like an animals tail in form or position... Empennage is an aviation term used to describe the tail portion of an aircraft. ... The worlds oldest depiction of a rudder. ... Yaw or Yam is the name for the Levantine god of chaos and the power of the untamed sea as found in texts from the ancient city of Ugarit. ... Radio navigation is the application of radio frequencies to determining a position on the earth. ... A Yagi-Uda antenna An antenna or aerial is an electronic component designed to transmit or receive radio waves. ... Orbital Sciences Stargazer Lockheed L-1011 aircraft which was modified in Cambridge, UK, by Marshall Aerospace The Lockheed L-1011 TriStar was the third widebody passenger jet airliner to reach the marketplace, following the Boeing 747 and the Douglas DC-10. ... Ghana Airways McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 is a three-engined long-range airliner, with two engines mounted on underwing pylons and a third engine at the base of the vertical stabilizer. ... Varig MD-11 The McDonnell Douglas MD-11 is a Widebody Trijet powered by three engines. ... Sun Country Airlines B727-200 The Boeing 727 is a large, single-aisle (narrow-body) commercial jet airliner carrying as many as 189 passengers. ... Overhead view of Tu-154 airliner, operated by Aeroflot at Moscow airport. ... Yakovlev Yak-40 Jak-40 Yak-40 as business jet The Yakovlev Yak-40 is a small, three-engined regional transport aircraft. ...


Types of vertical stabilizers

Conventional tail

The tail is configured vertically, and the horizontal stabilizer is directly to the empennage. The Lockheed L-188 Electra is a typical exponent of this configuration. The tail of a Lufthansa airliner (Airbus A319) in flight, showing the horizontal and vertical stabilizer Mathematics: see Group action. ... The Lockheed L-188 Electra first flew in 1957, and was the first turboprop airliner built in the USA. It delivered performance only slightly inferior to that of a full jet aircraft, at a lower operating cost. ...


The horizontal stabilizer is mounted at the top of the tail. In this case, the vertical stabilizer must accommodate the controls and motors for pitch and trim. It is commonly seen on rear-engine aircraft, such as the Boeing 727. In aircraft a T-tail is an arrangement of the tail control surfaces with the horizontal surfaces (tailplane and elevators) mounted to the top of the fin, rather than the more common location on the fuselage at the base of the fin. ... The word trim can mean: Adjustment of sails on a ship or boat. ... Sun Country Airlines B727-200 The Boeing 727 is a large, single-aisle (narrow-body) commercial jet airliner carrying as many as 189 passengers. ...

Cruciform tail

Arranged like a cross, the horizontal stabilizer intersects the vertical tail somewhere near the middle. The PBY Catalina uses this configuration. The cruciform tail is an aircraft empennage configuration that, viewed edge-on, looks much like a cross. ... PBY Catalina was the US Navy designation for an American and Canadian-built flying boat of the 1930s and 1940s. ...

Twin tail

Rather than a single vertical stabilizer, there are two. These are vertically arranged, and intersect or are mounted to the ends of the horizontal stabilizer. The Beechcraft Model 18 uses this configuration. A twin tail is a specific type of vertical stabilizer arrangement found on some aircraft. ... The Beechcraft Model 18 was a small six to eleven place, all metal, aircraft manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Witchita, Kansas. ...

Triple tail

A variation on the twin tail, it has three vertical stabilizers. The best example of this configuration is the Lockheed Constellation. On the Constellation it was done to give the airplane maximum vertical stabilizer area, but keep the overall height low enough so that it could fit into maintenance hangars. Lockheed L-049 Constellation TWA was one of the best-known Constellation operators. ... Hangars can be used to hold airplanes, airships and helicopters. ...


A V-tail has no distinct vertical or horizontal stabilizers. Rather, they are merged into control surfaces known as ruddervators which control both pitch and yaw. The arrangement looks like a V, and is also known as a butterfly tail. The Beechcraft Bonanza Model 35 uses this configuration. check out http://telecomm1.blogspot.com The V-tail of a Belgian Air Force Fouga Magister In aircraft, a V-tail (sometimes called a butterfly tail) is an unconventional arrangement of the tail control surfaces that replaces the traditional fin and horizontal surfaces with two surfaces set in a V-shaped configuration when viewed from the... A glossary of terms used in relation to aircraft, in alphabetical order. ... An early model 35 V-tail Bonanza, very similiar to the aircraft Holly, Valens and Richardson died in. ...

  Results from FactBites:
Tailplane surfaces (2362 words)
This longitudinal stabiliser is usually a small wing mounted so that the lift force acts in the opposite direction to the lift from the mainplane i.e.
The long established means is to use a fin, or vertical stabiliser, which has a symmetrical aerofoil section or just a flat plate, mounted at the rear of the aircraft and which applies a restoring moment to realign the longitudinal axis with the airflow.
The horizontal tail volume is the surface area of the horizontal stabiliser plus elevators multiplied by the length of the moment arm of the horizontal stabiliser measured from the wing MAC quarter chord to the horizontal tail MAC quarter chord.
Slip-turn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (108 words)
A slip-turn is a manoeuvre in which an aircraft turns using only the rudder.
In most aircraft, the presence of a fixed vertical stabiliser complicates the manoeuvre.
However, in those in which the whole of the vertical stabiliser comprises the rudder, such as the Fokker Dr.I triplane, the aircraft can be made to effectively skid in the horizontal plane, a technique employed by the German WWI ace Werner Voss to great effect.
  More results at FactBites »



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