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AERO2355 Systems Engineering 1

Aircraft Tail
Comes in many different
forms, but essentially there
is a horizontal and a vertical
Each also have control
Main purposes are to
provide longitudinal and
lateral stability and pitch
and directional control
Trim tabs are typically used
to trim the aircraft into a
steady flight condition

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Horizontal and Vertical tail

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Need to determine

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Forces and moments acting on aircraft in
body frame of reference

AERO2253 Aerospace Dynamics and Control 6

Aircraft Trim Requirements
Sum of forces and moment MUST be zero
There are three types of trim
Lateral trim (roll and side yz plane motion)
Longitudinal trim (pitch and xz plane motion)
Directional trim (yaw and xy plane motion)

Horizontal tail is responsible for longitudinal trim

Vertical tail is responsible for lateral and directional

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Stability and
Stability is TENDENCY of the aircraft to oppose the
Static stability (INITIAL tendency to return to trim,
without pilot assistance)
Dynamics stability (tendency to return to trim over
time, without pilot assistance, depend on damping!!!!!)
There are three types of stability
Lateral stability (roll and side yz plane motion)
Longitudinal stability (pitch and xz plane motion)
Directional stability (yaw and xy plane motion)

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Stability and
Control is ability of the aircraft to vary aircraft
condition from trim condition 1 (say cruise) to trim
condition 2 (say climb)
There are three branches of control
Lateral control(x axis, aileron)
Longitudinal control (y axis, elevator)
Directional control (z axis, rudder)

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Handling qualities
Stability and control are at odds with each other
Reinforcement of stability weakens
Improvement of controllability affects stability
Initial selection of tail parameters, such as tail volume
coefficient, must include a satisfactory achievement of
handling quality requirements

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Tail configuration
Design requirements

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Tail Configuration
First Step is to Pick your Tail Configuration
For this exercise we will consider the traditional
fuselage mounted tail

Fuselage mounted
Cruciform T-tail Flying tailplane

V-tail Inverted V-tail Tailplane mounted

Twin tailboom

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Sizing the Tail
It is assumed that the wing area of the aircraft has already been
sized based on requirements.
In preliminary design, the next step would be to examine the tail
sizing of aircraft

For our case we will look at single engine, tractor propeller planes.
This has relevance to the DBF MAV design
It should be noted that other factors could drive the empennage size
such as an engine requirement for multi-engine aircraft.

We will consider that the tail has the basic function of providing
lateral and longitudinal stability.
In other words, it needs to produce a moment to counteract the
pitching moment of the wing (horizontal stabilizer) and a restoring
moment to prevent yaw (or flat spin)

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Homebuilt Horizontal Stabilizer
Historical Data
from Roskam Homebuilt Airplanes: Horizontal Tail Volume and Elevator Data
Wing Wing Hor. Tail Elevator
Type Wing Airfoil Se/Sh xh Vh
Area mgc Area Chord
S c root/tip Sh root/tip
ft2 ft NACA* ft2 ft fr.ch
PIK-21 Durable 76.4 4.50 64212 10.4 0.45 10.1 0.30 0.45
RD-03C 119 4.30 23018/23012 22.2 0.33 11.3 0.49 .47/.32
CP-750 118 3.82 23012 23.5 0.51 12.6 0.66 .55/.47
CP-90 POTTIER 104 3.81 NA 22.3 0.50 11.8 0.66 .56/.38
P-50R 80.7 3.74 23015/23012 13.4 0.52 10.6 0.47 .50/.55
P-70S O-O 77.5 4.10 4415 14.5 0.6 9.68 0.44 0.60
Aerosport Aerocar80.7 3.77 23012 15.4 0.48 10.6 0.54 0.48
Micro-imp Coats 81.0 3.00 GA(Pc) - 1 11.7 0.25 6.27 0.30 .28/.33
SA-III Sequoia 112 4.50 63145 16.5 0.46 10.9 0.36 0.46
300 Ord-Hume 130 4.37 642A215/64A210 25.5 0.43 13.2 0.59 0.43
OH-4B Procter 125 5.25 RAF48 25.4 0.49 11.1 0.43 0.49
Petrel 135 4.54 3415 26.0 0.52 12.2 0.52 0.52
Bede BD-8 96.7 5.0 632015/ 19.4 0.14 7.64 0.31 0.17

* Unless otherwise indicated Average 0.47 0.45

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Historical Data
If we examine the data on homebuilt aircraft provided
by Roskam,
Vh (horizontal tail volume) range is 0.3 0.66
Vv (vertical tail volume) range is 0.06 0.14

This data also provides historical data on the fraction

of chord used on the control surfaces
Elevator Chord Fraction average of 0.45
Rudder Chord Fraction average of 0.45

Thus should expect about 50% of the empennage to be

movable surface

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Horizontal tail

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Horizontal tail tail arm and area

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Correction factor Kc
Varies from 1 to 1.4
IF fuselage is conical Kc is 1
IF fuselage is less and less conical Kc tends to 1.4

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Horizontal tail setting angle
Typically -1 degree
Horizontal tail aspect ratio

Horizontal tail taper ratio (with primary objective to

reduce weight) 0.7 - 1

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Horizontal tail geometry

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Horizontal tail geometry
Tail span
Tail tip chord
Tail root chord
Tail MAC

Solve 4 simultaneous

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Vertical tail design parameters

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Vertical tail design parameters
Assume vertical tail moment arm to be equal to horizontal tail moment
Assume Vv (vertical tail volume) range is 0.06 0.14
Planform area Sv

Aspect ratio
High aspect ratio is not good!
Increases aircraft height
Weakens aircraft lateral control
Aft part becomes heavier
Vertical tail is more prone to flatter
Longitudinally destabilising
Tail induced drag increases

Assume ARv between 1 and 2

Assume taper ratio based on compromise between complexity of
manufacturing and decrease of directional control of aircraft and
decrease of lateral stability of aircraft

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Tip chord, root chord, mean
aerodynamic chord and span
Solve 4 simultaneous equations

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Systems Engineering and
Considering just the horizontal stabilizer there are multiple design
Airfoil shape and angle of attack
Length of Tail Boom
Size of Horizontal Stabilizer
Not to mention, airspeed, density, aircraft attitude, aircraft rates, other
aerodynamic effects, etc.
For the system (aircraft), there are multiple design objectives just for
this horizontal stabilizer:
Minimize Weight
Minimize Drag
Minimize Cost
Design for Manufacture and Assembly
This is an example of Multivariate Design Optimization (MDO) type of