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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge [FAA 2008] - Chapter 05

Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge [FAA 2008] - Chapter 05

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Published by Gavin White
This chapter focuses on the flight control systems a pilot uses to control the forces of flight, and the aircraft’s direction and attitude. Because flight control systems and aerodynamic characteristics vary greatly between aircraft, it is essential that a pilot become familiar with the primary and secondary flight control systems of the aircraft being flown. The primary source of this information is the AFM or the POH. Various manufacturer and owner group websites can also be a valuable source of additional information.
This chapter focuses on the flight control systems a pilot uses to control the forces of flight, and the aircraft’s direction and attitude. Because flight control systems and aerodynamic characteristics vary greatly between aircraft, it is essential that a pilot become familiar with the primary and secondary flight control systems of the aircraft being flown. The primary source of this information is the AFM or the POH. Various manufacturer and owner group websites can also be a valuable source of additional information.

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Published by: Gavin White on Sep 29, 2009
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5-1
 
Introduction
This chapter focuses on the flight control systems a pilot usesto control the forces of flight, and the aircraft’s direction andattitude. It should be noted that flight control systems andcharacteristics can vary greatly depending on the type of aircraft flown. The most basic flight control system designsare mechanical and date back to early aircraft. They operatewith a collection of mechanical parts such as rods, cables,pulleys, and sometimes chains to transmit the forces of theflight deck controls to the control surfaces. Mechanical flightcontrol systems are still used today in small general andsport category aircraft where the aerodynamic forces are notexcessive.
[Figure 5-1]
 
Flight Controls
Chapter 5
 
5-2
Anti-torque pedalsCyclic stick Collective lever
C      y    c   l     i     c   
C        y     c     l       i       c     
   C   y   c l     i      c
   C   y  c    l    i  c
Yaw
 
Yaw
Yaw
 
Yaw
 C o l le c t i ve
 
 C o l le c t i ve
Coee
 
Coee
Figure 5-3.
 
 Helicopter flight control system.
Hydraulic pressureHydraulic returnPivot point
LEGENDElevator (UP)Control stick (AFT—Nose up)Control cablesPower cylinderNeutralNeutralControl valvesNeutralPower disconnect linkage
Figure 5-2.
 
 Hydromechanical flight control system.
ElevatorControl stick CablePulleysPush rod
Figure 5-1.
 
 Mechanical flight control system.
As aviation matured and aircraft designers learned more aboutaerodynamics, the industry produced larger and faster aircraft.Therefore, the aerodynamic forces acting upon the controlsurfaces increased exponentially. To make the control forcerequired by pilots manageable, aircraft engineers designedmore complex systems. At first, hydromechanical designs,consisting of a mechanical circuit and a hydraulic circuit,were used to reduce the complexity, weight, and limitationsof mechanical flight controls systems.
[Figure 5-2]
As aircraft became more sophisticated, the control surfaceswere actuated by electric motors, digital computers, or fiberoptic cables. Called “fly-by-wire,” this flight control systemreplaces the physical connection between pilot controls andthe flight control surfaces with an electrical interface. Inaddition, in some large and fast aircraft, controls are boostedby hydraulically or electrically actuated systems. In boththe fly-by-wire and boosted controls, the feel of the controlreaction is fed back to the pilot by simulated means.Current research at the National Aeronautics and SpaceAdministration (NASA) Dryden Flight Research Centerinvolves Intelligent Flight Control Systems (IFCS). The goalof this project is to develop an adaptive neural network-basedflight control system. Applied directly to flight control systemfeedback errors, IFCS provides adjustments to improveaircraft performance in normal flight as well as with systemfailures. With IFCS, a pilot is able to maintain control andsafely land an aircraft that has suffered a failure to a controlsurface or damage to the airframe. It also improves missioncapability, increases the reliability and safety of flight, andeases the pilot workload.Today’s aircraft employ a variety of flight control systems.For example, some aircraft in the sport pilot category rely onweight-shift control to fly while balloons use a standard burntechnique. Helicopters utilize a cyclic to tilt the rotor in thedesired direction along with a collective to manipulate rotorpitch and anti-torque pedals to control yaw.
[Figure 5-3]
 For additional information on flight control systems, referto the appropriate handbook for information related to theflight control systems and characteristics of specific typesof aircraft.
Flight Control Systems
Flight Controls
Aircraft flight control systems consist of primary andsecondary systems. The ailerons, elevator (or stabilator), andrudder constitute the primary control system and are required tocontrol an aircraft safely during flight. Wing flaps, leading edgedevices, spoilers, and trim systems constitute the secondarycontrol system and improve the performance characteristics of the airplane or relieve the pilot of excessive control forces.
Primary Flight Controls
Aircraft control systems are carefully designed to provideadequate responsiveness to control inputs while allowing a
 
5-3
 
Lateal ais (longitudinalstabilit)
A— 
Rudder—Yaw
Eleao— Pich
Longitudinal axis (lateal stability)
Vertical axis(directionalstability)Aileron Roll Longitudinal LateralRudder Yaw Vertical DirectionalElevator/ StabilatorPitch Lateral Longitudinal
PrimaryControlSurfaceAirplaneMovementAxes ofRotationType ofStability
Figure 5-4.
 
 Airplane controls, movement, axes of rotation, and type of stability.
Figure 5-5.
 
 Adverse yaw is caused by higher drag on the outsidewing, which is producing more lift.
L       i       f        t      
Drag
 L   i     f     t   
a
 
A
v
e
r
se
a
natural feel. At low airspeeds, the controls usually feel softand sluggish, and the aircraft responds slowly to controlapplications. At higher airspeeds, the controls becomeincreasingly firm and aircraft response is more rapid.Movement of any of the three primary flight control surfaces(ailerons, elevator or stabilator, or rudder), changes the airflowand pressure distribution over and around the airfoil. Thesechanges affect the lift and drag produced by the airfoil/controlsurface combination, and allow a pilot to control the aircraftabout its three axes of rotation.Design features limit the amount of deflection of flight controlsurfaces. For example, control-stop mechanisms may beincorporated into the flight control linkages, or movementof the control column and/or rudder pedals may be limited.The purpose of these design limits is to prevent the pilot frominadvertently overcontrolling and overstressing the aircraftduring normal maneuvers.A properly designed airplane is stable and easily controlledduring normal maneuvering. Control surface inputs causemovement about the three axes of rotation. The types of stability an airplane exhibits also relate to the three axes of rotation.
[Figure 5-4]
 Ailerons
Ailerons control roll about the longitudinal axis. The aileronsare attached to the outboard trailing edge of each wing andmove in the opposite direction from each other. Ailerons areconnected by cables, bellcranks, pulleys and/or push-pull tubesto a control wheel or control stick.Moving the control wheel or control stick to the right causesthe right aileron to deflect upward and the left aileron to deflectdownward. The upward deflection of the right aileron decreasesthe camber resulting in decreased lift on the right wing. Thecorresponding downward deflection of the left aileron increasesthe camber resulting in increased lift on the left wing. Thus,the increased lift on the left wing and the decreased lift on theright wing causes the airplane to roll to the right.
 Adverse Yaw
Since the downward deflected aileron produces more lift asevidenced by the wing raising, it also produces more drag. Thisadded drag causes the wing to slow down slightly. This resultsin the aircraft yawing toward the wing which had experiencedan increase in lift (and drag). From the pilot’s perspective, theyaw is opposite the direction of the bank. The adverse yawis a result of differential drag and the slight difference in thevelocity of the left and right wings.
[Figure 5-5]
Adverse yaw becomes more pronounced at low airspeeds.At these slower airspeeds aerodynamic pressure on controlsurfaces are low and larger control inputs are required toeffectively maneuver the airplane. As a result, the increase inaileron deflection causes an increase in adverse yaw. The yawis especially evident in aircraft with long wing spans.

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