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# Flight Performance, Stability and Control

## Dr. Parag Mantri

Assistant Professor
Department of Aerospace Engineering

Stability

## ⇒ Aircraft Stability: Following a displacement from an original steady flight

path, an aircraft has stability if it returns to its path without movements
of its flight control surfaces having to be applied.
⇒ Static Stability: Immediate reacting of the aircraft
⇒ Dynamic Stability: Reacting of aircraft over a period of time
⇒ A static or dynamic stability can be divided into stable, unstable and
neutral equilibrium
⇒ A system can be statically stable but dynamically unstable but it cannot
be dynamically stable unless it is statically stable.

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Aircraft Stability

⇒ Just like the disturbances of the aircraft, the stabilizing motion will be
only in three planes; Pitch, roll and yaw

⇒ These planes change relative to the ground but are fixed relative to the
aircraft

## ⇒ Lateral stability is about longitudinal axis, longitudinal stability is about

lateral axis and directional stability about normal axis

Axis of Rotation

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Longitudinal Stability

## ⇒ When aircraft returns to trimmed angle of attack (equilibrium), positive

static longitudinal stability

## ⇒ When the elevators are maintained in the neutral or streamlined position,

static stability is referred to as stick-fixed stability

## ⇒ Stick-free stability refers to the condition in which the elevators are

allowed to float in the airflow and return to neutral position after the
pilot releases the stick

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Longitudinal Stability Contd.

increases.

## ⇒ In this condition if Aerodynamic center of the wing is ahead of C.G, then

the net effect is to increasing the pitch-up moment (Not desirable)

## ⇒ For certain velocity and angle of attack, a given airplane is in equilibrium.

This angle of attack is called the trim point.

## ⇒ The difference in incidence angle of wing and horizontal stabilizer is

longitudinal dihedral angle.

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Pitching and Restoring Moments

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Center of Gravity Location

## ⇒ Degree of longitudinal stability depends on the relative position of the

aerodynamic centers and center of gravity.

moment

## ⇒ As the CG moves rearwards, static stability decreases, becomes neutral

and then becomes unstable

## ⇒ The CG location which results in neutral longitudinal static stability is

neutral point of the aircraft

⇒ The distance between CG at any point and the neutral point is known
as static margin

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Dynamic longitudinal Stability

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Directional Stability: Yaw axis

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Lateral Stability: Longitudinal or roll axis

## ⇒ Unlike longitudinal stability, lateral stability effects directional stability as

well and vice-versa.

⇒ This means a rolling motion can create yaw as well and yawing motion
contributes to roll.

## ⇒ Factors contributing to lateral static stability

→ Dihedral angle
→ Swept back angle
→ Vertical location of the wings relative to the fuselage.

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Other Instability

## ⇒ Spiral Divergence: High directional stability but poor lateral stability

⇒ Dutch Roll: Positive directional stability (lower than spiral) and poor
lateral stability. Rolls and yaws out of phase.

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Directional and Spiral Divergence

Dutch Roll

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Control Surfaces

⇒ Ailerons (Roll)

⇒ Rudder (Yaw)

⇒ Elevator (Pitch)

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Automatic Flight Control System

## ⇒ Closed loop servomechanism technique used for

→ Overcome any stability deficiency
→ Improving the handling or ride qualities, e.g. holding altitude or
air-speed
→ Carry out maneuvers which pilot is unable to perform due to accuracy
required or any external hindrance

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Typical Control System

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Internal vs. External Conditions

⇒ Internal conditions are those derived from sensors within AFCS (Pitch,
roll and yaw altitudes and their rates, acceleration, etc.)

## ⇒ External Conditions relate to to airspeed, altitude, track, and other

navigational information derived from sensors external to (but integrated
with) AFCS.

⇒ Inner loop handles the internal conditions and the outer loop handles the
external conditions

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Components of an AFCS

## ⇒ Sensors: These measure the relevant parameters and transmit the

information in the computation group

⇒ Computers: These convert the information from the sensors into the
signals to be fed to output devices

## ⇒ Output devices: Convert computer signals into necessary output action

or control surface movements.

## University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Introduction to Automatic Flight Control

Attitude Sensing: Gyroscope

⇒ Basic Functionality

⇒ Components

⇒ types