A study of factors affecting the steady spin of an airplane

Scudder, Nathan F
August 1933

Data from wind-tunnel tests on a model of the NY-1 airplane were used in a study of the effect on the steady spin of a number of factors considered to be important. The factors were of two classes, mass distribution effects and aerodynamic effects. The study indicated that mass extended along the longitudinal axis has no detrimental effect or is even slightly beneficial, mass extended along the lateral axis is detrimental if the airplane spins with the inner wing tip far down, and mass extended along the normal axis, if of considerable magnitude, has a strong favorable effect. The aerodynamic effects considered in terms of rolling, pitching, and yawing moments added to those for a conventional airplane showed that added stable rolling moment could contribute favorable effect on the spin only in decreasing the amount of inward sideslip required for equilibrium. Negative pitching moment of moderate magnitude has unfavorable effect on a high-angle-of-attack spin, and stable yawing moment has pronounced beneficial effect on the spin. Experimental data from various sources were available to verify nearly all the deductions resulting from the study of the curves. When these results were considered for the purpose of deciding upon the best means to be developed for controlling the spin, the yawing-moment equilibrium was found to offer the most promising field for research. The wing-cellule yawing moment, of which the shape of the chord-force curve is an approximate measure, should be made as small as possible in the unstable sense and the damping yawing moment of the tail should be made as large as possible. The most serious unfavorable effect on the damping yawing moment of the tail is the blanketing of the vertical surfaces by the other parts of the tail.

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