The development of a lateral-control system for use with large-span flaps

Ashkenas, I L

A spoiler-type lateral-control system has been developed for use on the Northrop P-61 airplane. The lateral-control system is to be used with large-span flaps and consists of a thin circular arc spoiler, linked with a short-span plain aileron located just outboard of the spoiler. This unconventional lateral-control system has been accepted with enthusiasm by the pilots who have flown the airplane. The particularly appreciate its characteristic at high speed. The combination of light forges, favorable yawing moment, and low wing torsional moments, make it a very effective, easily applied control. The control available at and through the stall is also remarkably good, although this characteristic may be attributed, in part, to an exceptionally good wing stalling pattern rather than entirely to the use of the spoiler-type aileron. In the landing configuration, the lateral-control effectiveness increases automatically with the extension of wing flaps so that powerful control is available during the approach. There is, however, a decrease in effectiveness for the first 5 percent of the wheel travel with a resultant tendency for inexperienced pilots to overcontrol slightly at low speeds. The fact that the aileron can be fully used at the stall, however, more than compensates for this loss of effectiveness with flaps down and greatly enhances the airplane's landing performance.

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