Flight investigation of the effect of control centering springs on the apparent spiral stability of a personal-owner airplane

Campbell, John P., Hunter, Paul A., Hewes, Donald E., Whitten, James B.

Report presents the results of a flight investigation conducted on a typical high-wing personal-owner airplane to determine the effect of control centering springs on apparent spiral stability. Apparent spiral stability is the term used to describe the spiraling tendencies of an airplane in uncontrolled flight as affected both by the true spiral stability of the perfectly trimmed airplane and by out-of-trim control settings. Centering springs were used in both the aileron and rudder control systems to provide both a positive centering action and a means of trimming the airplane. The springs were preloaded so that when they were moved through neutral they produced a nonlinear force gradient sufficient to overcome the friction in the control surface at the proper setting for trim. The ailerons and rudder control surfaces did not have trim tabs that could be adjusted in flight.

An Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file of the entire report: