Flight Physics: Taildown Force
Taildown Force and Balance
In flight, the horizontal stabilizer provides a downward force to counteract the weight of the airplane’s nose. CG location changes the amount of taildown force required, which in turn changes overall performance.
An airplane with an aft CG performs better than an airplane with a forward CG, but often suffers poor handling characteristics, especially in stall recoveries where it will have an increased tendency to enter a spin if the stall is uncoordinated. With an aft CG, the rudder has less authority because it is closer to the CG, making spin recovery more difficult.
An airplane with a forward CG will perform worse than an airplane with an aft CG, but will have better handling characteristics in most situations. A forward CG can, however, make the nose heavy turning takeoff and landing, which could surprise an unsuspecting pilot.
- Why does an aft CG increase performance?
- What are the disadvantages to an aft CG?
- What are the advantages to a forward CG?
- What are the disadvantages to a forward CG?
- Do pilots control the amount of tail down force, separately from the weight and balance of the aircraft?