How Do Aircraft Stabilators Function?

As aircraft and their structures continue to be developed and improved upon, various control surfaces have come about to assist in stabilizing the aircraft during flight and allowing for pilots to adjust directional heading. On the tail-end of the fuselage, aircraft often utilize elevators and horizontal stabilizers in order to adjust the pitch, yaw, and other axes alongside providing stabilization. For more higher performance aircraft that require more maneuverability, such as high speed military fighter jets, a fully moveable surface known as a stabilator combines the functionality of the elevator and horizontal stabilizer.

With a stabilator placed on both sides of a given aircraft, pilots can produce and govern the pitch by adjusting the forces generated by the tail-end of the fuselage. As stabilators operate in tandem with one another, the angles of their deployment are always equal during operation. Stabilators are very useful for the maneuverability of higher speed aircraft as they affect the nose positioning and the angle attack of each wing. As a pilot changes the angle of a wing, they may either go into a dive or climb depending on the orientation of the nose and the change in aerodynamic forces. To exit such a move to level out the aircraft, the stabilators can be used to bring the aircraft nose back towards a flat position. This same ability can also be used to conduct tight turns for such high speed aircraft, as pointing the nose into a banked turn will make the procedure much quicker and more efficient. As such, having a stabilator flight surface is crucial for fighter aircraft in order to promote air superiority over others.

As compared to a standard elevator system that only allows for some control of hinged surfaces, stabilitors permit the adjustment of the entire horizontal tail surface through the use of a control wheel or stick inputs. As stabilators are specifically designed to pivot across the aerodynamic center of the surface, actuation requires lower effort on behalf of the pilot for their ease. Additionally, the force needed to actuate such devices does not change with airspeed or angle of attack, making them very beneficial for higher speed aircraft and military fighter jets. In order to ensure that the pilot does not over-control the stabilator, anti-servo tabs are typically implemented on the trailing edge of the device. With the anti-servo tab, deflection is provided further than the stabilator, and thus it creates an aerodynamic force which can mitigate resistance to the input from the pilot. Generally speaking, anti-servo tabs may also provide the same functionality as a trim tab for aircraft, increasing their use and capabilities.

With the stabilator, a variety of high speed and military aircraft can benefit with more control over aerodynamic forces, maneuverability, and more. When you are in the market for stabilators, elevators, and other flight control surface parts and components, let the experts at ASAP Aviation Procurement help you source everything you need with ease. As a leading online parts distributor for the aviation industry, we provide our customers with rapid lead-times and competitive pricing on everything that we carry. With over 2 billion new, used, and obsolete components readily available for purchase, we can fulfill all of your operational needs with ease. Due to our steadfast dedication to quality control standards and practices, we operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. Explore our robust part catalogues today, and our team of industry experts are readily available 24/7x365 to provide you with personalized quotes and solutions to accommodate your individual needs and requirements.