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# Static Stability

Definitions
Static Stability Criteria
Estimating Stability Coefficients
MAE 155A
B-29 Vertical Tail
2
MAE 155A
Stability Definitions
Trim or Equilibrium
Conditions such that forces and moments acting on the aircraft balance each other.
Without disturbances, the aircraft will remain in the trim condition.
Pilots use trim tabs to find equilibrium conditions in flight.
Dynamic Stability
If the airplane encounters a disturbance that pushes it away from equilibrium, will it
naturally return to the original equilibrium point or will it move to another?
Airplane will move away from an unstable equilibrium point after a disturbance.
Static Stability
Tendency of an airplane to develop forces and moments that directly oppose disturbances.
Static stability does not guarantee dynamic stability but it helps.
3
MAE 155A
Angle of Attack Stability
Will the aircraft inherently generate a pitching moment that opposes a disturbance in
angle of attack?
This phenomenon is known as weathercock stability as it is associated with a weather
vane that always points into the wind.
o
V
X-body axis
o+o
gust
V
X-body axis
V
X-body axis
o
V
X-body axis
1 2
3
4
o+o
gust
M0
Airplane in trimmed flight
Sudden gust increases angle-of-attack
Airplane generates nose-down (negative) pitching moment Angle-of-attack is reduced
4
MAE 155A
Static Stability Criteria
Longitudinal Static Stability Criteria:
Lateral-Directional Static Stability Criteria:
C
mo
0
C
L o
>0 C
mq
0
C
y
0 C
l
0
C
lp
0
C
n
>0 C
nr
0
5
MAE 155A
Design Implications
The aircraft designer must determine what configuration changes are needed to meet
any given static stability requirements.
A connection is needed between shape and size of the airplane, and the stability
coefficients that determine static stability.
Unconventional configurations rely on numerical approximations to estimate the
required stability coefficients.
Aerodynamic prediction codes are run at two different conditions.
The resulting difference is used to numerically approximate the required stability derivative.
C
mo

C
m
o

C
m
(o+Ao)C
m
(o)
Ao Ao=small change angle-of-attack
Analytical expressions are available to estimate stability coefficients for conventional
airplanes (details on next three slides).
6
MAE 155A
Longitudinal Stability Derivatives
C
mo
=C
Low(
x
cg
x
acw

c
)
C
Loh
j
h(
S
h
S
)
(
1
d e
d o
)
(
x
ach
x
cg

c
)
C
Lo
=C
Low
+C
Loh
j
h(
S
h
S
)
(
1
d e
d o
)
C
Lo h
=horz tail lift coefficient slope
j
h
=

q
h

q
=
(
V
h
V
)
2
V
h
=airspeed at horz tail
V =aircraft airspeed
S
h
/ S=ratio horz tail area to wing reference area
C
Lo w
=wing lift coefficient slope
d e
d o

2C
Loh
n AR
C
mq
=2j
h
C
Loh
(
S
h
S
)(
x
ach
x
cg

c
)
2
wing lift
tail lift
gravity
x
ach
x
cg
x
acw

## c=wing mean geometric chord

7
MAE 155A
Lateral Stability Derivatives
C
l
0.66 I+AC
l
C
lp
=
C
Lo
12
1+3\
1+\
\=taper ratio=ratio tip chord to root chord
C
Lo
=airplane lift coefficient slope
AC
l
AC
l
AC
l
=0
upper surface
lower surface
Wingtip Designs
8
MAE 155A
Directional Stability Derivatives
C
n
=C
Lov
j
v(
S
v
S
)
(
1+
d c
d
)
(
x
acv
x
cg
b
)
C
y
=C
Lov
j
v(
S
v
S
)
(
1+
d c
d
)
C
nr
=2C
Lov
j
v(
S
v
S
)(
x
acv
x
cg
b
)
2
d c
d

(
S
v
S
)
3.06
1+cos A
c/ 4
+0.009 AR0.276
C
Lo v
=vert tail lift coefficient slope
j
v
=

q
v

q
=
(
V
v
V
)
2
V
v
=airspeed at vert tail
V =aircraft airspeed
S
v
/ S=ratio vert tail area to wing reference area
A
c/ 4
=wing sweep quarter chord
AR=wing aspect ratio
b=wingspan
gravity x
cg
x
acv