Canards position and its effect on aircraft stability, controllability and maneuverability

Aviation technics and technology


Sokolova A. A.

Moscow Aviation Institute (National Research University), 4, Volokolamskoe shosse, Moscow, А-80, GSP-3, 125993, Russia



The paper aims to investigate the phenomenon of the shift of aircraft aerodynamic center along the incoming air flow, which occurs upon the transition of the aircraft to supersonic speeds within the given Mach range. The influence of the shift on aircraft stability, controllability and maneuverability is also examined. The paper seeks for ways to reduce the adverse effects of aerodynamic center shift (ACS) and retain the stability (instability) of the aircraft at the preassigned level.
The paper proposes structural measures for addressing the problem and uses a heuristic research method. It is supposed that there is a structural capability to shift the canard along X axis. Thus functional dependencies of aerodynamic center position upon the flight speed are constructed for various canard positions. Based on this data it is possible to build a functional dependency of canard position upon the speed, which would help to decrease adverse effects of aerodynamic center shift (ACS). This idea is proven mathematically.
Proper change of the canard position along X axis during acceleration provides for a static position of aerodynamic center. This in turn helps to retain the stability (instability) of the aircraft at the preassigned level.
The present concept provides a starting point for further research in aerodynamics and aircraft design. Its elaboration requires further investigation.
The proposed concept could be useful for supersonic aircraft design. Due to the lack of research on the load factor change during the canard movement, which could be potentially dangerous for human pilots, the presented concept could be quite useful for the design of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
The problem of retaining aircraft stability, controllability and maneuverability at supersonic speeds within the given Mach range remains open for more than 50 years. The presented concept aspires to solve that problem.


aerodynamics, aerodynamic center, aircraft stability, aircraft controllability, aircraft maneuverability, supersonic speed, canard


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