Date: August 1, 1943
Creator: Seacord, Charles L & Campbell, John P.
Description: The effects of mass distribution on lateral stability and control characteristics of an airplane have been determined by flight tests of a model in the NACA free-flight tunnel. In the investigation, the rolling and yawing movements of inertia were increased from normal values to values up to five times normal. For each moment-of-inertia condition, combinations of dihedral and vertical-tail area representing a variety of airplane configurations were tested. The results of the flight tests of the model were correlated with calculated stability and control characteristics and, in general, good agreement was obtained. The tests showed the following effects of increased rolling and yawing moments of inertia: no appreciable change in spiral stability; reductions in oscillatory stability that were serious at high values of dihedral; a reduction in the sensitivity of the model to gust disturbances; and a reduction in rolling acceleration provided by the ailerons, which caused a marked increase in time to reach a given angle of bank. The general flight behavior of the model became worse with increasing moments of inertia but, with combinations of small effective dihedral and large vertical-tail area, satisfactory flight characteristics were obtained at all moment-of-inertia conditions.
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