Chapter 15-Transition to Jet Powered Airplanes
Table of Contents
Jet Engine Basics
Operating the Jet Engine
Jet Engine Ignition
Thrust to Thrust Lever Relationship
Variation of Thrust with RPM
Slow Acceleration of the Jet Engine
Jet Engine Efficiency
Absence of Propeller Effect
Absence of Propeller Slipstream
Absence of Propeller Drag
Recovery from Overspeed Conditions
Mach Buffet Boundaries
Low Speed Flight
Pilot Sensations in Jet Flying
Jet Airplane Takeoff and Climb
Rotation and Lift-Off
Jet Airplane Approach and Landing
The Stabilized Approach
Touchdown and Rollout
The stalling characteristics of the sweptwing jet airplane can vary considerably from those of the normal straight wing airplane. The greatest difference that will be noticeable to the pilot is the lift developed vs. angle of attack. An increase in angle of attack of the straight wing produces a substantial and constantly increasing lift vector up to its maximum coefficient of lift, and soon thereafter flow separation (stall) occurs with a rapid deterioration of lift.15-10 15-11
By contrast, the sweptwing produces a much more gradual buildup of lift with no well defined maximum coefficient and has the ability to fly well beyond this maximum buildup even though lift is lost. The drag curves (which are not depicted in figure 15-13) are approximately the reverse of the lift curves shown, in that a rapid increase in drag component may be expected with an increase in the angle of attack of a sweptwing airplane.
Figure 15-13. Stall vs. angle of attack sweptwing vs. straight wing.
The differences in the stall characteristics between a conventional straight wing/low tailplane (non T-tail) airplane and a sweptwing T-tail airplane center around two main areas.
On a conventional straight wing/low tailplane airplane, the weight of the airplane acts downwards forward of the lift acting upwards, producing a need for a balancing force acting downwards from the tailplane. As speed is reduced by gentle up elevator deflection, the static stability of the airplane causes a nosedown tendency. This is countered by further up elevator to keep the nose coming up and the speed decreasing. As the pitch attitude increases, the low set tail is immersed in the wing wake, which is slightly turbulent, low energy air. The accompanying aerodynamic buffeting serves as a warning of impending stall. The reduced effectiveness of the tail prevents the pilot from forcing the airplane into a deeper stall. [Figure 15-14] The conventional straight wing airplane conforms to the familiar nosedown pitching tendency at the stall and gives the entire airplane a fairly pronounced nosedown pitch. At the moment of stall, the wing wake passes more or less straight rearward and passes above the tail. The tail is now immersed in high energy air where it experiences a sharp increase in positive angle of attack causing upward lift. This lift then assists the nosedown pitch and decrease in wing angle of attack essential to stall recovery.
Figure 15-14. Stall progressionùtypical straight wing airplane.
In a sweptwing jet with a T-tail and rear fuselage mounted engines, the two qualities that are different from its straight wing low tailplane counterpart are the pitching tendency of the airplane as the stall develops and the loss of tail effectiveness at the stall. The handling qualities down to the stall are much the same as the straight wing airplane except that the high, T-tail remains clear of the wing wake and provides little or no warning in the form of a pre-stall buffet. Also, the tail is fully effective during the speed reduction towards the stall, and remains effective even after the wing has begun to stall. This enables the pilot to drive the wing into a deeper stall at a much greater angle of attack.
At the stall, two distinct things happen. After the stall, the sweptwing T-tail airplane tends to pitch up rather than down, and the T-tail is immersed in the wing wake, which is low energy turbulent air. This greatly reduces tail effectiveness and the airplaneÆs ability to counter the noseup pitch. Also, the disturbed, relatively slow air behind the wing may sweep across the tail at such a large angle that the tail itself stalls. If this occurs, the pilot loses all pitch control and will be unable to lower the nose. The pitch up just after the stall is worsened by large reduction in lift and a large increase in drag, which causes a rapidly increasing descent path, thus compounding the rate of increase of the wingÆs angle of attack. [Figure 15-15]
Figure 15-15. Stall progression sweptwing airplane.
The pitch up tendency after the stall is a characteristic of a swept and/or tapered wings. With these types of wings, there is a tendency for the wing to develop a strong spanwise airflow towards the wingtip when the wing is at high angles of attack. This leads to a tendency for separation of airflow, and the subsequent stall, to occur at the wingtips first. [Figure 15-16]
Figure 15-16. Sweptwing stall characteristics.
The tip first stall, results in a shift of the center of lift of the wing in a forward direction relative to the center of gravity of the airplane, causing the nose to pitch up. Another disadvantage of a tip first stall is that it can involve the ailerons and erode roll control. As previously stated, when flying at a speed in the area of VMD, an increase in angle of attack causes drag to increase faster than lift and the airplane begins to sink. It is essential to understand that this increasing sinking tendency, at a constant pitch attitude, results in a rapid increase in angle of attack as the flightpath becomes deflected downwards. [Figure 15-17] Furthermore, once the stall has developed and a large amount of lift has been lost, the airplane will begin to sink rapidly and this will be accompanied by a corresponding rapid increase in angle of attack. This is the beginning of what is termed a deep stall.
Figure 15-17. Deep stall progression.
As an airplane enters a deep stall, increasing drag reduces forward speed to well below normal stall speed. The sink rate may increase to many thousands of feet per minute. The airplane eventually stabilizes in a vertical descent. The angle of attack may approachCh 15.qxd 5/7/04 10:22 AM Page 15-12 Ch 15.qxd 5/7/04 10:22 AM Page 15-13
90 and the indicated airspeed may be reduced to zero. At a 90 angle of attack, none of the airplaneÆs control surfaces are effective. It must be emphasized that this situation can occur without an excessively nose-high pitch attitude. On some airplanes, it can occur at an apparently normal pitch attitude, and it is this quality that can mislead the pilot because it appears similar to the beginning of a normal stall recovery.
Deep stalls are virtually unrecoverable. Fortunately, they are easily avoided as long as published limitations are observed. On those airplanes susceptible to deep stalls (not all swept and/or tapered wing airplanes are), sophisticated stall warning systems such as stick shakers and stick pushers are standard equipment. A stick pusher, as its name implies, acts to automatically reduce the airplaneÆs angle of attack before the airplane reaches a fully stalled condition.
Unless the Airplane Flight Manual procedures stipulate otherwise, a fully stalled condition in a jet airplane is to be avoided. Pilots undergoing training in jet airplanes are taught to recover at the first sign of an impending stall. Normally, this is indicated by aural stall warning devices and/or activation of the airplaneÆs stick shaker. Stick shakers normally activate around 107 percent of the actual stall speed. At such slow speeds, very high sink rates can develop if the airplaneÆs pitch attitude is decreased below the horizon, as is normal recovery procedure in most piston powered straight wing, light airplanes. Therefore, at the lower altitudes where plenty of engine thrust is available, the recovery technique in many sweptwing jets involves applying full available power, rolling the wings level, and holding a slightly positive pitch attitude. The amount of pitch attitude should be sufficient enough to maintain altitude or begin a slight climb.
At high altitudes, where there may be little excess thrust available to effect a recovery using power alone, it may be necessary to lower the nose below the horizon in order to accelerate away from an impending stall. This procedure may require several thousand feet or more of altitude loss to effect a recovery. Stall recovery techniques may vary considerably from airplane to airplane. The stall recovery procedures for a particular make and model airplane, as recommended by the manufacturer, are contained in the FAA-approved Airplane Flight Manual for that airplane.