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=FEW=ayamoth89

Can a plane fly and manouver without the tail fin?

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I see many damaged planes flying and eventually dogfighting withour tail fin, sometime vertical stabilizer and or rudder.

Do you know if it is possible? I knew that the plane would become totally unstable on yaw and probably impossible to recover if it rolls over or spins.

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Rudder and vertical stabilizer have different functions. An aircraft should in most cases be able to at least fly and perhaps even maneouver to a certain degree without the rudder, since vertical stabilizer still does what it's supposed to be doing - stabilizing aircraft around yaw axis. You just won't be able to control the yaw. 

Not so easy if you loose vertical stabilizer too, since you've lost the most important thingie that makes your plane stable about yaw axis.

Edited by CrazyDuck
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It depends on the plane and the state it is in.

Some planes have no vertical stabiliser by design.

Some planes can take a huge amount of damage to the tail and keep flying or even land.

Other planes lose yaw stability completely.

It depends on the type of damage, the design of the plane and how it is being flown.

Edited by [DBS]Browning
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1 hour ago, =FEW=ayamoth89 said:

I see many damaged planes flying and eventually dogfighting withour tail fin, sometime vertical stabilizer and or rudder.

Do you know if it is possible? I knew that the plane would become totally unstable on yaw and probably impossible to recover if it rolls over or spins.

 

Neither is possible. I have seen planes flying with one wing off, which is impossible as well.

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Flying without the rudder is possible in many cases, although control at low speed will be poor. You would need to land fast to stay straight.  Look at some of the pictures in @[DBS]Browning's post.  Easier in a bomber designed to be stable than in fighters, no doubt. 

 

Some aircraft - the Spitfire comes to mind - were recommended to be flown without use of the rudder at all except during slow speed flight, take off and landing.  Losing the rudder will of course reduce the stabilizing effect of the tail as a whole, but it does not mean that a plane will not still weathervane towards a neutral point. 

 

Personally I have never been able to survive the loss of the vertical stab, and I have never seen anyone else do it either, so I am a bit skeptical that this is a frequent event. 

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IL-2 GB certainly sometimes portrays aircraft flying under control with what appears to be implausible levels of damage.  Part of this may be down to the 'damage model' aircraft not always corresponding to the 'graphical model' one. Beyond that, there are limits to what a practical simulation can model. I suspect that part of the issue is that real-life damage of the level necessary to say remove the fin of an aircraft would be likely to damage other systems as well, e.g. ripping the fin off a typical fighter would quite likely compromise elevator control too. Maybe the damage model / flight model interaction could be improved then, but I think we need to be realistic. If there are obvious specific issues, collect the necessary evidence and submit it as a bug report. Otherwise, we should probably accept it as a work in progress: I don't think any other air combat sim has modelled damage any better.

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Even after losing more than 1/3 of it's wing, a plane may not need extreme deflection on it's one remaining aileron to stay flying. With stronger aileron deflection and higher speed, even more wing loss may be tolerable.

In fact, with plenty of speed and a little body lift, some planes can land with only one wing.

Or even no wings at all!

Edited by [DBS]Browning
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There was a whole thread about this wing loss issue: that Spitfire has lost less than 25% of it's wing area and even less of it's lift and still has a functional aileron. I do not know how controllable a real Spitfire would be in those circumstances, and I suspect that the vast majority of pilots would not stay in the plane to find out, but no one was able to come up with reasons in principle why that plane could not have been landed.  

Edited by unreasonable
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Didn't the Spitfire DM get revised because of this? I seem to remember seeing something about it, though maybe I'm imagining it.

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Not sure: digging through the DDs is hard work. There is an enormous quantity of information in them and they make good reading as they appear, but are not especially easy to use for reference.

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I've once had my vertical stabilizer knocked off clean in an A-20 by one direct hit of a 37mm German Flak. I had a friend directly behind me who was also in a Havoc that told me immediately of the situation. Quickly I used differential thrust to maintain directional control and not yaw into a spin. I was able to fly all the way back to base and land successfully using only differential thrust to yaw left and right. I wish I had video evidence to prove it but I do have a friend who witnessed it all and video of me getting my vertical stabilizer blown off.

 

https://streamable.com/m3y6g

 

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Thank you for your answers! My question was a genuine curiosity! I'm now uploading a video on youtube showing my last examples I've experienced in the past two weeks. 

I will update this message with the link as soon as the video will be on YouTube

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5 hours ago, Tony_Kito said:

I've once had my vertical stabilizer knocked off clean in an A-20 by one direct hit of a 37mm German Flak. I had a friend directly behind me who was also in a Havoc that told me immediately of the situation. Quickly I used differential thrust to maintain directional control and not yaw into a spin. I was able to fly all the way back to base and land successfully using only differential thrust to yaw left and right. I wish I had video evidence to prove it but I do have a friend who witnessed it all and video of me getting my vertical stabilizer blown off.

 

https://streamable.com/m3y6g

 

In that video I noticed the bombs had a very peculiar motion, they would go back and then accelerate like rockets. Pretty strange.

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13 minutes ago, IckyATLAS said:

In that video I noticed the bombs had a very peculiar motion, they would go back and then accelerate like rockets. Pretty strange.

 

Multiplayer.  Not unusual for bombs to take a little while to work out where they're going after release.:)

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In real life usually not.  The destabilization of losing the whole stabilizer would gradually make the plane uncontrollable.  A classic and tragic example is the Japanese 747 that went down after a structural failure caused the loss of the entire stabilizer.  The crew kept it n the air for a very long time.  Their efforts were remarkable.  In the end though the plane kept oscillating until it finally became uncontrollable and crashed.  That is an example of an aircraft that was designed for stability.  I don't think a small single engine fighter would offer any better odds.

Edited by PatrickAWlson
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In real life you might loose the rudder and can get away with it, if lucky.

 

But if you loose the vertical stab most planes will loose control, specially single engine fighters.

 

In this sim, graphically you loose the rudder and vertical stab, but its the case of the graphics not representing the real damage.

Damage might be rudder and vertical with holes , rudder wont work, graphically shows ruder and vertical gone.

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8 hours ago, II./JG77_motoadve said:

In real life you might loose the rudder and can get away with it, if lucky.

 

But if you loose the vertical stab most planes will loose control, specially single engine fighters.

 

In this sim, graphically you loose the rudder and vertical stab, but its the case of the graphics not representing the real damage.

Damage might be rudder and vertical with holes , rudder wont work, graphically shows ruder and vertical gone.

never thought about this problem in this way... 

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1 hour ago, =FEW=ayamoth89 said:

never thought about this problem in this way... 

 

Looking at your video - good job BTW on showing us exactly what you mean - there were three planes that lost rudders but without losing vertical stab or any other tail surface.

 

If you fly fast you certainly do not need to use rudder in order to manoeuvre, at least in some of these aircraft.  Here, for instance, is an extract from the Spitfire MkII manual.

 

 

Spitrudder1.thumb.JPG.092c8c3eac84728b66162188f29d5f41.JPG

 

Lost a bit off the bottom - it goes on to say "would be needed if performed badly...)

 

Not using rudder is not the same thing as not having a rudder at all, I agree, but if you are flying fast enough that the vertical stab is giving you reasonable yaw stability I see no reason in principle why what happened in you film is impossible, just taking the visible damage at face value.  If someone were to be able to control a single seat fighter without vertical stab or rudder, I would be very surprised. 

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3 hours ago, unreasonable said:

 

Looking at your video - good job BTW on showing us exactly what you mean - there were three planes that lost rudders but without losing vertical stab or any other tail surface.

 

If you fly fast you certainly do not need to use rudder in order to manoeuvre, at least in some of these aircraft.  Here, for instance, is an extract from the Spitfire MkII manual.

 

 

Spitrudder1.thumb.JPG.092c8c3eac84728b66162188f29d5f41.JPG

 

Lost a bit off the bottom - it goes on to say "would be needed if performed badly...)

 

Not using rudder is not the same thing as not having a rudder at all, I agree, but if you are flying fast enough that the vertical stab is giving you reasonable yaw stability I see no reason in principle why what happened in you film is impossible, just taking the visible damage at face value.  If someone were to be able to control a single seat fighter without vertical stab or rudder, I would be very surprised. 

 

 

I totally understand your point. But watching the first 109 doing an Immelman probably quite slow at the highest point and because the 109 requires a lot of rudder input to correct the plane in those situations, probably it should enter an inverted spin that will be impossible to recover.... Maybe more prop wash and P factor will make those situations harder and maybe more realistic 

Edited by =FEW=ayamoth89

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22 hours ago, =FEW=ayamoth89 said:

 

 

I totally understand your point. But watching the first 109 doing an Immelman probably quite slow at the highest point and because the 109 requires a lot of rudder input to correct the plane in those situations, probably it should enter an inverted spin that will be impossible to recover.... Maybe more prop wash and P factor will make those situations harder and maybe more realistic 

P factor is very subtle in this game, I can compared it to a Cessna 172, not 1000HP airplanes.

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interesting theme.

 

Actually we can see enemy planes take a lot of damage...  maybe visuals dont shows real damages... in this case is a very bad new for me

 

 

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While some aircraft might be flown with reasonable success minus the rudder (high-backed aircraft in particular) it would probably require careful control and retaining a bit of speed. Stalling minus rudder and entering a spin would probably be fatal. Quite apart from the likely damage to elevators / controls that Andy pointed out.

 

Losing the whole tail fin would be pretty bas news and while it might be recoverable with skillful flying it would scare the bejesus out of the pilot who would likely have their hands full retaining control.

 

Certainly no real pilot would continue to manoeuvre hard - let alone act aggressively - if this occurred. 

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We should also consider that there is a reporting bias here.

No one ever mentions the countless times where someone lost a stabiliser and crashed, but it is widely reported when one plane stays flying.

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1 hour ago, [DBS]Browning said:

We should also consider that there is a reporting bias here.

No one ever mentions the countless times where someone lost a stabiliser and crashed, but it is widely reported when one plane stays flying.

 

True. From a lot of accounts I cannot recall that many when this actually ocurred in the absence of generally catastrophic damage. A few bombers maybe? Al Deere’s head-on with a 109?

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3 hours ago, [DBS]Browning said:

We should also consider that there is a reporting bias here.

No one ever mentions the countless times where someone lost a stabiliser and crashed, but it is widely reported when one plane stays flying.

 

You could be right... But I had the feeling that this is happening to me more often than it used to be... Anyway I was talking about rudder missing in the video, not the whole stabilizer

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I thought it had long been widely accepted that 3rd party view of damage was not always consistent with that actually suffered by the target aircraft.

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5 minutes ago, EAF19_Marsh said:

I thought it had long been widely accepted that 3rd party view of damage was not always consistent with that actually suffered by the target aircraft.

 

I don't find this argument at all convincing.

If it where the case that the stabiliser has only fallen off visually, but remains in place in every other sense, then you might expect that it was possible to further damage parts that appears to have fallen off by shooting where it used to be. However, this has no effect. You might also expect to be able to tell the difference between a rudder that has visually fallen off and one that has actually fallen off, but these two states are in no way distinct.

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You might not find it convincing, but I believe it has been referenced several times in this thread alone.

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On 1/22/2019 at 1:31 PM, unreasonable said:

 

Looking at your video - good job BTW on showing us exactly what you mean - there were three planes that lost rudders but without losing vertical stab or any other tail surface.

 

If you fly fast you certainly do not need to use rudder in order to manoeuvre, at least in some of these aircraft.  Here, for instance, is an extract from the Spitfire MkII manual.

 

 

Spitrudder1.thumb.JPG.092c8c3eac84728b66162188f29d5f41.JPG

 

Lost a bit off the bottom - it goes on to say "would be needed if performed badly...)

 

Not using rudder is not the same thing as not having a rudder at all, I agree, but if you are flying fast enough that the vertical stab is giving you reasonable yaw stability I see no reason in principle why what happened in you film is impossible, just taking the visible damage at face value.  If someone were to be able to control a single seat fighter without vertical stab or rudder, I would be very surprised. 

Moving on from paragraph 10, above, paragraph 26 of the Spitfire Air Publication also says that rolling is very easy, though the aileron control is extremely heavy at high speed, and may even be done with feet off the pedals, if it is barrelled a little.

 

Happy landings,

 

Talisman

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You still would not want to be manoeuvring sans rudder / fin.

 

After all, those are guides for a functioning aircraft, not one minus major sections. 

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8-engined, turbo-jet modern aircraft with powered flight controls and slab fuselage manages to land. Clearly this demonstres that everyone is wrong.

 

You could also post that pic of that IDF F-15, but that does not demonstrate that aircraft tend to fly minus one wing 😎

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Of course I just posted it to tease 🙂

 

Anyway, it's still a very satisfying flight dynamics model the one we have in IL-2 BoX.

 

We can play with the effect in X-Plane too, by simply editing the aircraft in Plane-Maker and make it's fin & rudder area minimal, or NIL...

Edited by jcomm

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On 1/22/2019 at 3:04 AM, PatrickAWlson said:

In real life usually not.  The destabilization of losing the whole stabilizer would gradually make the plane uncontrollable.  A classic and tragic example is the Japanese 747 that went down after a structural failure caused the loss of the entire stabilizer.  The crew kept it n the air for a very long time.  Their efforts were remarkable.  In the end though the plane kept oscillating until it finally became uncontrollable and crashed.  That is an example of an aircraft that was designed for stability.  I don't think a small single engine fighter would offer any better odds.

 

It' more the loss of all flight controls (inc, crucially, elevator) than the loss of stab that caused the crash of japan air 123, if that's the one you think of.

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