What is an Elevator?
As a plane gains or loses altitude, corrections sometimes need to be made
in order to maintain course. Elevators control one of the rotations,
A plane's pitch is its rotation around a horizontal axis, in other words,
its rotation up and down. For a pilot to make a pitch roll, he pushes or
pulls on the yoke. For a pilot to make a roll forward, he would push on
the control stick. In doing so, the elevators would roll to a downward
orientation, so that the air is deflected downwards.
One of the basic fundamentals of flight is the fact that air is slightly
- it sticks to surfaces. Elevators use this principle to cause the
plane to change its pitch. As the airflow meets the front surface of the
wing, it is traveling straight forward. However, if the flaps are, for
example, down, the air coming off the wings will be forced by the
elevators downwards. The force on the air by the elevators is returned by
the air, pushing back up on the elevators. Since the elevators are held
firmly in place on the tail, the tail is pushed upwards, causing the plane
to roll forwards.
is the force of rotation - it's a turning push. Because the
elevators are situated well behind the center of mass of the plane, they
have a much greater torque. With the large distance, it is easier for the
elevators to cause a change in the pitch of the plane. However, with their
small distance horizontally from the body of the plane, they are unable to
cause any major change in the roll.