Ailerons Explained: Types, Uses and Benefits of Ailerons

Ailerons are control surfaces on the wings of an aircraft that enable the pilot to control the roll motion of the aircraft. They work in opposition, with one aileron moving up while the other moves down, creating a difference in lift and causing the aircraft to roll. There are different types of ailerons used in aircraft design. Here are some common types:

1. Single-Hinged Ailerons

Single-hinged ailerons consist of a single control surface hinged to the trailing edge of the wing. When the pilot operates the control column or stick, the single-hinged ailerons move up and down in opposite directions to induce roll. Single-hinged ailerons are commonly used in small general aviation aircraft.

2. Differential Ailerons

Differential ailerons are designed to create a difference in drag between the rising and descending aileron. As one aileron is deflected upward, the other aileron is deflected downward, but with a smaller angle. This differential movement reduces adverse yaw, the tendency for the aircraft to yaw in the opposite direction of the roll. Differential ailerons are often used in larger aircraft and can improve roll control and coordination.

3. Frise Ailerons

Frise ailerons have an extended leading edge on the lower surface of the upward-moving aileron. This extended edge protrudes into the airflow, creating drag and increasing lift on that side of the wing during roll. Frise ailerons help to reduce adverse yaw and improve roll control at low speeds. They are commonly used in light aircraft and gliders.

4. Flaperons

Flaperons combine the functions of both ailerons and flaps. They act as control surfaces during roll maneuvers and can also be used to increase lift or drag during approach and landing. Flaperons are typically found on aircraft with wings that lack separate flaps and ailerons. They provide versatility in controlling both roll and speed.

5. Interconnected Ailerons

Interconnected ailerons are a system where the movement of one aileron affects the position of the other aileron. This connection can be mechanical or through computerized fly-by-wire systems. The interconnected ailerons can improve roll control and stability, especially in high-performance or fly-by-wire aircraft.

These are some common types of ailerons used in aircraft design. The specific type of aileron used depends on factors such as aircraft size, purpose, and design requirements. The choice of aileron design affects the aircraft’s roll control, handling characteristics, and performance.