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3 Answers

Controllability vs Maneuverability

Asked by: 14462 views Aerodynamics

What is the difference between controllability and maneuverability

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3 Answers

  1. Jim F. on Nov 20, 2013

    Phew, glad that’s over, it was so difficult…

    Or is there an aspect of it which is throwing you off? If so, you should tell us where you are with the struggles so we can actually help…

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  2. Aaron on Nov 20, 2013

    In short, controllability is linked directly to stability and maneuverability is linked to the performance limitations of the aircraft. Controllability refers to how easily the aircraft is disrupted from its current state by pilot control inputs. The more STABLE and aircraft is, the less CONTROLLABLE it is. Think of an F-16. It sacrifices STABILITY for CONTROLLABILTIY. In fact, F-16s are actually negatively stable, meaning they exaggerate any disruptions to flight attitude. Negatively stable aircraft are not controllable by humans, and therefore they are fly-by-wire aircraft. Computer must regulate all inputs to the aircraft.

    Maneuverability on the other hand is a design consideration. It is linked more to performance limitations. It is how easily the aircraft can withstand conditions imparted on it, such as G loading, wight breaking apart or becoming uncontrollable. As in our F-16 example, the F-16 is much more maneuverable and controllable than a Cessna, but the Cessna is many times more stable. This makes it a desirable training airplane, as you can imagine. Here is a good summary of a lesson plan I’ve come across that summarizes the subject well: http://2learn2fly.com/2-D-3.htm

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  3. Brian on Nov 22, 2013

    Stability and control (maneuverability) is a spectrum with control at one extreme and stability at the other. They are both important in designing the airplane. The designers job is to manage the balance of stability and control.

    Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators (http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/media/00-80T-80.pdf) has a wonderful 40-50 pages on stability and control. If you find the technical talk intimidating then skim through them looking for the plain english portions.

    Aaron – “It is how easily the aircraft can withstand conditions imparted on it, such as G loading”

    Structural design deals with the airplanes ability to withstand conditions imparted on it. The g limitation, along with the stall speed, dictate maneuvering speed. It makes no difference how maneuverable the airplane is; maneuvering speed is what it is because of the structural limit and the stall speed limit.

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