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A twin-tailed B-25 Mitchell in flight.

A twin tail is a specific type of vertical stabilizer arrangement found on the empennage of some aircraft. Two vertical stabilizers — often smaller on their own than a single conventional tail would be — are mounted at the outside of the aircraft's horizontal stabilizer. This arrangement is also known as an H-tail.[1]

Contents

Design

Separating the control surfaces allows for additional rudder area or vertical surface without requiring a massive single tail. On multi-engine propeller designs twin fin and rudders operating in the propeller slipstream give greater rudder authority and improved control at low airspeeds, and when taxiing. A twin tail can also simplify hangar requirements, give dorsal gunners enhanced firing area, and in some cases reduce the aircraft's weight. It also affords a degree of redundancy - if one tail is damaged, the other may remain functional.

Many canard aircraft designs incorporate twin tails on the tips of the main wing. Very occasionally, three or more tails are used, as on the Breguet Deux-Ponts, Lockheed Constellation and Boeing 314 Clipper. A very unusual design can be seen on the E-2 Hawkeye, which has two additional vertical tails fixed to the horizontal stabilizer between the normal vertical twin-tail surfaces. This arrangement was chosen for the stringent size limitations of carrier-based aircraft.

The twin tail of a Chrislea Super Ace, built in 1948

Significant aircraft with twin tails include the B-24 Liberator, Avro Lancaster, and P-38 Lightning. The arrangement is not limited to World War II-vintage aircraft, however. Many fighter aircraft, like the F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, Sukhoi Su-27, and A-10 Thunderbolt II, make use of twin tail configurations, as do civilian and cargo designs like the Antonov An-14, Antonov An-22, Antonov An-28, Antonov An-38, Antonov An-225, Beechcraft 18, Beriev Be-12, ERCO Ercoupe, Burt Rutan’s Long-EZ and SpaceShipOne also Shorts 330.

Future Aircraft

Airbus has filed a patent for a new, twin-tail, trijet design, but it is unknown if this will ever come to market.[2]

Surf

Twin tail is also a surfboard type.

See also

References

  1. ^ Schiff, Barry: Flying, page 15. Golden Press, New York, 1971. Library of Congress 78-103424
  2. ^ http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2008/04/18/223089/airbus-files-patent-for-new-trijet-design.html Airbus files patent for new trijet design, FlightGlobal.com, Retrieved 2008-12-11.
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