Flaps or spoilers? - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 05-23-2007, 08:36 AM   #1
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Flaps or spoilers?

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Been flying for almost 5 years now and never had to use Flaps or Spoilers!


1. Why or when to use one over the other? I get the impression that "scale" like planes like warbirds etc use flaps but sailplanes/gliders/hotliners use spoilers? If so why? :

2. I understand that flaps cause a plane to balloon or pitch UP to some extent when flaps are deployed. Does that mean that the opposite is true for spoilers in that the plane pitches DOWN? :

3. Can one or the other be used to compensate for a plane dropping a wing at slower speeds? (eg landing) In other words in the case of flaps since it tends to make a plane pitch up, can one program in more flap travel on the wing that drops, thereby stopping that wing from dropping? (or at least reducing the drop)

If this true/possible then the same should be achievable with spoilers, right? (with opposite compensation of course assuming that spoilers make a plane pitch down)

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Old 05-23-2007, 09:12 AM   #2
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Hello Colin,
Flaps and spoilers do have different functions.
Flaps are used to increase a wings lift when deployed partially as in takeoff, and they also increase drag as in landing mode.
The stall speed of an aircraft can be significantly decreased when flaps are deployed.
Spoilers on the other hand are lift destroyers. They disrupt the airflow over the top of the wing effectively destroying the lift over that section of the wing.
Spoilers are used to loose altitude without increasing airspeed, and to keep an aircraft on the ground after landing as in the case of most commercial airliners.
Some aircraft also use spoilers to aid the ailerons at low airspeeds (as in the Dash
So flaps are used to increase the lift of a wing, and also to increase drag so that landings and takeoffs can be made at a low groundspeed, and spoilers are used to destroy lift mainly to be able to loose altitude without an increase in airspeed, and during the landing roll to kepp an aircraft on the ground.
Hope this helps you.
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Old 05-23-2007, 10:17 AM   #3
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What Dan said.

I'll only add that the sideslips is the scale flyers substitute for spoilers and flaps are a must for to getting a heavy aircraft down safely on a short runway;

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Si fractum non sit, noli id reficere - (If it ain't broke, don't fix it).
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