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Do You Know These 5 Unique Characteristics Of T-Tail Airplanes?

Have you ever flown a T-tail airplane? Here's how they're different than conventional tail configurations.

Here's what Chapter 6 of the FAA's PHAK has to say about it...

1) Elevator Location

In a T-tail configuration, the elevator is above most of the effects of downwash from the propeller, as well as airflow around the fuselage and/or wings.

2) One Reason For Popularity

T-tail designs have become popular on many light and large aircraft, especially those with aft fuselage-mounted engines because the T-tail configuration removes the tail from the exhaust blast of the engines.

Envoy Airlines

3) Slow Speed Aerodynamics

In comparison with conventional-tail aircraft, the elevator on a T-tail aircraft must be moved a greater distance to raise the nose a given amount when traveling at slow speeds. This is because the conventional-tail aircraft has the downwash from the propeller pushing down on the tail to assist in raising the nose.


4) Control Forces

The forces required to raise the nose of a T-tail aircraft are greater than the forces required to raise the nose of a conventional-tail aircraft. Pilots must be aware that the required control forces are greater at slow speeds during takeoffs, landings, or stalls than for similar size aircraft equipped with conventional tails.

Swayne Martin

5) Stall Tendencies

When flying at a very high AOA with a low airspeed and an aft CG, T-tail aircraft may be more susceptible to a deep stall. In this condition, the wake of the wing blankets the tail surface and can render it almost ineffective. This is one reason you'll find T-tail aircraft equipped with elevator down-springs or stick pushers for stall recovery.

Rod Kellogg

Which T-tail airplanes have you flown? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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