airplane jet

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When you are in the combat zone, agility of a fighter jet is of utmost importance. But as an engineer, if you have already fiddled around with the wing structure your next option would be to fiddle around with the direction of the thrust.

Thrust Vectoring

Thrust vectoring is primarily used for directional control in rockets and jets. And one achieves this by manipulating the direction of thrust .

This generates the necessary moments (and forces) that enable the directional control of the aircraft. 

An aircraft traditionally has three “degrees of freedom” in aerodynamic maneuverability; pitch, yaw and roll. **

The number of “dimensions” of thrust vectoring relates directly to how many degrees of freedom can be manipulated using only the vectored engine thrust.

Therefore, 2D vectoring allows control over two degrees of freedom (typically pitch plus either roll or yaw) while 3D controls all three.



Lockheed Martin F35B

The F-35B short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant is the world’s first supersonic STOVL stealth aircraft.

It achieves STOVL by swiveling its engine 90 degrees and directing its thrust downward during take off/lvertical landing mode.

In the following gif you can witness the transition from a 90 degree tilted engine towards a forward thrust engine during flying.

Unlike other variants of the Lockheed Martin F-35 the F-35B has no landing hook. And as a result, witnessing its landing is rather pretty special.

But nevertheless, this is one of those posts which addresses a topic that has been a gold mine for research. If this sort of thing fascinated you, there have been a lot of research conducted by NASA do check them out.

Have a great day!


*Rockets - How to turn during flight ?

** Aviation 101 : Pitch Roll and Yaw

This is the only picture ever taken of Concorde flying at Mach 2 at 2,172 km/h (1,350 mph). This unique picture was taken in April 1985 by Adrian Meredith from a Tornado fighter jet, which only rendezvoused with Concorde for just 4 minutes over the Irish Sea. The RAF Tornado rapidly running out of fuel, and was struggling to keep up with Concorde.

The Concorde was a turbojet-powered supersonic passenger jet that operated until 2003. It had a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.04, with seating for 92 to 128 passengers. First flown in 1969, Concorde entered service in 1976 and continued flying for the next 27 years.