Elevons and how they Function

Planes are built with a series of complex mechanisms that allow the pilot to maintain control during flight. Every plane found in the air today requires specific controls in order to maintain flight and properly navigate the crystal blue skies. Even from the very first examples of plane engineering there has been a need for elevators and stabilizers to control a plane during flight. Now with the coming age of technology, where jets crack the sound barrier as though it was just a typical joy ride, there is a new breed of aircraft controls that have emerged known as the “ELEVON”!

Elevons are specific surfaces that utilize airflow to allow directional changes such as altitude control (pitch), lateral axis control (roll), and vertical axis control (Yaw). They make use of a combination of both traditional stabilizer and aileron flap controls, which have been in use since the dawn of flight. Most planes follow a specific equation when it comes to these controls, however a few unique plane designs are devoid of the typical axis of control, and require elevons to manipulate control during flight.

Almost all planes have a fixed vertical and horizontal line of axis and a common type of tail section. These plane types utilize such mechanisms like the elevators (Pitch control) found on the rear stabilizer wing, ailerons (Roll control), which are flaps found on both trailing wing edges, and a rear rudder fin that controls steering (Yaw). There are though a few planes that fall into the Delta-winged class, that have either no tail section at all, or the tail section has barely any functionality, save the stability factor. These arrow or Y shaped planes require a new way to implement the control axis, which is where the elevons come into play.

Similar to a typical aileron the elevon is a flap that is fixed to the trailing edge of the wing, however there are additional flaps that can control the same properties that are determined by the more typical stabilizers in the aft section of non-delta-wing planes. The Concord for example has a total of six elevons that control pitch and roll control. The design of this plane type utilizes an outer elevon that is found at the outer edge tip of the wing. The second elevon is known as the middle elevon, which is right next to the outer elevon. Lastly there is the inner elevon that is closest to the body of the plane. Not every plane utilizes this particular configuration since some planes are completely without a tail section.

Many fighter jets or stealth planes used in the military today utilize elevons for flight control, such as the Nighthawk F-117, SR-17 Blackbird and the infamous alien like B-2 Spirit, which actually utilizes elevons and special thrusters that require complex computer systems to implement Roll and Yaw control.

Many planes still utilize typical flight controls, but with jets that have over exceeded the Mach-1 threshold, additional drag from traditional wing-types or increased stress from higher G-Forces were considered to be almost dangerous in some cases. As planes continue to become larger and faster it is becoming common practice that they stray further from more typical and antiquated control methods. Many theorize that alien intervention has a significant sway in this new breed of stealth technology, but since the inventor of the elevon is classified by the military as “top secret” I guess we will just have to use a bit of common sense!