A tailplane, also known as horizontal stabiliser (and horizontal stabilizer in the US), is a small lifting surface located on the tail (empennage) behind the main lifting surfaces of a fixed-wing aircraft as well as other non-fixed-wing aircraft such as helicopters and gyroplanes. Not all fixed-wing aircraft have tailplanes. Canards, tailless and flying wing aircraft have no separate tailplane, while in v-tail aircraft the vertical stabilizer, rudder, and the tail-plane and elevator are combined to form two diagonal surfaces in a V layout. The tailplane provides stability and control.
In addition the tailplane helps adjust for changes in the center of pressure, and center of gravity caused by changes in speed and attitude, or when fuel is burned off, or when cargo or payload is dropped from the aircraft.
The tailplane comprises the tail-mounted fixed horizontal stabiliser and movable elevator. Besides its planform, it is characterised by:
*Number of tailplanes - from 0 (tailless or canard) to 3 (Roe triplane)
*Location of tailplane - mounted high, mid or low on the fuselage, fin or tail booms.
*Fixed stabilizer and movable elevator surfaces, or a single combined stabilator or ''(all) flying tail''.〔Anderson, John D., ''Introduction to Flight'', 5th ed, p 517〕 (General Dynamics F-111)
Some locations have been given special names:
*Cruciform: mid-mounted on the fin (Hawker Sea Hawk, Sud Aviation Caravelle)
*T-tail: high-mounted on the fin (Gloster Javelin, Boeing 727)
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