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Gyroscopes for direct stabilization of aircraft

  1. Jan 29, 2005 #1
    Is it possible to use big gyroscopes to directly control yaw, pitch and rotation of aircraft?

    Let's make the assumption that the system must be able to produce a specific moment (force couple) for an arbitrary length of time, without the power necessary to do so increasing.

    An example application could be to counteract the aerodynamic pitching moment from a wing, without using a tail.

    My guess is that it is impossible to achieve what I've described above, but I have no proof. (1)

    If gyroscopes had the ability to simply resist rotation along rotation-vectors perpendicular to their axies of rotation, one could put a pack of three perpendicular gyroscopes in the center of the plane, and then rotate the aircraft by turning this gyro-pack around in a calculated manner.

    think three pairwise perpendicular gyroscopes spinning at the same rate would just cancel out, and would show no gyroscopic effects. (2)

    Can anyone prove or give a counterexample for either of statements (1) and (2)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2005 #2


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    Welcome to PF!

    They do have such devices which they use in satellites.

    The reason they don't include them with aircraft is that they would have to be extremely heavy to have any sort of an effect. Like the spacecraft version, they'd only be good for a certain period of time before they have to be counter-rotated (spacecraft utilize thrusters to de-spin their gyros).

    Those two factors (and others I'm sure) simply means that utilizing the environment for attitude control is much more effective.
  4. Feb 4, 2005 #3
    I've read one Master Thesis on gyro's directlly controling things. The thing was acctually a boat though, not a plane. It circled large amounts of water through the hull and kept a straight course for the boat in a rough sea. Its not really a gyro you'd normally think of, but its the same princle...conservation of angular momentum. It should be on file somewhere at UCDavis if you care to take a gander.

  5. Jun 24, 2008 #4
    A colleague of mine thought of the idea of using gyroscopes to keep an aeroplane stabilised while in vertical flight. I was wondering if such a theory would be possible and what the benifits would actually be of using gyroscopic stabilization.

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