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Corkscrew Effect

 Corkscrew Effect

  • The high-speed rotation of an aircraft propeller gives a corkscrew or spiraling rotation to the slipstream. At high propeller speeds and low forward speed (as in the takeoffs and approaches to power-on stalls), this spiraling rotation is very compact and exerts a strong sideward force on the aircraft’s vertical tail surface.
  • When this spiraling slipstream strikes the vertical fi n it causes a turning moment about the aircraft’s vertical axis.
  • The more compact the spiral, the more prominent this force is.
  • As the forward speed increases, however, the spiral elongates and becomes less effective. The corkscrew flow of the slipstream also causes a rolling moment around the longitudinal axis.
  • Note that this rolling moment caused by the corkscrew flow of the slipstream is to the right, while the rolling moment caused by torque reaction is to the left—in effect one may
  • be counteracting the other.
  •  However, these forces vary greatly and it is the pilot’s responsibility to apply proper corrective action by use of the flight controls at all times.
  • These forces must be counteracted regardless of which is the most prominent at the time.


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