[Ref Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, FAA-H-8083-25B Page 6-8]

What’s V-tail design?

two slanted tail surfaces (fixed surface) + ruddervators (movable surfaces)

Source: FAA-H-8083-25B Page 6-8

V-tail design utilizes two slanted tail surfaces to perform the same functions as the surfaces of a conventional elevator and rudder configuration.

The fixed surfaces act as both horizontal and vertical stabilizers;

The movable surfaces, known as ruddervators, are connected through a special linkage to the control column.

The control wheel move both surfaces simultaneously;

The rudder pedals moves the surfaces differentially, thereby providing directional control.

When the pilot moves both controls – both control wheel (elevator control) and rudder pedals (rudder control), a mixing mechanism moves each surface at appropriate amount.


  1. control system for the V-tail is more complex than the control system for a conventional tail
  2. more susceptible to Dutch roll tendencies than a conventional tail
  3. total reduction in drag is minimal


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