A control surface is an aerodynamic part that provides reactive force when in motion relative to the surrounding atmosphere. Control surfaces provide greater control and stability to rockets and aircraft, though they are of no use outside of an atmosphere.
Each of the control surfaces has tweakables to enable or disable each control axis. Disabling undesired axes can prevent the craft from over-reacting to control inputs. These can be done in the SPH or VAB, and even after launch.
To provide a good level of control in a given axis, they should be placed far away from the center of mass in the appropriate direction:
- Pitch (elevators): lifts and lowers the nose of the craft around the pitch axis, running from left to right through the center of mass. Typically placed on the horizontal tail fins.
- Yaw (rudders): turns the craft left and right around the yaw axis, running up and down through the center of mass. Typically placed on the vertical tail fin(s).
- Roll (ailerons): rolls the craft around the longitudinal axis, running from nose to tail through the center of mass. Typically placed at the end of the wings.
The Active/Inactive label by the axis indicates whether the control surface responds to input in the given axis.
Control surfaces can be deployed. This represents extending flaps, which increases lift and drag, thus reducing stall speed. This is useful for reducing speed and altitude while maintaining a level attitude for a landing approach. It may be a good idea to start with flaps deployed and bind toggling them to the "gears" action group.
Table of Control Surfaces
|Lift|| Deflection Range
|AV-R8 Winglet||640||0.1||2 000||12||0.5||15||0.95|
|Standard Canard||720||0.1||2 000||12||0.5||20||0.95|
|Advanced Canard||800||0.08||2 000||12||0.4||20||0.95|
|Delta-Deluxe Winglet||600||0.08||2 000||12||0.65||15||0.2|
|Tail Fin||600||0.125||2 000||12||0.61||25||1.0|
|FAT-455 Aeroplane Tail Fin||1 000||0.08||1 200||15||2.69||15||0.2|
|Big-S Spaceplane Tail Fin||2 500||0.45||2 000||15||3.49||25||0.29|
|Elevon 1||400||0.05||2 000||15||0.25||20||0.95|
|Elevon 2||550||0.06||2 000||15||0.30||20||0.95|
|Elevon 3||650||0.08||2 000||15||0.42||20||0.95|
|Elevon 4||400||0.04||2 000||15||0.18||20||0.95|
|Elevon 5||800||0.08||2 000||15||0.4||20||0.95|
|Big-S Elevon 1||950||0.15||2 000||15||0.77||25||1.0|
|Big-S Elevon 2||1 300||0.23||2 000||15||1.16||25||1.0|
|FAT-445 Aeroplane Control Surface||800||0.17||1 200||15||0.86||15||1.0|
|A.I.R.B.R.A.K.E.S[Note 1]||500||0.05||2 000||8||0.38||70||1.0|
- A.I.R.B.R.A.K.E.S are classified as an "Aero Surface" in the part configuration files and in-game.