Naval Flight Officer explains why even though the port inboard stabilizer on the E-2 / C-2 doesn’t have a movable rudder both aircraft have four stabilizers instead of three

Naval Flight Officer explains why even though the port inboard stabilizer on the E-2 / C-2 doesn’t have a movable rudder both aircraft have four stabilizers instead of three

By Dario Leone
May 23 2023
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‘The C-2 was based on the E-2, with a mandate to keep as much commonality as possible. Multiple smaller rudders work perfectly well even if you don’t “need” them,’ Andy Burns, US Navy Surface Warfare & Flight Officer.

The E-2 Hawkeye is the US Navy’s all-weather, carrier-based tactical battle management airborne early warning, command and control aircraft. The E-2 is a twin engine, five crewmember, high-wing turboprop aircraft with a 24-foot diameter radar rotodome attached to the upper fuselage.

As a derivative of the E-2 Hawkeye, the C-2 Greyhound has a common wing with the Hawkeye but has a widened fuselage and a rear loading ramp. The interior arrangement of the cabin can accommodate priority cargo like jet engines, passengers, litter patients and critical spare parts.

Why do the E-2 and C-2 require multiple vertical stabilizers?

Andy Burns, former US Navy Surface Warfare & Flight Officer, explains on Quora;

E-2 print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. E-2C Hawkeye 2000 VAW-112 Golden Hawks, NG600 / 165820 / 2015

‘The E-2 requires multiple vertical stabs because of the airflow around the pylon supporting the rotodome, and because of the height of the pylon-done structure. In order to get enough “clean” airflow and sufficient rudder authority, the choice was either one really tall rudder, or multiple smaller ones. A tall rudder would have required a folding mechanism, like that on the S-3 Viking, in order to fit on the hangar decks of 1960s-era carriers, which would have added weight and complexity and extra demands on the hydraulic system. Multiple rudders was actually the simpler design.

‘The C-2 was based on the E-2, with a mandate to keep as much commonality as possible. Multiple smaller rudders work perfectly well even if you don’t “need” them.’

Burns adds;

‘Fun trivia fact: due to how the air flows around the empennage and the propeller wash, the port inboard stab doesn’t actually do anything. Unlike the other three, it doesn’t have a movable rudder. It’s mostly there for symmetry and to even out weight distribution, but both the E-2 and C-2 could fly perfectly well without it.’

Naval Flight Officer explains why even though the port inboard stabilizer on the E-2 / C-2 doesn’t have a movable rudder both aircraft have four stabilizers instead of three

Photo credit: PHAN JUSTIN BLAKE and PH1(Aw) Shawn P. Eklund, U.S. Navy


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.
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