Ask an Explainer
How are tailless airplanes stable enough to fly?
A tailless airplane has no separate horizontal stabilizer. The horizontal stabilizer helps keep the airplane aligned with its direction of motion. If the airplane tilts up or down, air pressure increases on one side of the stabilizer and decreases on the other, pushing it back to its original position. The stabilizer also holds the tail down, countering the tendency of the nose to tilt downward—a result of the airplane’s center of gravity being forward of the wing’s center of lift. For more on aircraft stability, check out https://howthingsfly.si.edu/flight-dynamics/control-surfaces.