MD-88 question for Doug


New Member
I have noticed that the elevator portion on the tail of the -88 seems to "flop" around when sitting in the gate or even taxing. I know that the hydraulics usually cause that to remain tight but the -88 is different whats the reason? One guy suggested that they are on screws and are free like that until until constant pressure (wind) over the surface? Can you enlighten me?
Your friend is pretty close. I'm not exactly sure but the entire pitch of the aircraft is controlled by those six small tabs on the back of the elevator surface. The actual elevator is moved aerodynamically by those six control tabs.

So when you're at the gate on a windy day and you hear "BAM! BAM! BAM!" that's the elevator flopping around.

The six tabs consist of 2 control tabs, 2 geared tabs, and 2 'anti-float' tabs.

Even with hydraulic pressure on the -88, those things flop around until there's sufficient airflow over them during takeoff.
Thats what we were thinking since on the supertug we get behind you guys sometimes and think you are playing with the controls....haha. I know on the 737-200 the rudder acts the same way on a windy day.

When are you back in ATL again...
A couple times tomorrow!

We fly GSO-ATL-SDF-ATL then I fly home to PHX.

What terminal are you working? Funny thing is that "Swabby" was taking my aircraft to ORD after landing in ATL today. Kind of funny!
I work from 930 pm to 6 am. Our base is actually over at Delta North ( old eastern hanger). Well maybe soon we can grab a Starbuck..