April 2010 Issue

Asymmetry In Action

Know how and when to use imbalance and asymmetry to your benefit.

Symmetry. Balance. These concepts are universal to virtually all human philosophy and aesthetics. An aviation credo is that "if an airplane design looks good, it will fly good." In most cases, "looking good" means having proportions—and symmetry—that please the eye. We strive for balance and symmetry in the way we fly as well. Pitch attitudes. Bank angles. Airspeeds. Rudder coordination. Almost everything we do is designed to make maneuvers steady and balanced. Some of the most challenging maneuvers on practical tests make us demonstrate symmetry, with airspeeds, altitudes and bank angles at one point of the maneuver equaling those at others, and balanced rudder input throughout. But there are times when we must violate the concept of symmetry to make the airplane perform. Most notably, this means something other than balanced rudder input.

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