February 2011 Issue

Horizontal Lift

Aircraft turns are only one example of a curved flight path. Every curved flight path is produced not with the aileron or rudder but with the pitch control.

When discussing the concept of turning an airplane, there are at least two separate and completely different concepts. One is in the navigational sense of turning to a new course or heading. However, this article is concerned with another concept: moving the airplane in a curved flight path. Curving or bending the flight path changes the airplane’s longitudinal axis orientation with respect to the earth’s surface. Of course, this occurs while moving through the air. This curving flight path is one of only two the airplane can make—the other, unsurprisingly, is straight.

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