August 2011 Issue

About The Vertical Axis

Itís much easier to compensate for yaw generated by ailerons and a nose-mounted engine if you understand whatís going on and can anticipate it.

Conventional airplanes have three primary flight controls: ailerons to manage rolling about the longitudinal axis, elevators/stabilators to establish and maintain the desired pitch about the lateral axis, and a rudder to deal with any yawing moments around the vertical axis. All three of these axes meet and pass through the airplaneís center of gravity and, when used correctly, are coordinated to produce smooth, efficient flight. If one spends much time listening to the old-timers populating FBO pilot lounges, todayís pilots donít know how to use the rudder to manage yaw, especially when flying an older airplane or one with a tailwheel.

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