November 2015 Issue

Coordinated Flight

We usually think of it as requiring more or less rudder for the desired bank angle, but proper coordination requires using all controls, even the throttle.

Most of the time, the typical pilot flying the typical airplane will be in a straight-and-level attitude. When it comes time to join a traffic pattern, for example, enter a holding pattern or fly an ATC vector, we abandon straight-and-level for turning flight. When we turn, we change the airplane’s aerodynamics—the degree of change depends quite literally on the degree of bank—and one outcome can be uncoordinated flight. Ideally, we all would be adept at maintaining coordinated flight, in turns and other maneuvers.

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