Airplane rudder controls...which way?

I know this is a really dumb question...I know a lot about planes, and how they work and how to fly them, more than most people...but I just realized that I hadn't thought of this since years ago. Well, this is a 2-part question...first, in a plane, to yaw RIGHT, you push the RIGHT rudder pedal, correct? It's not like "opposite", where you'd push the LEFT pedal to yaw RIGHT, is it? That's JUST yaw, no banking or anything.

For the second part of the question, I'm assuming that I've been correct all along and "Right Rudder=Right Yaw".

When one begins a right-hand turn, you bank to the right...then, does the nose tend to "dive" INTO the turn, so you have to use LEFT rudder to keep the turn coordinated, or does the nose try to go LEFT, OUT of the turn, so you have to use the RIGHT rudder to keep the nose pointing into the turn?

I'm embarrassed to even ask, but I realized that I don't actually know! I always assumed that "right rudder yaws right", and to turn to the right, one banks right and pushes the right rudder pedal, yawing into the turn. But I was just thinking of centrifugal force (or centripetal, rather), and couldn't decide whether it would try to resist the nose turning into the bank, forcing you to use rudder to yaw into the turn, or if gravity would try to pull the nose down, forcing you to use the rudder to yaw AGAINST the turn so you don't go into a dive when you bank.

Any help would be awesome...a US(i)* $50,000 prize is being offered....

*US(i) = United States (imaginary) Dollars

16 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Best Answer

    You are correct in your assumption that pushing on the right rudder peddle yaws the aircraft to the right. You push on the right rudder peddle, the rudder deflects to right (as seen from behind the airplane), the relative wind hits the rudder pushing the tail of the airplane to the left causing the nose to go right.

    Second, when an aircraft is initially put into a bank, the nose usually tends to go outside of the turn due to what is known as adverse yaw. (i.e. when the airplane is banked to the right, right rudder is needed in the initial part of the turn to keep the turn coordinated.) Adverse yaw is created by the deflected aileron on the on the wing that is being raised. For example if you move the flight controls to put the aircraft in a bank to the right, the aileron on the right wing is raised reducing the angle of attack therefore reducing the amount of lift that wing is producing cause it to drop. During this same turn the aileron on the left wing is lowered, creating a higher angle of attack on the left wing, which causes a greater amount of lift to be produced which raised the wing and puts the aircraft into a bank. That being said, as you increase the angle of attack on the left wing, and therefore create more lift, you also create a larger amount of drag. This drag pulls back on the left wing and in turn causes the nose of the airplane to want to yaw to the left. This is the the reason the right rudder is needed as you roll into a turn to the right.

    The next thing you need to remember is the the amount of rudder pressure needed will not be the same once the turn is established. Depending and the type of aircraft, different amounts of rudder pressure will be needed for different bank angles. In a shallow bank (one in which the aircraft would tend to correct itself back to wings level if control pressure was not applied to stay in the turn) right rudder will still be needed once established in a right turn due to the need of right aileron pressure to hold the aircraft in the turn. In a medium bank (one in which the aircraft will remain in the turn at a steady bank angle if the controls were in the neutral position) little if any rudder pressure SHOULD be needed because the ailerons are not deflected there for not creating adverse yaw. In a steep bank (one in which the bank angle will continue to become greater if aileron pressure in the opposite direction of the turn is not applied) it may even be possible that left rudder would be needed in a right turn because of the direction the aileron pressure has now been applied.

    It is also good to remember that rudder pressure will be needed when rolling out of a turn. If you are in a turn to the right, and wish to return back to wings level, left rudder will be needed as the wings return to level.

    So the best way to think about it is in most cases, the direction the nose moves and the direction of rudder pressure needed in a turn, does not necessarily depend on which way the wings are currently banked but what direction of aileron pressure is being applied. Your hands and feet should always be in sync. If your hands go right, right rudder. If your hands go left, left rudder.

    Hope this helps and that I haven't confused you!

  • Barry
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Fanman is right. Basically, the bank angle does the turning, elevator keeps the nose up, and the rudder inputs are just to prevent a slip.

    The only exception to this would be with an extreme bank angle approaching 90 degrees (aerobatic maneuver). In that case, top rudder would tend to keep the nose up. Don't try that without an aerobatic instructor on board. This would not be a normal maneuver.

    Regarding rudder direction, a bit of trivia is that some of the very earliest airplanes built in France had the rudder set up to work in the opposite direction. There was no standard established yet and they reasoned that a bicycle steers left when you push on the right side of the handle bars, so an airplane should yaw like that.

    Also, anyone who has ridden the common Flexible Flyer snow sled will be used to "push right foot to turn left" controls (opposite of the standard airplane controls).

  • 3 years ago

    Airplane Rudder

  • ?
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Every rudder is designed for it's use. In a small plane, or sailboat, the rudders are relatively large. I have a 30' sailboat which has a rudder a little larger than a Cessna 172. The rudders on a 32 Bayliner Motor yacht are much smaller. Just as the rudder on a Boeing 757 is smaller than a Supertanker. The factors of speed, weight,and needed control have more influence than medium like air or water. I hope this helps.

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  • 10 years ago

    Right turn - Bank Right, apply right rudder, apply slight back force to keep the nose level, its called coordinated turns! Most people forget it take all three forces to turn. You can bank right, apply left rudder and actually not turn at all but you will feel the odd forces against you. That technique can be used in a crosswind landing it is called a SLIP. Just be really careful, done incorrectly or too slow it will result in a stall "instant spin".

    All turns need aileron and rudder the rudder keeps the "ball" centered during the turn. Ever use the turn and bank indicator,, that is what the BALL is there to help you stay coordinated in a turn or even in level flight.

    Source(s): TL
  • 4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    Airplane rudder controls...which way?

    I know this is a really dumb question...I know a lot about planes, and how they work and how to fly them, more than most people...but I just realized that I hadn't thought of this since years ago. Well, this is a 2-part question...first, in a plane, to yaw RIGHT, you push the RIGHT rudder...

    Source(s): airplane rudder controls way:
  • 10 years ago

    You are correct about the orientation of the rudder pedals. You press the right pedal forward to yaw to the right, and you press the left pedal forward to yaw to the left. The rudder moves in the direction of the pedal that you press forward.

    And yes, pressing the rudder theoretically affects the yaw axis only. In practice, various interactions produce an indirect effect on other axes, but in principle the rudder is just for yaw.

    When you begin a bank to the right, the aircraft tends to yaw in the opposite direction, to the left. You add rudder in the direction of the bank to counteract this. When coming out of the turn, you use opposite rudder. The degree to which you must add rudder in either case depends a lot on the design of the aircraft: some aircraft require a lot of rudder, others almost none at all.

  • FanMan
    Lv 5
    10 years ago

    You are correct; pushing the right rudder yaws the plane to the right (nose moves to the right).

    However, the rudder is primarily a coordinating control... as you roll, say, to the right, adverse yaw from the aileron action makes the aircraft tend to yaw to the _left_... so a bit of right rudder is used to counteract it. Once in the turn, a bit of back stick (up elevator) keeps the nose up, not opposite rudder... the rudder stays pretty much centered once the bank angle is established, until it's time to roll back out of the bank again.

    Source(s): 35+ years of flying
  • 10 years ago

    Wow, such experts. FanMan got it right, with a small caveat for torque (at takeoff power in a Mustang or similar high performance piston, you can turn left and still have some right rudder in -- just not as much depending on the power). Planes do not "naturally" turn left except at slow speed and high power -- that's torque and P factor.

  • 10 years ago

    yes you are correct, rudder the direction you want to turn.

    if you just use aileron to turn, without rudder you will still turn that direction, but the nose kind of 'slip' out the opposite direction. its called an uncoordinated turn, and the planes' nose just kinda floats uncontrollably around the turn, its just not the correct method.

    now, because of left turning tendency (the plane turns, to the left, by itself, because of the downward force of the prop on the one side), the plane naturally wants to drift or turn that way, depending on speed, and pitch. during a climbing left turn for example, no left rudder is actually needed, because of the 'turning tendency'

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