The Ailerons and Airmanship

Ailerons do not turn an airplane. Ailerons control bank angle. As discussed in the January Hangar Talk, the elevator determines how the horizontal component of lift will PUSH the airplane through a change of direction.
Ailerons do not turn an airplane. Ailerons control bank angle. As discussed in the January Hangar Talk, the elevator determines how the horizontal component of lift will PUSH the airplane through a change of direction.
What do the ailerons do? What are they good for? The ailerons roll an airplane on its longitudinal axis. Do not steer with the ailerons. The yolk is not a steering wheel. Ailerons do not move the nose of an airplane. The rudder moves the nose on the vertical axis and the elevator moves the nose on lateral axis. Ailerons control bank and the rolling moment on the longitudinal axis.

The greater the aileron deflection, the faster the roll rate. Do not fly grandma around with fast roll rates, but do practice your turns with a fast roll rate. A fast roll rate directly affects emergency maneuvers. If you do not practice using full defection of ailerons, you could easily become a victim of a mishap. In an emergency, you fly like you train.

Fly with many pilots, and you will see them pull back when rolling into a turn; also few pilots roll out of a turn correctly. A level turn properly executed demands adherence to this fundamental: Always unload the elevator before using the ailerons.

Ailerons and rudder are linked. Rotation on one axis affects rotation on the other axis. We know pilots can fly an airplane without ever using the rudder; but try flying with your hands off the stick and use only the rudder. Many pilots fly a better traffic pattern with hands off the stick. Power maintains stable descent, trim and lateral stability maintains airspeed and linkage between the rudder and ailerons enables the pilot to control bank using only the rudder. Either rudder or aileron alone works; but they work so much better together.

Have you observed aircraft doing shallow S-turns on final approach to landing? Perhaps you have done the same thing. You are aligned with the runway, but the airplane keeps drifting off to the right. Many pilots use the ailerons (turn the yolk) to regain runway alignment only to see the nose once again fall off to the right. It seems you always have a “pesky” cross wind on final. This all too common occurrence is not wind drift, it is descending P-factor. The ailerons should not be used against this yawing moment; instead, hold light left rudder against the yawing moment and the airplane will track straight and true with the wings level on the final approach to landing.

Misuse of the ailerons is typically a cause of pilot of over-control. Newton’s Laws of Motion explain that when you do stuff, other stuff happens. Building on those fundamental principles, this month’s featured video Pilot Induced Instability explains why a pilot should not wiggle the stick. click to watch

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