Controlling Gyroscopic Yaw a Stick and Rudder Skill

This airplane started recovery from a very steep dive with the wings level. At this point in the recovery the right wing is low (airplane is banked right). The airplane will change heading approximately 45 degrees during this recovery. A right turn will always occur during recovery from a dive when the pilot fails to recognize and control gyroscopic yaw.
This airplane started recovery from a very steep dive with the wings level. At this point in the recovery the right wing is low (airplane is banked right). The airplane will change heading approximately 45 degrees during this recovery. A right turn will always occur during recovery from a dive when the pilot fails to recognize and control gyroscopic yaw.
The spinning propeller of a single engine airplane is a big gyroscope. As such it can exert very powerful forces on an airplane. If you apply a force that deflects the spinning plane of a propeller, the gyroscopic effect from that deflection applies an equivalent force against the plane of rotation that is in the same direction, but at a point 90 degrees forward in the direction of rotation.

Say what?
OK, that was heavy!

Let me say it differently. When a pilot pulls back on the stick, the airplane will pitch up, and gyroscopic force will yaw the nose to the right. When a pilot pushes the stick forward, the airplane will pitch down, and gyroscopic force will yaw the nose to the left. The proficient stick and rudder pilot will apply left rudder to counteract the gyroscopic yaw during a pull-up and, conversely, will apply right rudder to counteract yaw during a pushing maneuver.

Do not get gyroscopic yaw confused with P-factor. A propeller-driven airplane will experience yaw during climbs and descents because of the asymmetrical thrust between rising and descending propeller blades. That is called P-factor, and the yawing moments are opposite from gyroscopic yawing.

Key Point: Use the left rudder during a pull-up to control gyroscopic yaw, and switch to the right rudder during a subsequent climb to control yaw resulting from P-factor.

Click here to see this month’s feature video. Stick and Rudder Skills is the teaser for my Key Points DVDs.

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