Extreme Slip to Landing

Extreme Slip to Landing

At the 1994 Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas, NV, I saw an extreme slip to landing performed by David Von Linsowe’s giant-scale Extra 300S during his freestyle program—it was choreographed to music with the engine off! Ever since that flight, this maneuver has caught my eye. You don’t often see an aircraft slip in the yaw axis while the flight path is parallel with the runway during landing!

However, executing the extreme side slip to landing requires a pilot to be comfortable with using rudder as well as cross-controlling rudder and aileron input. It is important to understand the balance of these two inputs, as all airplanes respond to control inputs in a different manner. If too much rudder and/or aileron are used to perform the extreme slip, the pilot may become overwhelmed when his aircraft performs a variation of the negative snap roll. After all, the commands are similar!

To perform this maneuver, you’ll want an aerobat that excels at both precise and extreme maneuvers. It should have strong rudder authority (side-force generators, which increase the side area of the model and increase the airplane’s rudder authority, definitely help!).


Like all landings, this one is no different. You should perform a downwind leg, turn on to base, and turn on to final so the aircraft is traveling into the wind. At that point, line up with the runway. To initiate the slip, a slight amount of aileron will bank the aircraft about 15 degrees in roll, and opposite rudder input will cause the aircraft to slip in the yaw axis.

As soon as the slip has begun, you will need to balance aileron and rudder to keep a constant slip in motion. In addition, use elevator and throttle to keep a constant descent and to bring the aircraft to a three-point landing. Before the aircraft touches the ground, though, release rudder and aileron inputs to stop the slip and to straighten out. Stopping the slip before the flare is key, so both main wheels touch down at the same time. Done properly, the airplane will track straight down the runway and the side load on the landing gear will be reduced.

Now, let’s simplify matters and divide this exciting landing into four steps.

STEP 1. Begin by lining the aircraft up with the runway, traveling into the wind. In this example, the landing will be from right to left, and the aircraft will be rolled to the left so that the top of the model is visible during the approach. Apply a small amount of left aileron to bank the wings of the aircraft and follow that input with right rudder to establish a slip angle.

STEP 2. Once some rudder has been applied, you’ll need to increase the amount of up-elevator to keep a constant descent angle. Also, use throttle to keep up the speed of the aircraft. Using too much rudder will greatly decrease the speed of the aircraft, but the speed of the airplane also depends on the descent angle.

STEP 3. Keep the nose of the aircraft down slightly and remember to balance rudder and aileron input accordingly. Using too much aileron and rudder input at the same time can result in a negative snap roll variant! Keep the bank angle limited, but add rudder input as needed to keep a graceful slip.

STEP 4. As the airplane approaches the runway, decrease the slip angle by releasing rudder input and correct the bank angle of the wings with the ailerons. Add power as needed to keep the speed of the aircraft up and perform a flare. The best manner to approach this portion of the maneuver is to wait until the last moment before touchdown.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Extreme Slip to Landing

These are the basic control inputs that are needed in performing this exhilarating maneuver. However, this type of landing is not only a crowd-pleaser; it’s also beneficial during an emergency situation like a motor failure. Occasionally, a motor will fail forcing the pilot to land downwind as the airplane may not be high enough to actually make a lap and turn into the wind. At that point, the pilot should line the aircraft up with the runway and perform a side slip to drop altitude and airspeed if the airplane is traveling faster than desired. As the aircraft approaches the runway, the pilot can level the aircraft out, release rudder and aileron and perform a flare for the perfect emergency approach.

Updated: October 15, 2015 — 9:48 AM


  1. Good article, but it could be better if the illustration could be enlarged so that the captions could be read.

  2. Practice the extreme slip with PLENTY of altitude… Its very easy to have the plane suddenly snap over and do 2 turns of spin (losing a lot of altitude) before you can react.

    You need to know where that happens before attempting the slip near the ground.

    1. +1! AND, every plane is different. Suggest practicing on “low rates” at first. Extreme slip is just as much an advanced maneuver as a HAKE – in fact, more advanced if you transition from the slip to flare at the last moment.

      Shameless plug: Having flown (poorly) at Joe Nall several times the only complement I ever received was for the hard slip to landing from the left with a flare just in time to three point at the edge of the pond. Just wanted “OUT of that furr ball” and started the turn to final WAY HIGH. Yes, total stupid luck – hands were shaking like a wino – but you take what you get…

  3. Awesome article! Learn to do it with all of your model aircraft. The best way to bleed off speed in the event of a dead stick landing.

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