Rudder: Use it to Fly Better!

Rudder: Use it to Fly Better!

Actually, pilots should begin their flying careers by using rudder from the very beginning. One of the ways we used to help beginner pilots is by programming in an aileron/rudder mix from the very start. This improves the plane’s performance by eliminating adverse yaw, which is the opposite yaw or skid inherent with aileron deflections on flat-bottom-wing planes, the very ones many new pilots start with. What is important is that adverse yaw grows worse at slower speeds and/or with larger inputs. This is why some pilots, who seem to fly around OK, struggle with controlling their planes during landing.

By coordinating rudder deflection with the aileron (rudder moving in the same direction), you prevent the nose from skidding to the left. Adverse yaw is thus prevented; banks and corrections, even rolls, will be smooth and axial, and you will feel more connected to the plane.

When a loop-or any maneuver related to one-is performed in a crosswind, the airplane will drift sideways with the wind during the slower portion of the loop. This drift will generally happen as the plane rounds over the top of the loop. Consequently, a loop that was entered on a parallel flight path with the runway will exit downwind-no longer tracking parallel. If you don’t use the rudder, you will have to do a number of corrections afterwards to reestablish the preferred parallel track taken at the start of the loop.

To correct cross-wing drift, apply rudder in the opposite direction the wind is blowing. For example, if the crosswind will blow the plane to the left, a right-rudder wind correction would prevent it. Ailerons are for keeping the wings level before and during a loop. Don’t try to correct wind drift by creating a new [wing] deviation using aileron; sideways wind drift is a function of yaw, not roll.


  1. I learned to fly on a 3 channel plane and at my club I see even the best of the pilots fighting to land their planes in a good cross wind they always ask me how I keep my plane coming in strength snd level. I don’t have them programmed for mix it’s habit for me. I find that pilots who started with rudder only control don’t have these issues. At my local club I’ve won against much better pilots at pin point landings contest it should be taught at the beginner level with no mixing programed them it’s becomes habit without having to think about it.

  2. Excellent information!

  3. How much programming in an aileron/rudder mix should one use?

  4. The artical should mention that Adverse Yaw is the result of the DOWN aileron a flat bottom wing creating more drag than the UP aileron on the other end of the wing.

  5. Lift creates drag, consequently the wing with higher lift also creates more drag. Not the position of aileron, lift is the cause of drag.

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