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Flight Controls (Part Two) – Adverse Yaw

by Flight Learnings

Since the downward deflected aileron produces more lift as evidenced by the wing raising, it also produces more drag. This added drag causes the wing to slow down slightly. This results in the aircraft yawing toward the wing which had experienced an increase in lift (and drag). From the pilot’s perspective, the yaw is opposite the direction of the bank. The adverse yaw is a result of differential drag and the slight difference in the velocity of the left and right wings. [Figure 5-5]

Figure 5-5. Adverse yaw is caused by higher drag on the outside wing, which is producing more lift.
Figure 5-5. Adverse yaw is caused by higher drag on the outside wing, which is producing more lift.

Adverse yaw becomes more pronounced at low airspeeds. At these slower airspeeds aerodynamic pressure on control surfaces are low and larger control inputs are required to effectively maneuver the airplane. As a result, the increase in aileron deflection causes an increase in adverse yaw. The yaw is especially evident in aircraft with long wing spans.

Application of rudder is used to counteract adverse yaw. The amount of rudder control required is greatest at low airspeeds, high angles of attack, and with large aileron deflections. Like all control surfaces at lower airspeeds, the vertical stabilizer/rudder becomes less effective, and magnifies the control problems associated with adverse yaw.

All turns are coordinated by use of ailerons, rudder, and elevator. Applying aileron pressure is necessary to place the aircraft in the desired angle of bank, while simultaneous application of rudder pressure is necessary to counteract the resultant adverse yaw. Additionally, because more lift is required during a turn than when in straight-and-level flight, the angle of attack (AOA) must be increased by applying elevator back pressure. The steeper the turn, the more elevator back pressure is needed.

As the desired angle of bank is established, aileron and rudder pressures should be relaxed. This stops the angle of bank from increasing, because the aileron and rudder control surfaces are in a neutral and streamlined position. Elevator back pressure should be held constant to maintain altitude. The roll-out from a turn is similar to the roll-in, except the flight controls are applied in the opposite direction. Aileron and rudder are applied in the direction of the roll-out or toward the high wing. As the angle of bank decreases, the elevator back pressure should be relaxed as necessary to maintain altitude.

In an attempt to reduce the effects of adverse yaw, manufacturers have engineered four systems: differential ailerons, frise-type ailerons, coupled ailerons and rudder, and flaperons.

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