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Flight Controls (Part Eight) – Rudder

in Flight Controls

The rudder controls movement of the aircraft about its vertical axis. This motion is called yaw. Like the other primary control surfaces, the rudder is a movable surface hinged to a fixed surface, in this case to the vertical stabilizer, or fin. Moving the left or right rudder pedal controls the rudder.


When the rudder is deflected into the airflow, a horizontal force is exerted in the opposite direction. [Figure 5-15] By pushing the left pedal, the rudder moves left. This alters the airflow around the vertical stabilizer/rudder, and creates a sideward lift that moves the tail to the right and yaws the nose of the airplane to the left. Rudder effectiveness increases with speed; therefore, large deflections at low speeds and small deflections at high speeds may be required to provide the desired reaction. In propeller-driven aircraft, any slipstream flowing over the rudder increases its effectiveness.

Figure 5-15. The effect of left rudder pressure.
Figure 5-15. The effect of left rudder pressure.

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