Thursday, September 13, 2007


The rudder controls movement of the airplane 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.

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, so 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.

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