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#240 Leading with Inside Rudder

I was prompted to write this article because of one applicant with whom I recently flew. It seems that until he flew the tailwheel endorsement course, he suffered from a bad coordination habit and no one thought to correct it.

The one fact that this flier hadn’t learned was that the purpose of rudder is to compensate for adverse yaw. Other than certain cross-controlled maneuvers serving as the exception, that is the sole purpose of rudder. But that is not how he used rudder. Instead, he would properly coordinate while rolling into a turn, but once established in that turn, when aileron was properly neutralized, he would leave that inside rudder deflected, causing a skid to the inside of the turn. At first, I tried to simply correct the resulting lack of coordination that this habit caused. But then I realized what was going on and I simply told him that the sole purpose of rudder was to compensate for adverse yaw and that without any aileron, there was no adverse yaw to compensate for. Bingo! The light came on and his problem was over.

Oh, sure, some of that bad rudder work remained, but he realized it and was capable of changing. But the most important thing that this bright and thinking student accomplished was to make me realize how common this error is. And that, aside from the fact that he also fixed my new printer, was what he accomplished while he was here. Oh, and the bottle of fine, single malt Irish whiskey for a bounced takeoff!

4 comments to #240 Leading with Inside Rudder

  • Brian, I have over 400hrs on my C140, and now that it is gone to other caring hands, I’m trying to think and I may have that same habit. Will have to call the new owner to go back for a ride and check this out. 🙂
    I think it may come from the original flight training where they say to apply rudder as we apply aileron. The adverse yaw is explained in the classroom and to use rudder to compensate, but not necessarily to relax on it once compensated. Well it’s been awhile since then, but that is what my memory serve.
    Your articles are always great and forces us to rethink our piloting techniques.

  • I did this too for about a year of my training in a tailwheel and nobody corrected me. Nobody told me that I was correcting for the adverse yaw from the aileron, once neutral I was keeping the rudder in! Thanks Brian!

  • steve oliver

    I’ve always thought that all you have to do is figure out what you want the plane to do and then do it. Yes, it can get complicated but basically it’s pretty simple. As you know, take a kid that’s good with an R/C and half the job is done. Up is always up in relation to the pilot, not the earth, (you splain it Brian). ALWAY’S LEARN IN A TAIL DRAGGER OR SAIL PLANE. Will save you LOT’S of money and make you a real pilot.
    Preachin is over.

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