AILERON/RUDDER MIXING EXPLAINED
Model Airplane News|February 2021
Build good habits now and fly better tomorrow

As the name implies, adverse yaw is an adverse or unfavorable condition that, among other things, delays achieving solo abilities. Traditionally, until his or her skills improve, struggling and committing to many hours of practice before soloing has been the assumed burden of a student pilot. Unknowingly and unnecessarily, novices have been fighting the additional challenge of flying with adverse yaw. Indeed, novice pilots have always assumed the lack of correlation between their control inputs/intentions and the response of the plane to be due to wind (or the need for more practice), when in fact adverse yaw has been a big factor!

This article details the practice of using aileron/rudder transmitter mixing to eliminate adverse yaw, i.e., the inherent opposite yaw or skid that is especially pronounced during aileron deflections on fl at-bottom-wing aircraft, such as those used for primary flight training. It’s probably safe to say that most of the people reading this learned to fly at the side of a recreational flier/instructor with little preflight preparation. As a result, most pilots are conditioned to “react” to what the airplane does, as opposed to having a plan and pro-actively controlling the plane. Consequently, most pilots naturally think that getting better at making corrections, having good reflexes, and experiencing more stick time are the keys to becoming a better flier. Rarely does adverse yaw or the advantages of aileron/rudder mixing when learning to fly ever come up. However, if you were to objectively compare the results achieved when training with aileron/rudder mixing versus without, you would discover an immediate improvement inconsistency and the rate of learning.

ADVERSE YAW

Space does not permit going into all the aerodynamics involved during aileron deflections, so put simply, adverse yaw is caused by the wing with the down-aileron generating more lift and therefore more drag than the wing with the raised aileron. While banking into turns, making course corrections, or exiting turns, this drag differential causes the airplane to yaw/ skid in the opposite direction in which the ailerons are applied. Therefore, pilots have to hold in the aileron longer to overcome the adverse skid. This causes an increase in the potential for over-controlling as well as the need to deal with a lack of consistency caused by the out-of-sync relationship between control inputs and the response of the plane. As a rule, adverse yaw is most pronounced on high-lift, flat-bottom wing aircraft and gets worse at slower airspeeds and/or when making larger aileron inputs. This explains why some people can fly a flat-bottom wing trainer around, but then struggle to control the plane during slower speed landings. (For example, adverse yaw is so severe on a scale Piper Cub, that when flown near stall speed, it will actually turn left when right aileron is applied and vice-versa!) Also, since the principle effect of wind is exaggerating deviations that would otherwise be minor on calmer days, adverse yaw creates a whole slew of problems when trying to fly a trainer in windy conditions.

Some common approaches to reduce the effects of adverse yaw in RC have been: flying at higher speeds, making the trainer less stable and more maneuverable by lessening wing dihedral, differential aileron travel (more up-aileron travel than down), avoiding wind, accepting it as how trainers fly, and continued reassurance from club members that the student will eventually “get it” with more practice. All of these only help to small and varying degrees.

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