Rudder pedal question

Posted on 2013-10-29
Last Modified: 2013-11-01

I hope that someone is able to help. I am sure that I have misread or misunderstood the following question:

"You are commencing your take-off roll on runway 18 with a westerly wind at 15 knots. Ignoring other potential sources of yaw, which rudder pedal do you need to press in order to keep aligned with the runway centre line?

answer: Left rudder pedal"

Now I thought it would be the right rudder pedal.
Looking at the question, I am taking off on runway 18 which is heading south. If there is a westerly wind at 15 knots then this would be coming from the right hand side to the left of the runway. I should point my ailerons to the right because of the wind and also the wind would be trying to push the aircraft to the left side of the runway? Should this not then be right rudder pedal or have I missed something?

Thanks for the help.


Question by:ross13
LVL 31

Assisted Solution

by:Paul Sauvé
Paul Sauvé earned 100 total points
ID: 39610134
Hmmm - I don't fly, but I'd have to agree with you - I vote for the right pedal.

The rudder is located on the back edge of the vertical stabilizer, or fin, and is controlled by 2 pedals at the pilot's feet. When the pilot pushes the left pedal, the rudder moves to the left. The air flowing over the fin now pushes harder against the left side of the rudder, forcing the nose of the airplane to yaw round to the left.Rudder Yaw
LVL 37

Assisted Solution

TommySzalapski earned 200 total points
ID: 39610372
Are you sure that taking off on Runway 18 means heading south?
LVL 37

Assisted Solution

TommySzalapski earned 200 total points
ID: 39610382
Or does the wind push the back of the plane more than the front? That would also make sense because the front is heavier and the back has the big tail fin.
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LVL 25

Assisted Solution

nickg5 earned 100 total points
ID: 39610402
Does a westerly wind mean that the wind is coming from the west or going to the west?
The correct answer is that winds are named according to the direction FROM which they blow.

If the plane is headed south the wind will blow into the plane from the right side of the plane.
If the plane is headed north the wind will blow into the plane from the left side of the plane.

If the plane you refer to is headed south, then the westerly wind should be trying to push the nose of the plane to the left or to the easterly direction. Since westerly winds come from the west.

You push on the right rudder pedal, and the rudder will deflect to right (as seen from behind the airplane) the wind hits the rudder pushing the tail of the airplane to the left causing the nose to go right.

If the wind is pushing the nose to the left (a westerly wind against a plane headed south) then you want the rudder to push the tail to the left causing the nose to go to the right to combat the wind.

Therefore the correct answer seems to be the "left" pedal because that lets the rudder push the tail to the left and the nose to the right to keep it straight against the westerly (incoming) wind.

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LVL 22

Accepted Solution

Flyster earned 100 total points
ID: 39612271
I should point my ailerons to the right because of the wind
That's correct. However, if you do that AND step on the right rudder, you will be turning to the right! On takeoff, you want to maintain runway heading until at least 800 feet AGL. By stepping on the left rudder, you put the airplane into a slip, which is one of the two ways to control a crosswind. (The other being crabbing)


Author Closing Comment

ID: 39618075
Thanks for the help.

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