Pilot's tip of the week

Taxi Control Inputs


Subscriber question:

"Is there a simple, fundamental way to remember control surface inputs vs. wind while taxiing and changing direction?" - Anon.


“This is a problem for many pilots. My suggestion is to consider the Hippocratic oath. That is the oath the doctors take which says in part Do no harm. So if you are not sure, leave the controls in neutral so you do no harm.

taxi_inputs.pngThe goal is to use the flight controls to prevent the wind from picking up a wing and or the tail of the aircraft. So if you can imagine where the wind is contacting your airplane, then position the ailerons and elevator to prevent that from happening.

One saying that helps pilots is to climb into a headwind and dive away from a tailwind. So if the wind is coming from in front of the wing, climb (elevator back) into the headwind (aileron toward the wind). If the wind is coming from behind the plane, dive (elevator forward) away from the wind (aileron away from the wind). As you turn the airplane and the wind moves from ahead of the wing to behind the wing, follow the rule.

Another tip for taxiing in strong winds is to make all turns at a slow speed. The centrifugal force of a fast turn can help the wind to tip the airplane.

So, visualize if the wind is in front of the wing or behind it and position the controls accordingly, taxi and make turns slowly and maybe if the wind is really that strong you should reconsider your decision to leave the tie down.”

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