Flight Controls




An aileron (French for ‘little wing’) is a hinged flight control surface usually attached to the trailing edge of each wing of a fixed-wing aircraft. Ailerons are used in pairs to control the aircraft in roll, or movement around the aircraft’s longitudinal axis, which normally results in a change in heading due to the tilting of the lift vector. Movement around this axis is called ‘rolling’ or ‘banking’.

A rudder is a flat plane or sheet of material attached with hinges to the craft’s stern, tail, or after end. On an aircraft the rudder is used primarily to counter adverse yaw and p-factor and is not the primary control used to turn the airplane. A rudder operates by redirecting the fluid past the hull or fuselage, thus imparting a turning or yawing motion to the craft.

Elevators are flight control surfaces, usually at the rear of an aircraft, which control the aircraft’s longitudinal attitude by changing the pitch balance, and so also the angle of attack and the lift of the wing. The elevators are usually hinged to a fixed or adjustable rear surface, making as a whole a tailplane or horizontal stabilizer. They may be also the only pitch control surface present, sometimes located at front (early airplanes) or integrated in a rear “all-moving tailplane” also called a slab elevator or stabilator.

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