How Do Pilots Maintain Aircraft Flight Control?


When piloting aircraft, understanding the various aircraft flight controls is paramount to safe and optimal flying. From primary to trim controls, each one offers a different way of manipulating aircraft flight and direction, edging you towards your destination successfully. In this blog, we will discuss the different types of primary and trim control present in various aircraft.

Primary flight control functions are for making the major directional changes of the aircraft. These controls concern the ailerons, the elevator, and the rudder of the aircraft. A control stock, wheel, and yoke assembly is the primary method of controlling both the aileron and the elevator, through sometimes newer models feature joystick control. The rudder, however, is controlled by foot pedals.

Ailerons can be found on the edges of each wing of an aircraft, and they permit the rolling or banking of the aircraft. This means that the aircraft will lean sideways left or right when the aileron is controlled by the pilot. The elevator is located towards the end of the aircraft and by using it, the pilot can adjust the angle of attack through pitching. Lastly, the rudder is attached to the aircraft’s fin, and can help the pilot change the yaw, or move the aircraft left or right on a horizontal axis. The rudder also aids in the steering of an aircraft during taxiing on the runway alongside the nosewheel. In flight, the pilot will often control the aileron and rudder in tandem to turn the aircraft in a way that is faster and more efficient than utilizing the rudder alone.

The trim controls often act as a support to the pilot, and types of trim control include the trim, spring, servo, and balance tabs. Trim and spring tabs allow for the pilot to have better management of the aircraft and correct flight attitude without heavy reliance on the primary controls. Servo tabs work alongside the primary controls and assist in holding the main control surface positions. Finally, the balance tabs counteract the control load that is placed when operating primary controls, and this is achieved through the balance tab moving opposite to the control surface. As an example, as the elevator is moved up by the pilot, the attached balance tab moves down.

Altogether, knowledgeable and dexterous pilot can have full control of their aircraft with ease as they utilize the controls together. While the primary flight controls are for the major direction adjustments, trim controls can be just as important with their support to the pilot for removing as much need and manipulation of the ailerons, elevator, and rudder.

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