How to fly a plane? Easy! The formula on the right explains everything that you need to know. I promise you need nothing else.
This is more or less everything they told me the first day of aviation training. I didn’t remember the formula anymore but at the time they pretended like you are going to need this formula the rest of your aviation career.
What it basically says is: You need something to fly in and wings, speed and air. In this blog, I’ll try to make it as easy as possible. (mickey mouse aviation training).
In an aircraft, you have a control wheel or a stick to move the aircraft in the air. Not like in a car this control wheel can move in more directions than left and right but also front and back. On the floor, we have pedals for controlling the aircraft on the ground including our brakes. Let’s talk about what moves what and what happens.
In the figure above we start from left to right. Aircraft 1 is Rolling, rolling to the left is done by turning the control wheel inside to the left. To turn back wings level you have to turn the controls to the right. Easy right? By turning the wheel left or right on the outside the ailerons go up or down, more about this later. Aircraft 2 is pitching, if you pull the control wheel towards you the aircraft pitches nose up. As soon as you push the wheel away from you the nose pitches down. These 2 movements are easy to remember by the following: pushing down houses become big, pulling up houses become small. Turning left you’ll see houses left, turning right you’ll see houses on the right. Plane number 3 is making a yawing motion and is done with the feet on the ground pedals. These pedals we use on the ground to drive the plane but as soon we are airborne to move the rudder. If you press the left pedal you yaw left and push right you yaw right. These pedals have another function and that is braking. If you push the top of the pedals down with your feet you apply brakes.
Now let us talk about the basic controls that we use to fly the aircraft. I told you that in the cockpit we use the control wheel and pedals to control the basic movements of the aircraft. The turns to the left or right are done with the so-called Ailerons (green). Ailerons work together. For example, if you want a left turn. You turn the control wheel to the left. By doing this the aileron on the right side of the aircraft goes down and the aileron on the left side of the aircraft will come up. This rolls the aircraft to the left and vice-versa to do it to the right.
Now we want to pitch the aircraft up and down. This was done by pushing and pulling on the control wheel. By pulling the wheel towards you the tail side of the Elevator (blue) will point up and the aircraft will pitch up. By pushing away from you the aircraft will pitch down.
The Rudder and nosewheel are controlled by the pedals on the ground. If you push the left pedal away (straighten your left leg) the right pedal comes towards you and you make a yawing motion to the left or on the ground make a turn to the left. To make a right turn or a right yawing motion you have to do it the other way around by pushing the right pedal. The brake function only works on the ground.
Now you only need something to go forward and mostly that is done by 1 or more engines. In the aircraft above you see that there 1 1 propeller and this propeller is driven by an engine hidden in the fuselage. You add power to the engine by moving the throttle inside the cockpit forward and increases the rotations of the propeller that moves air. In bigger aircraft it is done by jet engines and than it is called thrust levers.
That was the basics I would say. There are many more kinds of controls on different aircraft but all aircraft have the same kind of controls to move the aircraft in the direction they want. In the video below you can see how this all looks like.
If you have any questions regarding this blog, please send me an email in the contact form or leave a comment below.