Coordinated Rolling

Coordinated roll, with string centred.

The objective of this lesson is to practise the Coordinated use of Aileron and Rudder, to achieve gentle turns without any adverse yaw, slip or skid.

Learning Points

This is where you get to use the stick and rudder together, making gentle turns whilst holding the string “in the middle”. The string can only be held in the middle if the air is going straight backwards over the glider. Being pedantic for a second, the air isn’t going anywhere very much – it is the glider that is moving through the air. But it is easier to think in terms of the air flowing straight back over the glider, or off to one side. So, let’s keep it flowing backwards for now, by ensuring we are pointing directly into the airflow.

The stick and rudder are always used together. In normal flight, if you move the stick left to roll left, you will apply left rudder at the same time to counteract the adverse yaw. How much rudder you apply depends on the glider – in a “well coordinated” glider, as most modern gliders are, it is always best to start by applying a similar pressure to each. You will soon develop a feel for what is needed.

Start fairly gently, as you will have done in the previous lessons. It’s likely you will need a matching movement on each control: Half way left on the stick, coordinated with half of the available left rudder pedal movement for instance. Watch the string out of the corner of your eye – apart from lookout, your attention will be over the nose.

If the string moves to the right as you turn, counteract it by applying some more left rudder. If the string moves left, apply some more right rudder.

Beware of over-correcting with the rudder, especially at low speeds. It is a powerful control, and as we have seen, if over-used it will cause the wing to drop suddenly

Demonstration Scenario

The goal here is to make small rolls left and right, just to get the feel for coordinating the aileron and rudder. After rolling left a short way, roll right again, so that you roll on a heading – i.e. continue more or less towards your target, rolling either side of it as you practice. You will probably need to adjust the attitude (elevator) after the rolls to return to the desired speed.

This demonstration is in a valley, in calm conditions, flying a Standard Cirrus.

Coordinated use of aileron and rudder

The video is best viewed in YouTube in HD in Full Screen mode, to easily see the on-screen messages and instruments during the demonstration. Use view, pause and rewind as needed to grasp the content and timing of the messages displayed, then focus on the action.

Further Reading and References

Gliding From Passenger to Pilot, 2nd Edition: Page 88

BGA Instructors’ Manual, 4th Edition: Section 2, Chapter 7, Page 7-3

BGA Instructors’ Reference Cards: Ex 6

BGA Gliding Basics – Turning