Effect of Controls: Rudder

The objective of this lesson is to demonstrate that the rudder yaws the glider and does not turn it.

Rudder does not turn the glider – it yaws it.

Learning Points

The rudder controls the yaw of the glider, as shown in flight by the yaw string – that little piece of wool taped to the outside of the canopy. The yaw string is exposed to the airflow and is invaluable in showing us any sideways movement of the glider through the air.

If we fly with too much, or too little rudder applied, we will fly sideways, which is quite inefficient, and if used incorrectly can be dangerous. Using the rudder on its own does not turn the glider as you will see in the demonstration.

The aim is to keep the yaw string centralised – but we’ll come on to that shortly.


There is no need to practise this exercise – it is intended as a demonstration, and not an example of how you should fly!

The primary effect of rudder. Video with voice over and animation.

Alternative Video without animation.

The primary effect of rudder, as seen in Condor’s Flight School
About the videos

Multiple versions of the videos are being made available:

  • With animation and voiceover.
  • Alternative without the animation graphics.
  • As recorded in Condor Flight School. These will have messages at the top of the screen, with no additional animation or voiceover – that’s the way the Condor cookie crumbles!

The videos are suited to any device that supports YouTube. If you have trouble loading the video in the browser, click on Watch on YouTube in the lower left corner.

Further Reading and References

Gliding From Passenger to Pilot, 2nd Edition: Pages 33-37

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

BGA Instructors’ Reference Cards: Ex 5c

BGA Gliding Basics – Effects of Controls