Word of the Day – Wednesday, August 27th



Word of the Day


Clever Clue of the Month

The Cruciverbalist


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YAW (yaw)

An erratic deflection or side to side movement of a ship or aircraft, especially on a vertical axis
Common clues:
Nautical lurch; Go off course; Deviate at sea; Fishtail; Swerve off course; Partner of pitch and roll; Pilot's problem
Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year
Frequency in English language: 45780 / 86800
How to Fly an Airplane: Yaw Movement in an Airplane

Flight dynamics is the science of air vehicle orientation and control in three dimensions. The three critical flight dynamics parameters are the angles of rotation in three dimensions about the vehicle's center of mass, known as pitch, roll and yaw (quite different from their use as Tait-Bryan angles).

Aircraft engineers develop control systems for a vehicle's orientation (attitude) about its center of mass. The control systems include actuators, which exert forces in various directions, and generate rotational forces or moments about the centre of gravity of the aircraft, and thus rotate the aircraft in pitch, roll, or yaw. For example, a pitching moment is a vertical force applied at a distance forward or aft from the centre of gravity of the aircraft, causing the aircraft to pitch up or down.

Roll, pitch and yaw refer, in this context, to rotations about the respective axes starting from a defined equilibrium state. The equilibrium roll angle is known as wings level or zero bank angle, equivalent to a level heeling angle on a ship. Yaw is known as "heading". The equilibrium pitch angle in submarine and airship parlance is known as "trim", but in aircraft, this usually refers to angle of attack, rather than orientation. However, common usage ignores this distinction between equilibrium and dynamic cases.

The most common aeronautical convention defines the roll as acting about the longitudinal axis, positive with the starboard (right) wing down. The yaw is about the vertical body axis, positive with the nose to starboard. Pitch is about an axis perpendicular to the longitudinal plane of symmetry, positive nose up.

A fixed-wing aircraft increases or decreases the lift generated by the wings when it pitches nose up or down by increasing or decreasing the angle of attack (AOA). The roll angle is also known as bank angle on a fixed wing aircraft, which usually "banks" to change the horizontal direction of flight. An aircraft is usually streamlined from nose to tail to reduce drag making it typically advantageous to keep the sideslip angle near zero, though there are instances when an aircraft may be deliberately "sideslipped" for example a slip in a fixed wing aircraft.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Flight_dynamics".  

17 Tu+