# Flight Controls and the Longitudinal Axis

in Physics

The longitudinal axis of the airplane runs through the middle of the airplane, from nose to tail, passing through the center of gravity. Movement around this axis is known as roll, and control around this axis is called lateral control. Movement around this axis is controlled by the ailerons, and on jet transport airplanes, it is aided by surfaces on the wing known as spoilers.

Figure 3-68. Cessna 182 control wheel and rudder pedals.

The ailerons move as a result of the pilot rotating the control wheel to the left or to the right, much the same as turning the steering wheel on an automobile. [Figure 3-68] When a pilot turns the control wheel to the left, the airplane is being asked to turn or bank to the left. Turning the control wheel to the left causes the trailing edge of the aileron on the left wing to rise up into the airstream, and the aileron on the right wing lowers down into the airstream. This increases the lift on the right wing and decreases the lift on the left wing, causing the right wing to move up and the airplane to bank to the left.

Figure 3-69. Air Force F-15 doing an aileron roll.

In Figure 3-69, an Air Force F-15 can be seen doing an aileron roll. Notice that the left aileron is up and the right aileron is down, which would cause the airplane to roll around the longitudinal axis in a counterclockwise direction.