Whether it’s a jumbo or a small light ‘plane, piloting an aircraft takes place around three axes: the roll, yaw and pitch. For this, the pilot activates the yoke (control column) or foot-pedals, which operate the control surfaces of the aircraft to maintain or change its flight direction. Mathieu Ranque, chief pilot and instructor gives us the breakdown.
"The pitch axis passes through one wing of the aircraft to the other, and to be able to rotate around it, the yoke is moved forward or backward, to act directly on the elevators which are located on the horizontal stabilizer at the tail of the aircraft. Through these movements we can ascend, descend, dive or pull the nose up."
"The roll is actually a rotation around an axis that passes from the nose of the aircraft to the tail. To be able to rotate around the roll axis, the yoke is moved laterally to the left or right, which activates the ailerons located toward the wing tips, allowing the pilot to tilt the plane to the right and left, and therefore rotate."
"To be able to rotate about the yaw axis (perpendicular to the wings), we push the rudder pedals to the right or left, to operate the rudder, which is located on the ‘plane’s vertical stabilizer at the tail to move the nose of the aircraft laterally right and left."
The foot-pedals also have another function, but on the ground. They steer the aircraft by turning either the ‘plane’s nose wheel or tail wheel.