Flying High, and Low


David Ryan

David Ryan is a boat builder and USCG licensed master captain. He is the owner of Sailing Montauk and skipper of Montauk''s charter sailing catamaran MON TIKI You can follow him on Twitter @CaptDavidRyan

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar CJColucci says:

    That is one seriously disjointed F-Mac performance.Report

  2. Avatar George Turner says:

    I think rudder pedals were based on the easiest way to run a cable from a pivoting stick to a control horn. There’s an interesting interview with Lord Sopwith (whose company became BAE) where he talks about the first Wright Flyer he bought. It had two control sticks, one operating the elevator and one the wing-twist, but both only moved forward and back, so you flew with one stick in each hand. It was something like “Forward banks left, back banks right” The first thing Sopwith did was re-engineer that to what became our still-accepted standard for how a joystick operates.

    One could argue, from a physics perspective, that the rudder pedals are in fact backwards. If you push the stick in a particular direction, and look at its position in a fixed reference frame, the aircraft will move to neutralize the stick relative to the cockpit. (Push the stick forward or left so it’s 10 degrees from vertical, and the plane should at some point rotate so 10 degrees from vertical is straight up in the cockpit, etc). Do that with a rudder pedal and the plane would move opposite, making the control input larger instead of smaller. In the inertial sense, you could say that the stick has negative feedback but the rudder pedals have positive feedback. But everybody gets used to it in short order, and that’s the standard, even though it’s opposite to how we steer a Radio Flyer sled.

    ETA: Here’s the interview with Sopwith, which is really kind of neat.


    • Hadn’t thought of Radio Flyer, but yes! Also the body english that turns a boogie board, or surfboard for that matter. You drive the inside edge down and back, and the outside edge forward and up.

      At any rate, my solution had been to spend hours in the cockpit imagining I’m carving turns, using my feet properly, left right left right left right left right, in coordination with the yoke. Hoping tomorrow offers some calm winds so I can do it correctly without being panicked by gusts and puffs!Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to David Ryan says:

        On a motorcycle, turning is an effect of counter-steering.

        Countersteering is used by single-track vehicle operators, such as cyclists and motorcyclists, to initiate a turn toward a given direction by momentarily steering counter to the desired direction (“steer left to turn right”). To negotiate a turn successfully, the combined center of mass of the rider and the single-track vehicle must first be leaned in the direction of the turn, and steering briefly in the opposite direction causes that lean.[1] The rider’s action of countersteering is sometimes referred to as “giving a steering command”

        In other words, if you want to move left, you push the bars forward on the left side.Report

        • Avatar David Ryan in reply to Aaron David says:

          Yes, and that’s exactly the opposite of how you turn a plane. You lead with the rudder (yaw) and follow with the ailerons (roll). The inside of the turn pressure on a bike initiates roll. Like I said, airplanes are backwards.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Thanksgiving Weekend, every year, teaches me how very easy it would be to do nothing.

    I ran for 20 minutes straight on Monday for the first time in a month. 1.5 miles. That sucked. I prefer not running. I prefer not climbing. I prefer sitting down and not having time for anything but nothing.

    I should buy a lotto ticket.Report

  4. Looking forward to reading more about all these things!!

    Ok maybe not the erotic art so much but all the other stuff!Report