Attitude is orientation in space, that is the value of three angles:
- heading or yaw (around the yaw axis)
- pitch (around the lateral axis)
- roll or bank (around the longitudinal axis).
In some strict definitions, the attitude of an aircraft is only pitch and roll, that is an orientation related to the horizon. But for applications that compute attitude, the yaw angle is also included. Its reference -- e.g. geographic North, or magnetic North -- must be specified. Attitude can be quantified as a quaternion or a matrix of angles, usually Euler's angles (actually Tait–Bryan's angles).
Attitude can be visualized using an attitude indicator or artificial horizon for roll and pitch, and an horizontal situation indicator or directional gyro for yaw:
Both can be combined into a single instrument, this is often the case for head up displays:
No translation is involved.
Attitude can be understood as a shortcut for attitude of flight.
In aerospace, the craft motion would be described in the horizontal plane (horizontal route) and vertical plane (altitude profile).