Is it possible to turn a large jet like the Boeing 747, Airbus A380 or other airliner using only the rudder, i.e. without using the ailerons on the wings? Will it take longer to turn to a new heading? I find the tilting when ailerons (wing flaps) are involved is uncomfortable.

  • $\begingroup$ Duplicate of this question which is itself a duplicate of this question $\endgroup$
    – Steve V.
    May 19, 2017 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ «I find the tilting when ailerons (wing flaps) are involved is uncomfortable.» Besides the fact that flaps and ailerons are very different things, where did you experience this? In a well-executed (aileron) turn you should hardly notice anything. $\endgroup$
    – DaG
    May 29, 2017 at 9:46

1 Answer 1


Yes you can, and this is the backup mode for turning the A320 when the Fly By Wire has failed. It is not very comfortable though:

  • Changing direction using only the rudder creates sideways acceleration, not good for passengers with drinks in front of them

  • Since the rudder is located above the center of gravity, the aircraft leans the wrong way when rudder only is used, amplifying the sideways acceleration. A ship has the rudder below the center of buoyancy and leans into the turn when rudder is deflected.

  • $\begingroup$ Actually, I'm told by someone who should know that the difference between a ship and a boat is which way it heels over in a turn; a boat heels inward, a ship heels outward. This is why submarines are always "boats" to sailors. $\endgroup$
    – Chromatix
    May 9, 2018 at 11:53

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