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What happens at the wings and vertical stabilizers when the yoke is pulled backwards or forward on typical airliners like the Boeing 747-800. Is it any different for smaller similarly shaped aircraft like private jets?

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  • $\begingroup$ Related: Why do airplanes lift up their nose to climb? and also How do elevons work to roll a flying wing? $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Feb 13 '18 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ Pull back, cows get smaller; push forward, cows get bigger. $\endgroup$ Feb 13 '18 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Korvin, hah! that brings back memories, My first instructor in USAF UPT told me the exact same thing. Only it was the stick not the yoke, and houses, not cows. .. $\endgroup$ Feb 13 '18 at 21:59
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    $\begingroup$ @KorvinStarmast Keep pulling back, cows get bigger. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Feb 13 '18 at 22:06
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Most aircraft have control surfaces that work in a similar manner from a little Piper up through a 747. Forward and back movement of the yoke or stick typically results in actuation of the elevator. For aircraft that have the common style empennage the wing remains unchanged. For aircraft that have elevons they move accordingly.

Pulling away from the front of the aircraft on the control column causes the aft end of elevator to move upwards relative to the airframe. This action causes the aircraft to pitch nose up.

Pushing towards the front of the aircraft on the control column causes the aft end of the elevator to move down relative to the airframe. This action causes the aircraft to pitch nose down.

Take a look at this GIF for a nice animation or this video.

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  • $\begingroup$ Would it be more accurate to say pulling the yoke/stick towards you pulls the nose towards you, and pushing it, pushes the nose away from you, rather than thinking in terms of up and down? $\endgroup$
    – BillDOe
    Feb 13 '18 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ @BillDOe I don't think so, seeing as how the distance between the nose and the pilot is fixed. Saying "nose towards you" to mean "nose up (relative to the aircraft)", and "nose away from you" to mean "nose down (relative to the aircraft)", doesn't make intuitive sense to me at all. If anything, maybe it should be "nose towards the ceiling" and "nose towards the floor"? $\endgroup$ Feb 13 '18 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ @BillDOe: I see what you mean, but if pulling the control column makes an airliner nose going down, you are in serious trouble, regardless of the reason (flying inverted, vertical, or stalling). $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Feb 13 '18 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ @TannerSwett, I'm suggesting that thinking outside of up and down (i.e. nose going towards the sky and towards the ground) may be confusing in inverted flight, where you'd need to push the yolk/stick to get the nose pointed upward, and vice versa. $\endgroup$
    – BillDOe
    Feb 14 '18 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ @BillDOe I think mins's point is that in an airliner, if you're in inverted flight at all, then you're in serious trouble. $\endgroup$ Feb 28 '18 at 15:36
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Moving the yoke forward/backward moves the control surfaces on the elevator. In most aircraft forward/backward yoke movement has no impact on the wings and vertical stabilizers.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm...so it doesn't affect the AoA on the wings? $\endgroup$
    – BillDOe
    Feb 28 '18 at 20:42

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