How does the Cessna 172 steer while taxiing? Is it by using differential braking (braking one wheel at a time)?

Are there any connections between rudder or toe brake and nose landing gear related to steering?

What is the purpose of torque link in front of the oleo strut?

Does the nose wheel even turn?

  • $\begingroup$ Picture will be added tommorow , couldn't find in Google. $\endgroup$
    – Knight
    Nov 13, 2018 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ Please ask the question regarding the 421 fairing in a separate question. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Nov 13, 2018 at 19:17

2 Answers 2


The Cessna 172 (152, 175, 177, and 182 as well as others) all use steerable nose wheel by pushing (not depressing) the rudder pedals in the direction you want to go. If you want the nose to turn to the right, you push the right pedal forward, same with the left. You can augment this with differential steering if tighter turns are needed.

So there are actually 3 ways to steer the 172:

  • The nosewheel steering using rudder pedals. This puts pressure on the bungee system that turns the nose wheel left/right. Pushing the pedal doesn't directly move the wheel, you need to move the aircraft forward a little bit for the wheel to turn.
  • Differential braking can help make tight turns, this causes the nose wheel to "caster" or turn based on which direction you are attempting to turn the aircraft.
  • Some turning force is provided by the tail rudder, it isn't usually a lot but it is noticeable when landing.

Is there any connections between rudder or toe brake and nose landing gear related to steering? What is the purpose of torque link in front oleo ?

There is no connection between the rudder or toe brake and the wheel (in the purest sense, the rudder pedals are also connected to the bungees for steering), the rudder pedals move the bungee system that puts pressure on one side or the other of the torque link on the oleo strut.

Does nose wheel even turn ?

Yes! All tricycle gear aircraft with a nose wheel must allow the nose wheel to turn at least a little bit. The 172 allows the rudder pedals to give up to 10° of wheel movement while differential braking will make the wheel move up to 30°, this is outlined in Section 7 of the 172 POH (I won't link the entire POH here, but this is the excerpt):

enter image description here
Source: 172SP Pilots Operating Handbook

If you update your question with a picture of the fairing you are talking about I can comment on that, but really it should be a separate question.

  • $\begingroup$ A notable exception is the Cessna 162 (SkyCatcher), which has a free-castering nose wheel, not a steerable one. Its steering is done entirely with differential braking (and full rudder, but the rudder has very little effect at taxi speeds) $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Nov 13, 2018 at 18:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @abelenky Yeah, thats why I skipped the 162 (that and almost everybody forgets about that one, it isn't very popular). The Cirrus SR20/22 are also caster nose-wheel aircraft. There are also tail dragger versions of the 172 (170) and the 152 (150). $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Nov 13, 2018 at 18:49

Good Morning Knight, I'm a Cessna 172S, 172N,172R pilot with over 60 hours on type. When turning a 172 I use the rudder peddles with the toe breaks to turn. The nose wheel does turn as if you look at a aircraft nose wheel no straight you see the rudder is slightly out. I would suggest having a chat to a Flight instructor to be able to look more in-depth with your questions and being able to see it practical

  • $\begingroup$ Turning with toe brakes is good for sharper turns in the 172. Turning with just rudder pedal should also work to steer the nosewheel; if not, the plane should be looked at. The rudder pedals are connected to the nosewheel thru a bungee system for 10 degrees of turning. Using the toe brakes the steering turn may be increased to 30 degrees. See the Ground Control section in Section 7 of the 172 POH. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Nov 13, 2018 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ they don't like turning on the ground so you will need to add a bit of toe break when turning to get around a corner effectually $\endgroup$
    – nzw1
    Nov 13, 2018 at 19:08

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