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We all know helicopters have tail rotors because they would spin out of control thanks to Newton's third law.

That got me thinking, would a single propeller plane have an easier time doing an Aileron roll opposite the rotation of the propeller? And do light aircraft require any special tricks like having one wing longer than the other or the ailerons being tilted in the rest position?

To be clear, I really don't know any more about aviation than the average person. The question just crossed my mind and I didn't find anything googling around.

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  • $\begingroup$ A failing tail rotor is a recoverable failure in a helicopter given the right conditions. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Feb 5 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. In the US, props spin clockwise from the pilots point of view, so rolling left is easier than rolling right. No tricks on the wings. Ailerons might have small trim tabs that are adjusted for straight & level flight. $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads Feb 5 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ Some aircraft do have an offset thrust line to counter propeller turning effects. $\endgroup$ – Fred Larson Feb 5 at 19:24
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Yes: Rolling one direction easier than the other, as you mentioned, newton's laws are at work here.

Special Tricks? Also Yes. There are several design strategies to deal with asymmetries of thrust from propellers. Bear in mind that these thrust asymmetries are not always at work, so any design feature is a trade off. The propeller must be running, angle of attack is a factor, etc. I have heard of asymmetrical wing incidence used, but more often a slight offset of a tail-plane, such as the vertical stabilizer is used.

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