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I read somewhere that when both rudder paddles are pushed simultaneously it produces a braking effect. Is this true?

If yes, please provide a detailed description of the above mentioned system.


marked as duplicate by bogl, xxavier, FreeMan, Ralph J, vasin1987 Apr 10 at 14:39

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Not exactly. For normal braking, you do push on the top of both pedals, but that leaves a lot of details out.

Some aircraft have a "steerable" nose/tail wheel, which means the bottom of the rudder pedals will turn it for steering, and the top of the rudder pedals activates the brake on the respective side's main wheel. For normal braking, you do push on the top of both pedals (with your toes). For normal turns, you push on the bottom of one pedal (with your heel). For tight turns, you push on both top and bottom of one pedal (with both heel and toe).

Some aircraft have a "castering" nose/tail wheel, which means it turns freely; the rudder pedals have no effect, and the only way to steer is with "differential braking" on the main wheels. For normal braking, you do push on the top of both pedals (with your toes). For all turns, you push on the top of one pedal (with your toe). The heels only control the rudder.


Small planes have 2 hydraulic brakes, each operated by the rudder pedals. Press on the top of the rudder pedal, and the brake on that side activates. My plane is 4-seater built in 1973 with 6-inch main wheels and does not have antilock/antiskid capability. If one panics on landing and hits the brakes too early, they will lock the wheels and flat-spot the tires.

The Pilots Operating Handbook (POH) for the Cessna 177B describes them thusly:


The airplane has a single-disc, hydraulically-actuated brake on each main landing gear wheel. Each brake is connected, by a hydraulic line, to a master cylinder attached to each of the pilot’s rudder pedals. The brakes are operated by applying pressure to the top of either the left (pilot’s) or right (copilot’s) set of rudder pedals, which are interconnected. When the airplane is parked, both main wheel brakes may be set by utilizing the parking brake which is operated by a handle under the left side of the instrument panel.

For maximum brake life, keep the brake systems properly maintained, and minimize bake usage during taxi operations and landings.

Some of the symptoms of impending brake failure are: gradual decrease in braking action after brake application, noisy or dragging brakes, soft of spongy pedals, and excessive travel and weak braking action. If any of these symptoms appear, the brake system is in need of immediate attention. If, during taxi or landing roll, braking action decreases, let up on the pedals and hen re-apply the brakes with heavy pressure. If the brakes become spongy or pedal travel increases, pumping the pedals should build braking pressure. If one brake becomes weak or fails, use the other brake sparingly while using opposite rudder, as required, to offset the good brake.


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