When flying on GeoFS, a popular flight simulator online, one of the default settings is to mix roll and yaw. Of course, it isn't real life, so I think it might differ from flying in the real world.

Do professional pilots mix roll and yaw? Is it possible that pilots have different settings for different types of planes, such as fighter jets and commercial jets?

  • $\begingroup$ What do you mean 'mix' roll and yaw? $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Dec 16, 2020 at 15:08
  • $\begingroup$ Meaning a combination of roll and yaw when the control stick is moved to the left/right. $\endgroup$ Dec 16, 2020 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ Does your “mix roll and yaw” setting eliminate the need to provide rudder inputs? If so, this is something a pilot does to coordinate the aircrafts turn. Some, more advanced aircraft have yaw dampers for cruise flight. But, many sim programs take into account that their users might not have rudder pedals. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Dec 16, 2020 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ That's correct. When mixing roll/yaw on the simulator, you can just move your mouse left to bank and yaw simultaneously. You can still control the rudder manually when you disable mix roll/yaw. $\endgroup$ Dec 16, 2020 at 15:26
  • $\begingroup$ Related: Do pilots use the pedals in flight on planes with a sidestick (Airbus)? $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Dec 16, 2020 at 15:30

1 Answer 1


Pilots typically make turns in the air by banking the aircraft. The act of banking the aircraft is done by moving ailerons. Since moving one aileron up and the other aileron down produces a roll in the direction of the up aileron, the aircraft will bank (and presumably turn) in the direction of the up aileron.

Induced drag is a byproduct of lift. By putting one aileron up and one aileron down, you are producing more lift on the down aileron side and less lift on the up aileron side. Therefore you are also producing a lot more drag on the down aileron side than you are on the up aileron side. This causes adverse yaw in the direction of the down aileron. So, while the bank is trying to fly the aircraft in one direction, the induced drag is trying to yaw the aircraft in the opposite direction. This is one type of adverse yaw.

While turning is done by banking through rolling instead of simply yawing, yawing must still be done. The main job of the rudder is to combat adverse yaw. Pilots are constantly making judicious use of the rudders to keep the flight of the aircraft coordinated and streamlined. Changes in pitch, roll, and airspeed can all cause adverse yaw.

Some more modern planes will do this to some degree for the pilot through electronics. The mechanism for technology to accomplish this is called the yaw damper. This, however, does not completely eliminate the need for rudder inputs like your “mix” setting does.

  • $\begingroup$ If your plane has a yaw damper system, the only time you'll ever need to touch the pedals is on takeoff/landing, and if an engine quits. The rest of the time it's feet on the floor and the YD takes care of everything else. When I learned to fly the RJ, I had to take my feet off the pedals once airborne to stop unconsciously squeezing bits of rudder every time I applied aileron when hand flying. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Dec 16, 2020 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnK - Thanks John. That was my understanding of a yaw damper as well. In the case of some PC sims, you can eliminate the need to use rudder pedals entirely. Even on takeoff and landing. Not everyone jumps into the deep end of the pool, expense-wise. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Dec 16, 2020 at 16:23

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