I'm in a shallow left bank, maybe 15 degrees. Right rudder pedal is all the way to the floor. Flight path is curving toward the right. Ball is far to the left corner of the glass tube. Yaw string1, 2, 3 is blowing with the tail end deflected toward the right.

Am I "slipping" or am I "skidding"?

Note that ball is deflected toward outside of turn, but also toward low wingtip.

Update: I've been prompted to edit to explain why the current question is not a duplicate of What is a skidding turn (vs slipping turn)?. That question is primarily about the influence of pitch control inputs on slip or skid. If that question were construed to also encompass my question, it should arguably be closed for being overly broad.


  1. It's a pusher plane with no appreciable propwash over the nose, therefore the yaw string deflection is strongly correlated to the direction of the free-stream airflow

  2. Descriptions of what a "yaw string" is -- https://www.yawstring.com/about, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaw_string

  3. Information about "yaw string" arguably makes no difference and would not change the answer to question. If you go test fly this maneuver in your Cessna 152/172 etc and reply accordingly, you need not tape a yaw string on your windscreen if you'd rather not risk getting adhesive residue on the plexiglass. (But a yaw string actually does work half-way decently even on a tractor-engine plane; there's a still a strong correlation between yaw string deflection and ball displacement.)


2 Answers 2


This is a common glider maneuver called side-slip. Aileron and rudder inputs can be balanced to result in a straight flight path. Glider pilots use it to dissipate energy and burn altitude w/o increasing airspeed beyond what's possible with regular air brakes for a steep landing approach. It's a stable flight configuration in a glider. It takes some time getting used to see the runway from the side window on final.


(Let's hope this is being done at altitude after a few clearing turns).

OK! The yaw string says slipping to the left. (Deflected towards the right).

what kind of slip?

A forward slip. If you want to stop curving to the right, add more left aileron (or reduce right rudder). Ailerons control flight direction in a forward slip.

other factors

The pusher prop may be adding to the stability of this configuration, but it is cross controlled. Best done a good margin above stall speed.


  • $\begingroup$ @quietflyer you could say a horribly uncoordinated skid to the right, but who in their right mind would turn like that? Massive amounts of drag anyways. $\endgroup$ Feb 20 at 20:24
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertDiGiovianni --well I did it in a Challenger ultralight a couple years ago, just for fun-- $\endgroup$ Feb 20 at 20:29
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Since airplanes go mostly forward, aren't all slips forward slips? $\endgroup$ Feb 20 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHall Ha, well, a long time ago we talked about side slips. This is a good example of why the forward slip is a close cousin, but the application is different. What the OP is basically referring to is a battle between fuselage (skid) turning forces and wing (much stronger) turning forces. In a forward slip, full (if the airplane allows) rudder deflection creates as much drag as possible, with opposite bank angle (ailerons) determining ground track. Side slip bank angle holds against crosswind, while rudder (as needed) keeps nose straight. $\endgroup$ Feb 20 at 22:03

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