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Keeping the plane straight on Takeoff

Pro Member First Officer
leachus2002 First Officer

Hey,

Has anyone got any tips for keeping your sircraft on the centerline on take-off?

Sometimes I find that the plane vears off to the left or the right.

There must be a knack to it :p

Leachus

27 Responses

Pro Member Chief Captain
Insight Chief Captain

what aircraft are you flying?

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

Propeller aircraft have a normal tendency to trun left during takeoff. The easiest way to control them is with rudder pedals. Without pedals you need to apply right rudder via the keyboard or a joystick that twists to control the rudder. Check your controller set up to determine which keys or joystick axis, controls your rudder.



Last edited by CRJCapt on Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:28 pm, edited 2 times in total
Pro Member Trainee
mickjason Trainee

I can only assume that you need to add more rudder control on lift-off. If you don't have a joystick that easily allows you to control your rudder, than I would suggest the ST290 by Saitek. It's a great joystick for around $25.00 at Wal-Mart.

- JM

Pro Member First Officer
Ed Reagle (edr1073) First Officer

leachus2002,

What type of aircraft? If it is single engine and you do not have a joystick it is hard to keep in on the centerline. The reason that it is difficult to keep it centered is the torque that is produced will pull towards the torque. Without a joystick it can be done but you need to stay on top of the keyboard and assign keys to handle the torque forces.

Regards,

Pro Member Chief Captain
Greekman72 Chief Captain

I think that sometimes this happens cause of the crosswind,sometimes smoother sometimes harder...If this is always happens to you maybe you have to calibrate your joystick.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

If it is a small single engine aircraft and there is a crosswind, then do not use rudder to keep it centered. It will overcompensate and will mean you swerve across the runway. Use the differential brakes (F11 and F12) to gently turn the aircraft.

If its anything bigger than a Learjet, then use the rudder to centre the aircraft.

Let us know how you get on 😉

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain
Pro Member First Officer
leachus2002 First Officer

Hi All,

Silly me, I am flying a Boeing 737-700

Pro Member First Officer
leachus2002 First Officer

Or actually, should I say, I WAS flying one, that was until I mistook my approach and ended up landing about 2 miles out from the airport :p

Pro Member First Officer
beerbadger First Officer

lol

tu tut tu!! Whip

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

You may want to start with a smaller aircraft. Everyone wants to fly the big jets. I don't understand why. I like the smaller aircraft more. Low and slow allows you to see and enjoy. Flight level 330 with the autopilot on is fine but the real enjoyment is hand flying. If your new to flight sim, start slowly. Learn to control the propeller aircraft first. 🙂

Pro Member First Officer
HardLanding First Officer

Yes, engine torque and the things mentioned in the posts above can make the airplane go right or left on takeoff, but I'm convinced that there is also some kind of glitch in FS9 that, on some PCs--mine, for instance--causes some aircraft, like the 172SP or 182 when I fly them, to veer sharply and pretty much uncontrollably to the left or right; in my case, it's always to the left. It happens sometimes upon takeoff and sometimes on landings. It's not a simulation effect, it's a glitch, I am positive. I don't know of a fix for it. I just live with it.

HL

Guest

It is not a bug in FS. The rudder/nosewheel is used to maintain direction during the takeoff roll.

A cross wind and the flow of air from the prop (slipstream) hitting the vertical stabilizer have the biggest effects on keeping a straight line during the roll.

The flow of air from the prop travels down the fuselage in a spiral and will hit one side or the other of the vertical stabilizer, depending on which way your prop turns (to the right in the US, to the left in Europe), and will turn, or yaw, the nose in the same direction that the air is hitting the vertical stab. So in the US, the slipstream hits the left hand side of the vertical stab and turns the aircraft to the left. Compensate with right rudder.

The effect of the slipstream is always there even when there is no wind so that's why you still get the turn to the left or right with no wind.

When you are lined up on the runway, unless you have a direct headwind, turn the yoke fully into the direction the wind is coming from but in a neutral forward/back position.

You should be doing this during the taxi also, except that when the wind is striking the aircraft from the rear, the yoke is turned away from the wind and pushed fully forward. As you change direction on the ground so the yoke should be re-positioned for the change in the relative wind direction. This is to prevent the aircraft being flipped over by the wind, especially during turns.

DO NOT use the brakes during the roll unless you need to abort the takeoff. They will likely overheat as you gain speed and you do not want a burst tire or hot hubs retracted into the wing (if you have retractable gear). Nor do you want anything preventing you from gaining speed - especially on a short runway.

As the aircraft gains speed gradually return the yoke to the center position and maintain directional control with the rudder. This will keep the wings level at lift off. Be prepared to apply more rudder to compensate for the loss of friction with the ground. This is called 'crabbing' into the wind.

When the gear leaves the ground the aircraft will want to turn exactly the same as it did on the ground so plenty of rudder needs to be applied to keep the aircraft flying in line with the runway center line or 'crabbing' to compensate for wind and slipstream effect.

One 'trick' you can use during learning to manually compensate with the rudder is to apply a notch of left or right rudder trim but don't forget to take it off as you level out.

Unless you have a direct headwind (or the opposite cross wind element just happens to be enough to compensate for the turning effect) this means the nose of the aircraft will be pointing in a different direction to the runway heading or direction of travel over the ground.

The exception is when you get the instruction to takeoff and fly runway heading. In this case you keep the nose on the runway compass heading. ATC will make allowances for the wind drift on you and other aircraft in the area.

For landing there are two techiniques to counter the cross wind and slipstream effect.

The first is to crab (point the nose into the wind) to maintain alignment with the runway and 'kick out' the rudder just before touchdown to land with the nose pointing down the center line.

The second is to use the rudder to keep the nose in alignment with the runway and 'dip' the upwind wing into the wind. This method may require the yoke to be deflected in the opposite direction to the pedals (crossed controls). Possibly a little more difficult.

Both these techniques require constant minor adjustments to the yoke and pedals to maintain a straight line approach to the runway.

And there's nothing wrong with a landing where the upwind gear touches down before the downwind gear. Just make sure the nosewheel is centered before it touches down.

Pro Member First Officer
HardLanding First Officer

Anonymous wrote:

It is not a bug in FS. The rudder/nosewheel is used to maintain direction during the takeoff roll.

It may not be something you've ever had come up on your own PC, but I've been using FS for a few months now, and I'm certain that what I'm seeing is not a torque or normal wind effect. It's some kind of glitch. MS even has a troubleshooting document that discusses something like it (260183).

HL

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

If the aircraft turns as hard and often as you say, I think your right HL. I would look closely at your controller(s). Only have one joystick connected to your conputer. Try it with only keyboard commands to see what happens. Return all keboard and joystick assignments to the default values, two may be conflicting. Try a different joystick if you can. Try a different USB port. If using a hub, plug direct to the rear/front of the computer with controller. I thought that you just did not know how to control the aircraft but now I think something is really wrong. Sorry. 😕

Guest

[quote="HardLanding"]

Anonymous wrote:

It's some kind of glitch. MS even has a troubleshooting document that discusses something like it (260183).

HL

Is this happening with a standard FS2004 aircraft and what happens if you use autorudder?

Pro Member First Officer
HardLanding First Officer

Anonymous wrote:

Is this happening with a standard FS2004 aircraft and what happens if you use autorudder?

Argh, I knew it would come to disconnecting the joystick to see what happens. I've never really learned to fly using the keyboard only. But I disconnected it, and although I can't really fly the aircraft, it still goes out of control exactly as before, during the takeoff roll under the circumstances I described in a previous post, at airport KLWM, Rwy 23, winds 330/40 mag. The aircraft is the standard 172SP, autorudder enabled (I'm not ready for regular rudder control).

This behavior is less frequent than it was once--I dealt with my many early problems with frequent "reset defaults" to settings. Then I did a complete uninstall of both FS and the Logitech software and the Catalyst suite for the X800GTO card, and reinstalled them all as carefully as I was able. It happens very infrequently now, and I've pretty much gotten past it. If it doesn't happen to anyone else, I don't think it's a major thing.

I didn't necessarily think Leachus2002 was having the same difficulty as I, I just thought it worth mentioning in case whatever was happening wasn't easily corrected.

HL

madbrit Guest

As I've said, it is not a bug in FS.

I just did the same takeoff from R23 at KLWM with wind set at 330 at 40kts. That is actually a very heavy tailwind and not safe. It's probably outiside or very close to the limit for a normal into the wind takeoff in a C172.

I had to apply heavy rudder to stay in a straight line on the runway. I managed to get off the ground but immediately had to put in a 40 degree crab to the right to stay on the runway center line.

I tried it with autorudder too and was off the runway before getting to takeoff speed.

Here's your problem.

The idea is to take off INTO the wind. Always choose the runway heading that closest matches the wind direction. Are you using ATC? If so they should direct you to the correct runway.

You're taking off on R23 with a 40kt tail wind from 330 which is pushing you all over the place.

Try using R32 with this wind setting. You will still have a 10 degree cross wind but the effect on the tail is going to be much less severe. Even with autorudder you are going to have a problem keeping to the runway. You might try setting the wind speeed to something more normal.

Hope it helps.

Pro Member First Officer
HardLanding First Officer

I see what you mean about being on the wrong runway for those surface winds. I'll be much more careful about that from now on.

Thanks for finding that error in my flight planning.

HL

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

Mystery solved! Also the maximum crosswind component you would want for the C-172 is aprox. 20 knots.

madbrit Guest

HL, without using the rudder how do you manage to taxi to the runway? Or are you just starting each flight from the runway?

It's really worth either getting a twist stick as a minimum or pedals if you can afford them and switch off the autorudder. The result you will get in FS will be a quantum leap increase in your enjoyment and your aircraft control.

Glad we found the real cause of the problem.

Pro Member First Officer
HardLanding First Officer

Generally I do start flights from the runway, and, if I'm not mistaken, even with autorudder enabled, during taxi the twist feature on the joystick controls the nose wheel. Could having the autorudder enabled whilst taxiing have caused some of the earlier veer problems I encountered? I never had crosswinds to contend with then.

I've experimented with non-autorudder flying. I'll get there, eventually. As I said in another thread, this FF joystick I have is so "notchy" (whatever you'd call the opposite of smooth) that I can't fly the way I'd like to, with a light touch. Autorudder for me, for now.

HL

madbrit Guest

Yes, the twist controls the nose-wheel and the rudder. I'd recommend switching off the autorudder and the FF to improve your skill in controlling the rudder with the joystick.

How are you managing with staying on the yellow line when you taxi? That's great practice to help you stay on the center line of the runway during the roll and for runway alignment for landing. Keep your taxi speed down to about 6kts or RPM about 900-1000. It will require small throttle adjustments to stay at the right speed.

Veering off to the left side of the runway, even with the wind set to zero, is mainly due to the effect of the airflow, or slipstream, from the prop hitting the tail. The torque effect has some impact but to a lesser extent.

Try setting up the wind with about a 10kt headwind about 10 degrees from the left of the runway heading. (in the case of runway 32 at KLWM, set the wind at 310/10). That will help counteract the left turn effect of the slipstream on the ground and in the air and require less ruddder input to stay on a straight line. You know the tendancy for the left turn is there so try to anticipate it.

As for the notchy effect of the joystick there are a couple of things I can think of to try. Others will chip in with their advice too, no doubt.

The first is nothing directly to do with the joystick settings. Adjust the view zoom by left clicking on the windshield area then hit the minus (-) or plus (+) key to zoom in and out. If you are zoomed in too far (50% or more), then the control adjustments appear to be exagerated. I set my forward, forward/left and forward/right views to 31%. You can see further and I think it is more realistic. It's like learning to ride a bike or drive a car. It's easier if you can see and look further down the road.

If that doesn't help, then in the FS controls menu increase the sensitivity of the rudder to full and see if that makes any improvement. If not, then gradully reduce the sensitivity until you get the best effect. It's trial and error but you should find a setting that best suits your joystick response.

If you have FSUIPC set up the rudder with full left and right deflection then set the 'remove control spikes' (I think it's called) to on.

Have more fun.

Pro Member First Officer
HardLanding First Officer

I did some experimenting with the joystick sensitivity settings last night, eliminating the null zones and pushing the sensitivity sliders to max. It helped a lot. Much smoother flying that way. Much less drama in landings that way, too. I'll give the zoom settings a try. I added the "pan in 2D view" tweak to the .cfg file and found that to be a useful mod.

HL

Pro Member Chief Captain
hinch Chief Captain

if i have force feedback on my stick i have my plane swerving to the left none stop. if i then play around with the null zones it'seliminated eventually.

question though - if you're flying something like an airbus (or my eclipse yay) which uses a 'side stick', would you get feedback from the runway and heavy turns like you do a yoke?

Guest

I have the same prob whether I'm taking off in a Cessna or a 747. Even in default fair weather. In spot plane I can see the the rudder fluttering. Casals

madbrit Guest

HardLanding wrote:

I did some experimenting with the joystick sensitivity settings last night, eliminating the null zones and pushing the sensitivity sliders to max. It helped a lot. Much smoother flying that way. Much less drama in landings that way, too. I'll give the zoom settings a try. I added the "pan in 2D view" tweak to the .cfg file and found that to be a useful mod.

HL

That's great news. A lot of the problems in FS can be solved by first taking a good look at what you are actually doing is correct - like trying to taking off with a 40kt quartering tail wind for instance. 😀 Learn to accept it might be you and not the software that is at fault.

Then if 'pilot error' can be removed from the equation, make adjustments to the set up to get the best match with your hardware. I think there are far too many cases of "do a re-install of FS or the hardware" being offered as the solution to a problem.

It takes time and patience and not multiple re-installs to understand how the software and hardware interact with each other. Generally, all that multiple re-installs will achieve is to teach you how to delete and install the software. A re-install often appears to fix a problem because the default set up is re-loaded which gets rid of the last set of bad changes that were made by the user.

Since using FS98, I have re-installed FS just a couple of times and that was down to changing hardware and installing new versions of Windows.

It's difficult, when all you want to do is jump in and fly, but try to be methodical when you make changes. Try to make one control setting change at a time. Record the previous setting, make the change, record the result.

When the adjustments stop producing a better result, then STOP making adjustments and revert to the previous best setting. Then swear the 'leave it alone' oath. Take screen prints of the control settings pages so you will have a record of the best settings to revert to if ever you need them.

Over time you will build a knowledge of the symptoms and what set up changes are likely to fix a particular problem.

If you are really methodical when you start out, your general problem analysis and solving skills will not take long to improve, and not just in FS either. I call it the Sherlock Holmes approach. Identify all the facts, remove the impossible, then what is left, however improbable, must be the cause.

Happy flying.

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