Rudder in FS vs. real life

Pro Member Captain
Sean (SeanGa) Captain

when I use the rudder in the air in FS, it almost doesn't move at all... is it like this in real life too?

and when landing in crosswinds in real life, do pilots use the rudder to line up right before or when touched down?


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Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

I've only had one lesson in real life so couldn't comment on the difference between FS and real world flying.

But, in real world, on approach it is likely that you will use the rudder to crab into the wind to counteract the force of the wind. Without doing this on approach, your track across the ground will not be in line with the runway. 😉

Pro Member First Officer
Jeff Brock (jeffb57) First Officer

when my uncle takes me flying in his plane and lets me fly it, he always says to ease into turns with the rudder, and it does move the plane a small amount. i've noticed the same thing in fs too

Don Wood Guest

At the low end of the scale, the rudder in FS acts fairly similar to the rudder in real life, at least on the C-172. When higher level of rudder is applied, it is not similar. For example, in real life, I use slight to moderate amounts of rudder to correct for crosswind drift when flying a final approach and when navigating a course line close to a VOR. In sim, if the drift is very slow, I can still do that. If the wind forces are greater than about 5 knots, I cannot. It's hard to tell in turns since in sim, the turn will remain coordinated whether or not I apply rudder in the turn.

Pro Member Chief Captain
hinch Chief Captain

you can side slip with no engines pretty well when compared to an airshow.


There are really two ways for landing with a crosswind. There is the slip, and the crab.

In the slip, you put your ailerons into the wind, and use opposite rudder to keep yourself alligned with the runway. You touchdown with the downwind wheel first and slowly release the aileron pressure to get the rest of the wheels on the runway.

With the crab, you just use rudder to keep yourself on the runway track. You wont be alligned with the runway. At the last moment, you "kick" out of the crab to allign with the runway. This is a lot harder though considering you have to time it perfectly. Too early and you drift to the side of the runway. Too late and you sideload the gear.

Pro Member Captain
Sean (SeanGa) Captain

hm.. I don't feel like my questions were answered 😞

what if I put it like this: when you use the rudder in air in real life (jets, not cessna), does it move as much to the side as it would on the ground? because in FS, when I move the rudder in the air, you almost can't see that it moved, and the plane barely reacts.

and then question #2: when landing by "crabbing" (or what it's called), does the pilot use the rudder to align with the runway right before, or right after the main gear has touched the rwy?

I hope it's clearer now.. thanks a lot for replying though 🙂

Pro Member Chief Captain
hinch Chief Captain

it sounds likeyou have auto rudder on. with full rudder you really can move a plane about in the air by qite some degree.

fo crabbing i believe they're meant to swing it around onto the runway - so before they touch.

side slipping. i only brought it up because i saw how a pilot side slipped a 767 for a long time and limped it into a small airfield after the engines cut out. he'd learnt to do it in his cessna 172. i then saw it at an airshow being demonstrated. good stuff. side slipping a decathlon at low altitude is not good, but in a bae hawk 😀

Madbrit Guest


Establish your approach and, keeping the wings level, turn the nose into the wind enough to keep the runway centerline in the same position on the windshield. Pick a reference point on top of the panel to help you. You will be flying 'sideways' but keep the runway centerline on the same reference point using the rudder for left and right adjustments.

Just before touchdown you need to 'kick out' the rudder to bring the nose onto the centerline for landing.


With this method the nose is aligned with the centerline using the rudder. A reference point on the top of the panel will help here also. Lower or raise the upwind wing to prevent the aircraft from drifiting left or right of the centerline. You will have 'crossed' controls at this time, meaning that you will be using opposite rudder input to the banking of the wings, contrary to the usually coordinated rudder and yoke input. As you lower the wing into the wind you will need more opposite rudder input to keep the nose pointing down the runway.

It is not unusual with this method to land on the upwind main wheel first.

Pro Member First Officer
vlad (tiger7881) First Officer

Yes me too, when i am flying with my squadren, on takeoff and on landing, or approache the pilot, and me the second pilot using the rudder against the wind, to have the plane staright and good for takeoof. But if u are flying in a cessna or small plane. Because in boeing, airbuses and the MEJ planes u dont realy need to use it only if its a bad windy weather.

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

SeanGa: Simple answer.

1. The rudder is used very little in jet aircraft and it moves very little in flight. The actual movement necessary is a fraction of the full travel that you see on the ground.

2. During a crosswind landing, the pilot uses the rudder to align the aircraft with the runway before touchdown of the main landing gear.

Pro Member Captain
Sean (SeanGa) Captain

ok thanks a lot guys. so basically the rudder is not supposed to move more than a little bit in flight even though I apply full rudder.

I hope I have understood correctly! but then I do have another problem.. because when I land in crosswinds by crabbing and I wan't to align my plane with the rwy right before touchdown, the rudder moves so little that my plane doesn't align at all! and therefore I have to align with the runway after the plane has touched down (when the rudder moves fully to the side)

weird, or normal? 😞

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

Rudder travel:
The rudder has a certain physical travel limit, let's say that it's +/-10 degrees from center. If you push the rudder to the floor, you will get this travel on the ground or in the air(some real aircraft have rudder limiters in-flight to avoid over stressing the vertical stabilizer but let's not get into that). What I ment was that the amount of rudder deflection required for normal operation is very small, the travel is the same as on the ground. No rudder limiter in FS.

Flight Simulator:
If you are running out of rudder effectiveness during landing, it could be because of a couple of reasons. 1. The crosswind component is too high. Most commercial jets can't land with a crosswind component of more than 30 knots. 2. You are not getting full travel of the rudder. Check you control sensitivities and set your rudder to max. with a Null zone setting of approximately 10% of travel(just estimate). 🙂

Pro Member Captain
Sean (SeanGa) Captain

hm ok.. a bit complicated but I'll try and see what I can do.

thanks a lot CRJC

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

Sorry, I aim to give simple,clear answers. If you want me to explain more clearly, let me know. I think you're not getting full rudder travel.🙂

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