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Feature Article: Yoke Control

The third skill of taxiing is the use of the yoke which needs to be positioned so that a wind gust will not flip the airplane over. A formula that applies primarily to tail draggers but works just as well for tricycle is, Dive away from the wind behind and climb into the wind ahead. Introduce this to the student when stopped. Show how the wind direction dictates the yoke position. The most likely aircraft accident occurs while taxiing. It is not possible to taxi too slow but some compromise with the practical requires a speed equivalent to a fast walk. Always taxi as though the wind were at thirty knots to acquire expertise in the correct yoke movement.

Yoke full left Yoke full right
full back full forward

Wind direction
Yoke level Yoke level
full back full forward

Yoke full right Yoke full left
full back full forward

I have found that before starting the engine some practice in yoke control can be given by turning the heading indicator with a pre-selected wind direction to various positions and having the student position the yoke. This can be followed by having the student close his eyes and position the yoke according to where the instructor has set the 'wind direction' on opening his eyes. The most advanced stage of this process would be by having the instructor call out differing wind directions in rather quick succession while the student tries to keep the yoke properly positioned.

Early on, find a large open ramp for taxi practice. So advise Ground Control. Initially geographic points may be used as indicators but the heading indicator should take precedence as an indicator and reference. The student should keep in mind the heading indicator number than shows the wind. Face the aircraft at an 45 degree angle from the wind. Help the student position the controls so that the wind passing over the ailerons will hold the wing down. Discuss how the movement of the wind in this particular direction helps hold the wing down as it moves over the aileron. Make successive 90 degree turns and stop. Position the yoke at each stop. Discuss the wind effect at each stop.

Next position the aircraft as before and make a slow 360 to the right while the student moves the yoke. Use the heading indicator to set a wind direction. Don't expect miracles from the student. Stop in the original position and make a slow 360 to the left.

Beginning at a 45-degree angle to the wind, real or selected. Make successive 90-degree continuous turns through 360-degrees both left and right. During each turn the yoke will be positioned according to 'wind'. The next left-right turns can be slow, stopping only if the yoke is not correctly positioned.

This is another good time to show that the "sum of the digits" on the heading indicator remains the same for each 90 degrees. 030=3; 120=3; 210=3 and 300=3 for example. The final check is to execute a continuous 360 while the student positions the yoke throughout. Again do both left and right turns. Finally, have the student execute a series of 90 degree turns either stopping or continuous as his skills require. Depending on wind direction and the direction of the turn, a right movement of the yoke may be required during a left turn or a left movement of the yoke may be appropriate for a right turn. Use the wind sock or ATIS wind direction and select a corresponding number on the heading indicator to serve as a guide for determining yoke position.

It is important to note that the yoke position required for crosswind landing roll out is exactly the yoke position required for taxiing. Full yoke movement is used while taxiing in full forward or back as well as left or right. Failure to have the yoke in the proper position at any time either in high winds or when taxiing behind a jet could result in a ground level roll over. Once the wind gets under the wing it is too late.

Once the basic yoke movements while taxiing have been acquired, all subsequent ground movements should be made as though the wind velocities were sufficient to flip the plane. A great deal of practice is required to overcome the habits acquired by driving a car. These yoke positions should be practiced until they are automatic. It only takes a few seconds for a wind gust to flip an airplane. You can't always plan the wind velocity at a destination. Taxi as though winds were always at 30 knots and let the student know how many times he has been turned over by these hypothetical winds on the way to the run up area. If your situation allows, try to expose the student to a variety of routes and runways about the airport. Calm or light wind conditions which are more common than high winds cause complacency and lack of practice. Taxi scared and prepared.

Last Modified October 19, ©2021 TAGE.COM

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