Sign in to follow this  
Guest Ron Freimuth

To Microsoft : Please Give Us A Realistic Rudder!

Recommended Posts

This is basically a one item wish-list for FS2004 which I thought I would post online so other people can comment. It is regarding the way the rudder functions in MSFS.My first flight simulator was FS2000, which I bought about 2 years ago. At the time, I had never had the opportunity to fly at the controls of a real aircraft. Even so, based on my limited understanding of aerodynamics, I had an expectation that the rudder could be used for limited directional control. After using FS2000 for awhile though, I found out that this was not the case. As anyone who has every used the simulator has I'm sure observed, applying rudder does indeed swing the nose of the aircraft right or left (yaw), but as soon as you release control pressure, the nose "snaps-back" almost to it's original heading. Based on this, I "learnt" that the only effective way to make heading changes was banking the aircraft with the ailerons. So, for example, on an approach, I was constantly banking one way, then the other, trying to get the aircraft lined up with the runway. The only reason for using the rudder, I concluded, was for making coordinated turns. Then, about a year ago, I had the wonderful privilege of taking about 12 hours of flight instruction in a Cessna 150. DID I EVER HAVE A LOT OF UN-LEARNING TO DO!!! I can clearly remember my first couple of approaches. "Knowing" that the rudder was completely useless, I began banking anxiously first one way, then the other, trying to line up with the runway. It only took a short while before the instructor started yelling at me, "Would you knock it off with the ailerons! Use the rudder!" "What good is that going to do!", I'm thinking, but I dutifully obey, and much to my amazement, the nose of the aircraft smoothly swings over, I release rudder pressure, and there's NO SNAP-BACK!!! I was absolutely amazed!!. After that, I had no trouble at all lining up for approaches. As my time and experience increased, I found that the rudder on a C150 is in fact a very accurate and easy way to make minor course corrections. The ailerons, on the other hand, are for major heading changes (10 degrees or more). It makes perfect sense when you think about it from an aerodynamics point of view. Say, for example, that you apply right rudder. This will cause the nose of the aircraft to yaw to the right, which will expose the entire left side of the aircraft to the oncoming airstream. The whole aircraft has now become a rudder, deflecting air off to the left, which by Newtons laws of motion will cause an equal and opposite reaction in the other direction, pushing the aircraft to the right, thus changing it's heading. The whole "snap-back" effect just doesn't make any sense.To put it another way, in straight and level flight, the sides of the airplane are at zero angle-of-attack (AOA), but when you yaw the plane to the right, you now have a positive AOA, and the whole airplane has become an vertical airfoil generating lift towards the right. How can that NOT change your course heading?So, Microsoft, for FS2004, please do some work on the rudder, and make this program one step closer to "As Real As It Gets!"Russel Dirks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

I agree. The rudders in FS2K2 and previous versions is the worse I've experienced in a sim and I'm a RL pilot. I normally fly airliners in FS and the rudders react like some spastic, A-type personality pumped up on caffiene, crack and steriods....and thats with huge null zones, 10-20% sensitivity, curved axes' in my Cougar eqm't and deadening statments in the software. FS wants to be linear and thats, that. I hope MS makes a rudder revamp a high priority in the next release. Actually I wish MS would dump the table physics all together and adopt the dynamic physics most top Combat sims use, i.e. IL-2, Falcon 4, Flanker etc..."FS Combat Sim is not one of them." I'd also like to see MS imploy a "save axis contol settings to the aircraft" rather than "one setting fits all". FS, as real as it gets? Well it's as real as it gets for MS-FS anyway. Time for them to move up a notch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some areas in the .air file of interest, that can reduce the "snap" effect. Sadly, they are not well documented. But one can play with them (under Aired, they are found in the Primary Aerodynamics section, and they are the entries related to yaw). I've been able to tweak some flight models to the point where a "normal" amount of rudder is required to keep them on the centerline in a crosswind takeoff and landing.Still, try as I might, I've never been able to get the rudder to react as well as the real thing. I had a little stick time in a 140 and a 172, and I well remember being coaxed to use the rudder for minor course corrections. Tonight I'll play with the 172 a bit.... Much of my FDE work is in the ultralight arena. It's been some months since I played around with this, and then it was because a specific U/L would be all over the place taking off in a 2mph crosswind....-John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting in theory but I believe you are way off the mark here. If you had an instructor that told you to use the rudder to line yourself up for approach then I would seriously consider finding another instructor. What makes an airplane turn is the horizontal component of lift....banking the airplane. The rudder is used for two things only....countering adverse yaw when applying aileron or keeping the nose on a specific heading when making cross controlled approaches or slips. Trying to use the rudder only to align yourself with the runway only results in a skidding approach. Yes, the plane will eventually skid around to the new course but it is very inefficient and takes longer than a coordinated turn. The proper method is to use coordinated rudder and aileron. If you are overshooting back and forth then you are using too much aileron. Another concern is that when in the pattern you should keep that ball centered...unless you are slipping in a crosswind. A coordinated stall on approach is almost a nonevent, except for the mess that might result in your breaches! :-) However, an uncoordinated stall could very well result in a spin. At pattern altitudes, you are not likely to survive. I lost three good friends last month to this very thing. The one flying had been a pilot since 1952 and was one of the most experience pilots I knew. The other two with him were also extremely experienced. I'm not an instructor, and certainly no expert, but I am an instrument rated pilot presently working on my commercial ticket.A really good book that you might want to read is "Stick and Rudder" by Wolfgang Langewitz (I think I got his name correct, not real sure).Happy flying!David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>I agree. The rudders in FS2K2 and previous versions is the >worse I've experienced in a sim and I'm a RL pilot. I'll add a bit of comment here. One area where the rudder control in FS2002 "shines" is during the takeoff roll and climb. With a set of rudder pedals, the feel of pushing to the right & against a "force" is quite good. It stays this way through the climb. Most other sims with exception to IL-2 seem to get wishy washy when on the roll. You might be applying right rudder pedal, then all of the sudden the plane drifts off to the right as if there is no force trying to pull it to the left. And then there is even simulations that require no rudder when on the roll with single engine aircraft.In my experience with MSFS products, FS2K pulled too much right when applying power. FS2002 smoothed this out. The re-worked default Cessna 182 by RealAir Simulations has a real close rudder effect during roll and climb. In fact, it's one of the best I've run into during the last year and a half of FS2002.L.Adamson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was taught myself to use rudder for a couple degrees of heading change if needed, instead of applying a bank. Schools of different thought here.Another time that I found rudder useful was during the "dog fight" training I had with "AirCombat USA" in their Marchetti 260's. We'd get the opponent within the general area of the crosshairs, and then apply small amounts of rudder/yaw to get the other aircraft centered in the crosshair. Rudder is also the effective way to lead the opponent with your gunsight if needed.L.Adamson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another time that I found rudder useful was during the "dog fight" training I had with "AirCombat USA" in their Marchetti 260's.Agreed about the rudders! Almost useless.. Coincidently, the Marchetti 260 from RealAir Simulations is about the only add-on plane that does a pretty good job of canceling out the "snap back".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In talking "snap back" here, a couple of items come into play. For instance, what's the amount of dihedral of the specific aircraft's wings; and the effect of this dihedral putting the plane into a slight bank when using rudder only? And then............... what is the effect of this banking, or righting itself when rudder is released?It is a fact that diheadral effects the flight dynamics of rudder use. As an example, early radio control aircraft had just one channel & it was usually used for rudder. The aircraft had lot's of dihedral built into the wings to initiate a bank and turn from rudder only. Many aerobatic planes will have NO dihedral so that rudder doesn't start a rolling effect. I've also flown an ultra-light that required leading with the rudder because the ailerons had more of a banking effect than actual turning.A few months ago, I purposely banked harder than normal with ailerons in both directions on a 172SP to compare effects to flight simulation. But un-fortunately, I didn't experiment with the rudder. What I'd like to ask,..... is who has been up recently and with what aircraft to make direct comparisons to real and the sim. Also, I feel it's important to use rudder pedals in the sim. I find little realism in using keyboards, twist grips, or rocker switches. The pedals seem to create a "feel" to opposing forces that I don't get with other devices.Notice, I'm not saying one way or the other on the exact reaction, because I need to experiment first..L.Adamson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A 172SP in real life will "snap back" if you fully release rudder pressure from when you apply max pressure on the rudder (eg in a forward slip). The student should be taught to slowly release the rudder pressure (I'm sure this is what you were doing in the 150 so as to not make it snap back).As far as using rudder to maintain a localizer, you should only use the rudder to make small corrections in heading (if you want to use the rudder to turn the airplane). This would seem to make sense on an approach however the "book" technique would be to use the ailerons and small heading changes. Please note that all the rudders do is cause the airplane to roll slightly which causes the turn (NOT the rudder turning it).As with many things in flying, "technique" is usually whatever works best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I flew the Lago Quicksilver tonight (part of their UL collection). I had no problem using the rudder for small course corrections, experiencing a little snap back only when there was a significant bank. The Lago Quicksilver also has dihedral effect modeled quite well. As noted in the other reply, gradual release of the rudder in this example allowed me to maintain the heading the aircraft took after rudder was applied. I think much has to do with the flight model, especially in the .air file entries I mentioned in my post above... Flying the default 172 is a completely different experience...definite snap after rudder was released, even if released gradually. In my FDE work, one parameter that made a huge difference in the .air file was the "Yaw moment-Sideslip" entry in the Primary Aerodynamics record. A very high number can really aggravate the snap effect. The 172's default entry is 270, and lowering it to 30 makes a big difference/improvement.... Lago's entry is 13 for the Quicksilver.... Also, the aircraft is much easier to slip and/or ground taxi in crosswinds when this entry is lower.-John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just bumping this thread to see if anyone's tried the Aired .air file edits I suggested.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great topic about one of the most difficult and important areas of flight simulation. As a real life pilot, I would like very much to see more realism in the simulation of roll/yaw couplings. I agree with FlyingRhino on several points. The important one is to stay coordinated on approach. Being low and slow and overbanking to minimize the overshoot while turning base to final is a frequent source of accidents, deadly ones. Statistics show the same thing tends to happen a lot during IFR circling approaches.In fact, the nature of roll and yaw and their interactivity is complex because many different forces with opposing non-linear effects interact (a physicist's delight!). A good detailed discussion including wingsweep effects is given in the excellent book:"The Illustrated Guide to Aerodynamics" H.C. Smith, Mc Graw Hill, 1992Jump to pages 172 and following if in a hurry. This reading is a must for anyone interested in aerodynamics and aircraft design. It is easier to read than of Raymer's monumental book.Anyway, if banking and letting the yoke go back to neutral, the airplane will keep banking because, at least in first approximation, there is no restoring moment. With rudder applied continuously, the yaw will increase resulting in spiral divergence (dangerous). If rudder is applied and then abruptly released, induced roll ensues, but it is out of phase with the yaw, producing a damped oscillatory motion called dutch roll. I remember this to be real bad when flying the Cessna 310 which has tip tanks and a rather small vertical stabilizer.The thing to remember on the subject is that several distinct effects cause coupling between roll and yaw forces and it is impossible to isolate one from the other, whether in the real airplane or in the simulator.With Fs2k2, I never had that feeling of "real" when applying control inputs with rudder and/or ailerons on final with a crosswind. I must admit that Fly!II gave the closest feel with some of their aircrafts.Here is a challenge for a brave and patient sim pilot: optimize the airfile under "primary flight dynamics". There are so many roll/yaw parameters to vary that it may well be possible to get closer...Or, since we do not have the equations of motion and the models from MS, use a statistical or Monte Carlo method with the airfile parameters?Charles

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OMG.. i just finished a flight,,, i was gonna post tha same thing....i agree once you let go of the rudder it jsut returns back to the normal position making it more diff to line up with the runway....Hope in FS2004 there is more realisctic Rudder...and other stuff...Javier CamposAvA-LaX/AAL251OAK ARTCC/VATSIM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>With Fs2k2, I never had that feeling of "real" when applying >control inputs with rudder and/or ailerons on final with a >crosswind. I must admit that Fly!II gave the closest feel >with some of their aircrafts. >But.................. Have you tried Rob Young's Marchetti SF260 for FS2002? While his flight dynamics were king for the FLY series, I believe he's outdid them with the Marchetti. The effect of rudder, ailerons, and especially slips are simply wonderful!!I was trying out a few flight comparisons in FLYII last evening because of this initial post/replies, and realized just how far flight dynamics have come with the SF260. I personally think they're much better than say the FLYII Flyhawk's..L.Adamson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When the wings are level, the aircraft will not change heading immediately when yawed, but eventually it will. Because 1: along the fuselage the aircraft has the least air resistant, it means that the sideward motion-component will disappear first. 2: The only independent force comes from the motor (assuming level flight), which is pointing about the same direction as the fuselage. The fuselage is changing direction immediately when rudder is applied, and the heading is then altered gradually when the air resistant is

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this