To: (Separate email addresses with commas)
From: (Your email address)
Message: (Optional)



How To Prevent Over Controlling Your Plane

Have you ever seen someone do this? Have you done it yourself?


It's called over-controlling, and it happens when pilots begin reacting to their own control inputs, instead of reacting only to externally-caused changes in pitch, roll, and bank. But what does that mean?

When you take off or land, you should fly the aircraft with minimal control inputs. In a perfect world, you'd take off, trim the controls, and only use fingertip pressure on them again until you needed to turn, or climb/descend at a different speed.

Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. Updrafts, downdrafts, gusts of winds, and changes in configuration mean that we're constantly adjusting controls to match a desired flight path. What happens when you exceed the required inputs? You have to correct for your mistakes.

When these mistakes start to occur in patterns, you're over-controlling, and setting yourself up for pilot-induced oscillations.


Gusty Crosswind Landings

On windy days with a large gusts, pilot induced oscillations tend to occur as the aircraft gets closer and closer to touchdown. Pilots have a tendency to correct for windy conditions by adding strong left/right, left/right aileron inputs for extended periods of time.


By moving the controls back and forth, you're attempting to fly a stable approach with the wings level. But instead of small corrections, you begin to fight your own large corrections, repeatedly.

Not only does this destabilize the approach, it simply makes it harder to touch down smoothly. And, if you have passengers that can see what's going on, it doesn't give them a lot of confidence to see you wrestling the airplane to the ground.

How To Fix It

On final approach, relatively few control inputs should be necessary to remain on glidepath and on centerline.

When corrections are made, they should be small. And when you make them, try to use fingertip pressure on the yoke or stick. When you grip the yoke tightly, you tend to over-control the aircraft, and introduce unwanted oscillations.

If a gust changes your attitude, use a small, light correction to bring your aircraft back to landing attitude.

If you find yourself swinging the controls up-down or side-to-side repeatedly, keep relaxing your grip on the control wheel. Allow yourself to find the correction angle, re-trim if you need to, and let the airplane fly itself.

It's a strategy that applies to almost all takeoffs, landings, and maneuvers.


It Takes Practice

If you find yourself over-controlling the aircraft, relax your grip, and visualize where the controls should be in order for the plane to fly itself. With some practice, you'll find it's much easier to use a few small corrections, rather than a lot of large repeated corrections that lead to over-controlling your aircraft.

Improve your landings for less than the cost of a flight lesson.

Do you have a perfect takeoff and landing every time? Neither do we. That's why we built our Mastering Takeoffs and Landings online course.

You'll learn strategies, tactics, and fundamental principles that you can use on your next flight, and just about any takeoff or landing scenario you'll experience as a pilot.

Plus, for less than the cost of a flight lesson, you get lifetime access to tools that increase your confidence and make your landings more consistent.

Ready to get started? Click here to purchase Mastering Takeoffs and Landings now.

Images Courtesy:

Recommended Stories

Latest Stories

    Load More
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email