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Steering a plane on the ground

  • 06-11-2019 12:39pm
    Registered Users Posts: 25,032 ✭✭✭✭

    Is engine thrust on one side ever used when a plane is doing a tight turn on the taxiway or (in a small airport with no taxiway) to do a 180 degree turn at the end of the runway before takeoff? ?

    Does the nose wheel does all the work or do they rev up an engine on one side to execute the turn?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,148 ✭✭✭bikeman1

    Not a pilot here but my understanding is a combination of engine thrust, rudder and nose wheel are used as required to turn the aircraft.

    Obviously a tight turn like a 180 uses more than a simple 10 degree turn along a taxiway.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 4,098 Mod ✭✭✭✭Locker10a

    The nose wheel tiller would be used

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,729 ✭✭✭martinsvi

    it depends. I fly a q400, the tiller can give you a bit rough response on some of our aircraft, so by helping out with differential power you can make your turns smoother. Engines are quite far apart from each other providing the momentum. Also turboprop power delivery is much quicker.

    I imagine if you have tail mounted engines the lack of momentum would prevent you from turning.. And if its a really large jet powerplant, you would waste some time and fuel simply by spooling up the engine, it wouldn't be as responsive as a smaller engine or prop.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,920 ✭✭✭billy few mates

    Nose wheel steering is normally used for steering the aircraft along the ground and although on most large aircraft the nose wheel steering also has an input into the rudder system, the rudder is completely ineffective at low taxi speeds.
    Very large aircraft like the 747 and 777 also have steerable body gear which cuts in once the nose wheel is turned beyond a certain amount to assist in making the turn and to prevent scuffing of the main wheel tyres.