Airplane Flight Control: A Simple Guide to Flying

Familiarity with the means by which a pilot controls the direction and attitude of a commercial aircraft during flight.

Photo: Getty Images

As a passenger, have you ever looked out the window and wondered what all those moving things on the wing are actually doing? The slats slide back and forth, the flaps lift and then close… what’s that?

These devices are only part of the flight controls on board any commercial airliner and are essentially secondary controls designed to improve the performance of the aircraft. Passengers rarely see the basic flight controls in action, which are essential to the safe operation of an aircraft, and that’s because they are located in the tail.

Elevators, stabilizers, rudders… all of these things also work to keep the plane stable and balanced, and keep it on course to its destination. Our staff pilot, Mohammed Anas Maaz, has put together a series of instructions that will walk you through the different types of flight controls, how they work, and how technology is making it easier and safer to fly commercial aircraft.

A Latin American Boeing 767-300ER lands in Mexico City

Photo: Guillermo Quiros Martinez via

  • Introduction to flight controls

    In almost all aircraft, the controls are moving aerodynamic surfaces attached to the main lifting body. When a moving part or surface is moved, the aerodynamic characteristic of the main surface changes, allowing the pilot to control the aircraft.

    Introduction to flight controls

  • How do the controls move?

    In this part, we will focus on how the flight controls are moved, how the hinge moments can be reduced, and how trimming the flight controls works.

    Boeing MAX 10 flight deck

    How do the controls move?

  • A look at the Fly By Wire control system

    The Fly-by-Wire system revolutionized the development of flight control systems and is a feature of many aircraft being developed today.

    A look at the Fly By Wire control system

https://simpleflying.com/aircraft-flight-controls-simple-flying-guide/ Airplane Flight Control: A Simple Guide to Flying

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