Text Box: WARBIRD NOTES #41     14 Jun 2000    (31)    
Here's another example of terminology being used in error.  I’d never thought this would need any discussion, however several computer forum exchanges within the past few months have delved into this subject and – in the words of one student of my acquaintance – “Wow, those guys must really be misinformed, huh?”


Before we get into a discussion of the “rolls” we’re talking about here, I should mention a couple “tongue-in-cheek” definitions of “rolls” and aerobatics from the CAF dictionary of the past (circa 1967); they just somehow seemed apropos to this subject.  The “sweet roll” (as well as the “Puerto Rican sixteen”) found their way into that dictionary as maneuvers.  


Anyhow, now back to the serious stuff.  Over the years, I’ve seen this maneuver taught in two or three ways.  And I’ve taught different ways of doing it – depending upon the objective.  So I guess we have a consensus among flight instructors of the maneuver’s validity – but not of the terminology. 


(1) One method would be while in straight and level flight to pick a point on the horizon and enter a turn away from it for some amount of turn and then, without stopping, reverse the turn to pass through the original point in the opposite direction, then again reverse the turn and so on, while all the time coordinating the flight controls (especially the rudder and ailerons).  (2) Another variation or method used is to pick a straight road or a point on the horizon.  Then precisely hold that point while initiating a bank (takes opposite rudder), then reverse the bank to an equal amount in the opposite direction.  This is repeated over and over while using the flight controls to precisely maintain that point (especially the rudder and ailerons).  This variation especially lends itself to getting the student ready for the aggressive use of the rudder in acrobatic flight.


Evidently – to a certain number of instructors – the above aileron/rudder coordination exercises (especially #2, the one that holds the reference point) that we all give our new students are called “dutch rolls”.


Well, we’ve got some news for you, chum!  Those aren’t “dutch rolls”, they’re simply plain old garden variety “coordination exercises” or “coordination rolls”.  And – undeniably – they’re extremely useful for teaching coordination or for quickly evaluating an aircraft’s handling qualities!  I’ve used them from the very first time I took my first lesson in an Aeronca Champ right up until the present.  When we were aviation cadets in “Bevo” Howard’s USAF T-6 school, we were taught them from the very first day of our flight training.  BUT THOSE ARE NOT DUTCH ROLLS!  You copy that?  “Sorry Charlie” but no cigar, those are NOT dutch rolls!  No big deal, you say?  Well, OK, but you need to realize that when you use an incorrect term it’s teaching your  student something completely wrong.  It’s sort of like the media using the term “Piper Cub” for every airplane less than a medium sized jet.  And – besides perpetrating a falsehood – it can later kill him/her!   And if you don’t think or realize that a dutch roll can easily become lethal, look up the Braniff/Boeing 707 (N-7071) flight training accident involving the tossing of a couple of pylon mounted engines off the wings in the fall of 1959.


So you say, “well then, just what IS a dutch roll”?  In test pilot school we were provided with a detailed description.  While that description seems to be far more technical than required for this discussion you can look it up in your copy of “Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators“ or any other reliable reference book available.  I’ve never been able to induce a satisfactory “dutch roll” in any straight-wing training type airplane.  This roll/yaw coupling phenomenon is usually found only in swept-wing types.  One might ask where the term “dutch roll” originated, most seem to think that it probably found its genesis in the rolling motion of a ice speed-skater on the frozen canals of Holland.  At any rate, I can attest that the recovery from this potentially violent and lethal maneuver is completely non-intuitive!  In fact, I’d describe it as the antithesis of coordination.  It is a good portion of the reason for the development of yaw dampers (upon their first development they were referred to as dampeners and later, as dampners) on modern day jet transports. It is also the reason why – if one experiences a yaw damper becoming inoperative on the Boeing 727 – that the overriding priority is to extend the spoilers and descend NOW to a cruise altitude in the twenties.          


Stuff yet to write:


Research into some possibilities for erroneous use reveals that it might have had it’s origin in a FAR 141 student pilot training syllabus (approved by Cessna),  in which it appears that the term was used – incorrectly.  Also, an FAA source tells me that his instructor also used the term incorrectly years ago in a Piper Warrior while teaching him to fly. So – no wonder, huh?  It’s sorta like that line in that old song by Johnny Cash, “bad news travels like wildfire!”


One person also mentioned that “since swept wings are a relatively new aviation development”. Allow me to exhibit a sly grin here – like the Germans weren’t conducting aeronautical research on this configuration about six or seven decades ago!


Any instructor hopes that his student will later proudly recall him as a font of knowledge regarding the things he taught.  Imagine that same student’s disillusionment and disappointment years later if he learns that his instructor was just plain wrong. One instructor says he feels it’s shorter to say “dutch roll” than “coordination exercise”.  Well, that might very well be, however it’s also shorter to call an aileron a flap – but no one that I know does!    Also, he said “aerobatic pilots in particular have a long tradition of giving their maneuvers colorful names”.  That’s certainly true and some of them certainly are descriptive, the “torque roll”, “top hat”, “humpty-bump” and others immediately come to mind here. One instructor who’s always used the correct term told me that it more likely was because a school that included “dutch rolls” in their school’s literature or syllabus could ask for higher fees from its students.  Oh – if it were only that simple!


To dos:


Mentioned in ”Fly The Wing” by Webb.  Mentioned in “Basic Aerobatics” by Kershner.  Mentioned in USAF 51-1 “Primary Flying”.  Mentioned in xxxxxx



Note to self, check this statement out:  Pilots generally don't get offended that the "roll off the top" is
also commonly known in the U.S. as an "Immelman," even though Immelmann's airplane was incapable of performing this maneuver.


Verne Jobst – “Civil Pilot Training Manual”. It (1941 edition) refers to them under “coordination exercises”.

R. Sohn   © 2000

Dutch Roll - bill howell

Many swept wing aircraft suffer a dynamic instability problem known as Dutch Roll.

Dutch roll happens when the aircraft has relatively strong static lateral stability (usually due to the swept wings) and somewhat weak directional stability (relatively.) In a Dutch roll the aircraft begins to yaw due to a gust or other input. The yaw is slow damping out so the aircraft begins to roll before the yaw is stopped (due to the increased speed of the advancing wing and the increased lift due to the swept wing effect.)

By the time the yaw stops and begins to swing back toward zero slip the aircraft has developed a considerable roll rate and due to momentum plus the slip angle the aircraft continues to roll even once the nose has begun returning to the original slip angle.

Eventually the yaw overshoots the zero slip angle causing the wings to begin rolling back in the opposite direction.

The whole procedure repeats, sometimes with large motions, sometimes witch just a small churning motion. Like all dynamic stability problems, Dutch roll is much worse at high altitudes where the air is less dense.

Dutch roll is almost certain to happen in a jet aircraft is the Yaw dampener is turned off at high altitude. Therefore, the first thing to check if an aircraft begins to exhibit Dutch roll is that the Yaw Dampener is on. The pilot should then try to minimize the yawing oscillations by blocking the rudder pedals (i.e. hold the rudder pedals in the neutral position.) Next apply aileron (spoiler) control opposite to the roll. The best technique to use is short jabs of ailerons applied opposite to the roll. Try to give one quick jab on each cycle (i.e. turn the wheel toward the rising wing, then return it to neutral.) Finally accelerate to a higher speed, where directional stability will be better, or descend into more dense air, for the same reason.

The movie below shows graphically what a steady Dutch roll looks like. However, it is critical to realize that Dutch rolls are often dynamically divergent. In other words in this movie the Dutch roll is exhibiting neutral dynamic stability, but it may well be negative dynamic stability in a given aircraft (at certain speed and air densities.)







Civil Pilot Training Manual

Civil Aeronautics Bulletin No. 23


Coordination Exercises

Banks without turns.-Definition.- This maneuver differs from those previously described in an important way. Those all teach coordination of types used in practical flying. This one teaches a different coordination, which is of no direct practical use, though it is closely related to the coordination often used in slipping in a gliding approach to an airport so as to steepen the approach without gaining speed. Its use here is primarily as an exercise in learning new coordinations.

This maneuver consists of flying level and banking the ship first to one side and then to the other, meanwhile holding the longitudinal axis horizontal and not permitting it to swing form side to side. In other words, the banks are to be made without allowing the airplane to turn or its nose to rise or fall. Naturally, a certain amount of slip is to be expected.

Execution.- For this exercise also a straight road is needed or else a fixed point on the horizon. The exercise is performed as follows, assuming that the ship is flying straight and level and that the first bank is to be made to the right: pressure on the stick toward the right should be exerted and at the same time, in most airplanes, a slight pressures on the right rudder pedal, depending on the rate of roll. As the right wing drops, the nose will tend to swing to the right. This should be checked by pressure on the left rudder pedal. When the desired degree of bank has been reache it should be held momentarily. This means that the pressure on the stick may be eased slightly, but not removed, while the pressure on the rudder pedal is maintained. At the same time a slight forward pressure on the stick may be required to keep the nowe from coming up.

Recovery.- In recovering from the bank and rolling into the opposite bank, pressure to the left must be exerted on the stick and the pressure on the left rudder pedal increased (the amount depending upon aileron pressure), until the ship has rolled past the level position. Before the airplane begins to yaw, the pressure on the left rudder pedal is removed and pressure applied gradually to the right pedal.

Again, when the proper bank has been acquired, the ship is rolled into the opposite bank by reversing the procedure just outlined. The banks to alternated sides must be equal, and the timing rhythmic. The flight path must be straight and the nose of the ship must not rise of fall.

Reasons for specified use of controls.- It will be noted that if the ship is banked with the rudder held either in neutral or left free, it will attempt at first to yaw toward the side of the low aileron, or high wing. This tendency is due to the fact that the aileron that is turned down has more drag than the one turned up. It must be checked by using opposite rudder. In other words, while the ship is rolling to the right, it will attempt to turn to the left until the roll is partly completed, and the right rudder must be applied to hold it straight. After the ship is banked and begins to slip, the nose will tend to swing to the side of the low wing. This tendency is due to the pressure of the air against the low side of the tail fin in the slip. Pressure on the upper rudder pedal will then be needed to keep the nose from swinging. This will result in a slight sideslip to the right and wind on the right side of the face.

Since pressure is being applied on the upper rudder pedal (the left pedal in a right bank), there may be a tendency for the nose to rise slightly. It is for this reason that slight forward pressure on the stick may be needed.

Common faults.- (1) Allowing ship to yaw toward high wing at beginning of bank. This is caused by not applying enough pressure on the lower rudder pedal.

(2) Allowing the nose to swing away from the low wing. This is caused by too much pressure on the upper rudder pedal.

(3) Allowing the nose to swing toward the side of the low wing after the bank has been established. This is caused by not applying enough pressure on the upper rudder pedal.

(4) Failure to keep the longitudinal axis horizontal. As previously explained the nose tends to rise because of pressure on the top rudder pedal. Failure to apply sufficient forward pressure on the stick is the cause of this fault.

(5) Allowing the nose to yaw toward the side of the low wing when recovering from bank. This is caused by failure to increase pressure on upper rudder pedal as aileron pressure is applied.

(6) Failure to maintain uniform banks and timing. This fault can be corrected by practice.

The above was copied directly on pages 137 and 138. I was taught it by the name of “Advanced Coordination Exercise”. Same thing as “Banks without turns”.

The other coordination exercise was called by the “Civil Pilot Training Manual as “rolling from bank to bank. We call it the “Elementary Coordinations”.

Vern with an “e”

While in Mattoon for the “Wings Weekend”, I discussed the terminology of “Dutch Rolls”. CFI’s of ‘experience’ agreed that “Dutch Rolls” were a jet phenomonen only due to the jet swept wing. The way we were taught (and had to demonstrate) was after getting into a TRUE”Dutch Roll”, we applied ½ speed brake to correct the situation. Very effective.



16.5   Coordination Exercises

Here is a good maneuver for learning about your plane's roll-axis inertia and adverse yaw, called ``coordinated wing rocking''. The procedure is: roll rather rapidly into a 45 degree bank to the left. Pause for a moment, then roll to wings level. Pause again, then roll 45 degrees to the right. Pause again, roll wings level, and repeat.

Refer to chapter 11 for a discussion of various techniques for perceiving whether or not your maneuvers are accurately coordinated.

The rolls should be done sufficiently rapidly that significant aileron deflection is required. Do the maneuver at cruise airspeed, and then do it at approach speed and even slower speeds, so you can see how the amount of rudder required increases as the speed decreases. Do the maneuver while looking out the side (wings should go up and down like a flyswatter, with no slicing) and while looking out the front (rate of turn proportional to amount of bank, no backtracking on roll-in, no overshoot on roll-out). Pay attention to the seat of your pants.

You should do the maneuver two ways: once with large aileron deflection applied gradually, and once with large aileron deflection applied suddenly. The difference between the two demonstrates adverse yaw.

16.6   Constant-Heading Slips

Unlike the previous exercise (which involved coordinated wing rocking) this one involves intentionally uncoordinated wing rocking. Put the airplane in a slight bank (15 degrees or so), then apply top rudder to keep it from turning. Hold it there for a few seconds, then roll back to wings level, hold it there, then roll to the other side, etc., maintaining constant heading throughout. This is grossly uncoordinated, but it is amusing and educational because it lets you learn the feel of the controls and the response of the airplane.

When you first put the airplane into a bank, it has a sideways force but no sideways motion, so there is no weathervaning tendency and no need to apply top rudder. It takes a couple of seconds for the airplane to build up sideways velocity, during which time you feed in progressively more top rudder. The same logic applies in reverse when you roll out: keep the rudder deflected during the roll-out, to maintain heading; then, as the sideways velocity goes away, gradually relax the rudder pressure.

For a discussion of the physics of the situation, see the end of section 16.8.

You might think this exercise is good practice for crosswind landings, but it's not directly relevant. That's because it involves a change in direction of motion, while a crosswind landing involves a transition from crabbing flight to slipping flight without any change in direction of motion. Slipping along a road (section 16.8) is a more-relevant exercise.

Constant-heading slips are essentially the same as the top three ``points'' of an an aerobatic 8-point roll.

Constant-heading slips are sometimes mistakenly called Dutch rolls, but they are not the same as the natural aerodynamic Dutch roll oscillations discussed in section 10.6.1. Both involve slipping to one side and then the other, like a Dutch kid on skates, making a series of slips (left, right, left, right) without much change in ``direction'', depending on what you mean by ``direction''. But note the differences:

Another amusing and educational exercise is called ``drawing with the nose''. It goes like this: keeping the wings level at all times, yaw the nose to the left with the rudder. Then raise the nose with the flippers. Then yaw the nose to the right with the rudder. Then lower the nose with the flippers, and repeat. Imagine you are drawing a rectangle on the sky in front of you, using the axis of the airplane as your pencil. Because of the slip-roll coupling described in section 9.2, while pressing right rudder you will need to apply left aileron to keep the wings level. The purpose of this exercise is to illustrate yaw-axis inertia, yaw-axis stability, and yaw-axis damping. That is, you will notice that if you make a sudden change in rudder deflection, the nose will overshoot before settling on it steady-stage heading. (Once again, the combination of controls used here is very different from proper turning procedure.)


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