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Ailerons on a typical RC airplane

Ailerons (blue) on an RC Airplane; © J. James

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Definition: A part of an airplane that changes the direction of flight, aileron also describes certain RC helicopter flight controls.

Aileron in RC Airplanes: A hinged control surface on the trailing edge (rear side) of an airplane wing near the tip, the aileron moves up and down and controls the direction of a rolling turn. An airplane has a pair of ailerons, controlled by servos, that move opposite of each other unless they are in the neutral (flat with the wing) position. With the right aileron up and the left aileron down the airplane will roll to the right. Move the right aileron down, the left goes up and the airplane starts rolling to the left.

Aileron on RC Helicopters: Although RC helicopters don't have ailerons, the term is also used in RC helicopter flight to describe the controls for left and right banking turns. The aileron control is another name for the cyclic roll -- left or right banking or rolling to the left or right.

Aileron Control on an RC Transmitter: On a typical 3-channel or 4-channel RC transmitter, movement of the ailerons (if present on the RC) is controlled by the left / right movement of the right stick. However, some controllers may use a different configuration.

Pronunciation: ey-luh-ron
Also Known As: Roll | Bank | Cyclic Roll
Common Misspellings: ailron
Watching your RC from behind it's easy to see that pushing the aileron control left results in a roll to the left. But it looks backwards when your RC is coming toward you. A left roll is to your right. Imagine yourself as a tiny pilot in your RC and you'll see that the aileron control is doing exactly what it should.
Operating RC Vehicles

Tina Samuels
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