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3 Answers

What does it mean for an airplane to be slipping?

Asked by: 1327 views Aerodynamics

I think of a slip as when I feel myself being pulled toward the earth in a turn. Does that mean that the airplane is also slipping through the air? What exactly is happening to the airplane in a slip?

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3 Answers



  1. Mark Kolber on May 07, 2015

    It’s flying sideways. If you want an answer in aerodynamic language, someone else will probably give it.

    In very simplistic terms, when you are coordinated, the airplane is flying with it’s longitudinal axis aligned with the relative wind. When in a slip, the longitudinal axis is not aligned -you are turning the airplane so that the relative wind is hitting the side of the fuselage at an angle

    When I teach slips, for example, I explain a side slip allows for a rapid decrease in altitude because airplanes don’t fly too well sideways. Same explanation comes with the “right rudder” coax during a climb – you will climb better if you don’t try to fly sideways.

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  2. Nibake on May 07, 2015

    If you’re like me and you have trouble remembering the terminology for slip and skid just remember when you use a forward slip to land you are cross controlling. That’s a slip. A skid is when you have too much rudder in the direction that you are turning; inside rudder.

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  3. Thomas Hoshino on Sep 11, 2015

    Envision a large wok(a large angular-bowl shaped frying pan), and a small airplane halfway up the side as if it\’s flying around on the inside of the bowl. In a coordinated level turn, the airplane will track around the bowl at a constant distance from the center. In a slip, imagine the airplane sliding down towards the center as it travels around. In a skid, imagine the airplane sliding away from the center.

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