How Does Yaw Damping Work?

One of the most important aspects of understanding aviation is the ability to comprehend the various ways in which an aircraft moves in three dimensions. Those methods, which are referred to as roll, pitch, and yaw, make up the three principal axes of an aircraft. They are manipulated by the actuation of various flight surfaces, and their control is necessary in order to facilitate safe and stable flight. If the plane rolls too far in any of these axes, it could cause aerodynamic instability and passenger discomfort, which is why aircraft must feature components that can offset this effect. In this blog, we will discuss the purpose behind yaw damping, one of the many ways aerospace engineers combat unintentional rolling.

Yaw is the rotation of the aircraft's body along the "Z" axis if plotted on a three-dimensional Cartesian plane. Like other principal axes, it is measured as an angular velocity quantity, with units of degrees/second or radians/second. Yaw is controlled by the deflection of the rudder, which is the movable surface under the vertical stabilizer at the back of the aircraft. As the rudders deflect, the shape of the tail airfoil is changed, causing a side force in the opposite direction of that in which the rudder faces.

Before discussing yaw damping, it is first necessary to review how yaw rate is detected. Most multi-engine aircraft implement piezoelectric type sensors, which act as tuning forks, responding to the oscillatory environment created by rotational movement. As the system oscillates, it creates an alternating current which has a direct correlation with the yaw rate. The aircraft's computer calculates this conversion and produces a rate that may be read by the flight crew. Alternatively, micromechanical type sensors rely upon a change in capacitive acceleration based on the oscillation of an element capable of producing such movement.

Yaw damping is the combination of various systems that work together to ensure yaw rotation is within safe and comfortable limits. This is accomplished through several components, each of which is explained below.

Yaw Rate Gyroscope

The yaw rate gyroscope contains the oscillatory elements described above, which are used to measure the magnitude of the yaw. The resultant calculation from this device goes through other systems in order to provide accurate yaw damping.

Dutch Roll Filter

In order for the damping devices to actuate appropriately, the information received from the gyroscope must be filtered to reduce noise and demodulated so that the control surfaces may understand the data.


Like other control elements, yaw-damping components are controlled through the engagement of solenoids or actuators. Once the signal from the Dutch Roll filter has been accepted, the actuators execute the actual movement upon the rudders in order to counteract runaway yaw.


The output of the yaw damping system is the rudders since the magnitude of their deflection is what governs yaw. As a result, if the pilot were to apply enough pressure to the rudders to cause significant yaw, the damping system would engage, decreasing the rudder's output. While some aircraft are programmed to have the yaw damping system automatically employed after a particular altitude, most allow for easy toggling through a switch in the cockpit.


Yaw damping systems are critical in maintaining a safe and comfortable flight. With several specialized components involved such systems, it is important to procure parts through a reliable distributor. At Buy NSN, we offer customers significant cost savings and rapid lead times on an inventory of over 2 billion ready-to-purchase items for the civil and defense aviation industries. We operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accreditation and are the only independent distributor to uphold a strict NO CHINA Sourcing policy. We invite you to browse our expansive parts catalogs today, keeping in mind that you may begin the purchasing process at any time using our Instant RFQ service.


Recent Twitter Posts

 Semiconductor's Certifications and Memberships
Thank You for Visiting Buy NSN.

We Hope You Will Remember Us the Next Time You are Looking for Parts.

Request for Quote

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it.