Weathervane effect

Weathervane Effect

Weathervane effect

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Weathervaning or weathercocking (Heflin, 1956) is a phenomenon experienced by aircraft on the ground.

Aircraft on the ground have a natural pivoting point on an axis through the main landing gear contact points . As most of the side area of an aircraft will typically be behind this pivoting point, any crosswind will create a yawing moment tending to turn the nose of the aircraft into the wind (Denker, n.d.; FAA, 2004).

It is not to be confused with directional stability, as experienced by aircraft in flight (Anderson, 1989).


Anderson, John D. (1989). Introduction to flight (3rd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.

Denker, John S. (n.d.). See how it flies. Retrieved March 22nd from

FAA (2004). Airplane Flying Handbook. Washington D.C.:U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, FAA-8083-3A.

Heflin, Woodford A. (Ed., 1956). The United States Air Force dictionary. Princeton, NJ: D. Van Nostranc Co. Inc.

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