Section 1, Lesson 1
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Left Turning Tendencies

Left Turning Tendencies

Left turning tendencies are always at play in some capacity. They are easy to correct, but, much like adverse yaw, failure to correct for them is poor airmanship and actually makes your job as a pilot harder.

Lesson Notes

Left turning tendencies cause the airplane to want to go left, even when we are trying to fly straight. There are four main turning tendencies:

  • P-factor
  • Sipstream
  • Torque
  • Gyroscopic Precession (mostly in tailwheel airplanes)


It’s important to know what flight conditions increase the force of each turning tendency:

  • P-factor: High AOA and high power
  • Slipstream: Low airspeed and high power
  • Torque: High power
  • Gyroscopic Precession: High power setting, large pitch, roll or yaw change.

These left turning tendencies are most obvious on the takeoff roll and initial climb.

Additional Resources

Flashcard Questions

What is P-factor?

What is slipstream?

What is torque?

What factors (airspeed, power, etc) affect each turning tendency?

What flight regimes have the highest left turning tendencies?

How does a pilot counteract left turning tendencies?

Which is likely to require more rudder input, a turn to the left or a turn to the right? Assume starting from a neutral rudder position and all other variables being equal.

What flight condition is likely to have the least amount of left turning tendency?

A pilot is practicing slow flight, flying just above stall speed (just below stall AOA). Lacking sufficient rudder correction, the airplane begins a gradual left turn. The pilot corrects by adding right aileron and gently pulling back. The airplane promptly flips over to the left and nose dives. Why?