Ask an Explainer


I would like to know if is possible to steer a plane left or right by reducing the thrust of the opposite engine?


Technically, yes. If you see an airplane in a movie where one of the engines is destroyed, the airplane spins around out of control: one engine is pushing it around in circles.

Technically, you could steer a plane by controlling how much thrust is coming from each engine. But this is not efficient, especially if you wanted to do a small turn: you couldn’t manipulate the engines that gently.


This is why, to yaw a plane, you use the rudder, rather than the engines.