F-18 Rudders During Take-Off

Super Hornet rudders
Super Hornet launching from USS Nimitz (All images: Author)

Some visitors of this site who closely analysed the pictures I took aboard USS Nimitz, asked me why the F/A-18 Hornets (both C, E and F variants) have the rudders deflected inwards during catapult launches.

That position of the rudders is common to all the Hornets, not only those departing from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier: the rudders are deflected to help the nose raising as the aircraft departs. Since the vertical fins are angled outwards, deflecting both rudders inwards gives a downward component of lift, which acts behind the centre of gravity, generating a pitch-up momentum that assists the elevators.


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.