Game Development Reference
When an aircraft is in flight, it may rotate about any axis. It is standard practice to always
refer to an aircraft's rotations about three axes relative to the pilot. Thus, these axes—
the pitch axis, the roll axis, and the yaw axis—are fixed to the aircraft, so to speak,
irrespective of its actual orientation in three-dimensional space.
The pitch axis runs transversely across the aircraft—that is, in the port-starboard di‐
rection. 1 Pitch rotation is when the nose of the aircraft is raised or lowered from the
pilot's perspective. The roll axis runs longitudinally through the center of the aircraft.
Roll motions (rotations) about this axis result in the wing tips being raised or lowered
on either side of the pilot. Finally, the yaw axis is a vertical axis about which the nose of
the aircraft rotates in the left-to-right (or right-to-left) direction with respect to the pilot.
These rotations are illustrated in Figure 15-4 .
Figure 15-4. Aircraft rotations
1. Port is to the pilot's left and starboard is to the pilot's right when he or she is sitting in the cockpit facing