Principal axes and rotation of aerial systems

A drone in flight is free to rotate in 3 dimensions of space. These rotations are produced by moment about the principal axes. These rotations are intentionally produced by moving control surfaces of an drone. This results in variation on net force, enabling the user to control the drone.

Longitudinal axis:

The axis along the length (front – back direction) of the aircraft, usually passing through its center of gravity. The rotation of the aircraft along the longitudinal axis is also called as ‘Roll’.

Lateral (transverse) axis:

The axis that runs below the wing, from one wingtip to another (left – right), passing through the airplane’s center of gravity. The rotation of the aircraft along the lateral axis is  also called as ‘Pitch’.

Perpendicular axis:

The axis perpendicular to the wings and body of the aircraft (up – down), passing through the airplane’s center of gravity. The rotation of the aircraft along the perpendicular axis is also called as ‘Yaw’.