# Thread: Pardon my ignorance : What is Roll Rate ? | Forums

1. Being not well versed on technical aspects of aircraft and flight physics (I know about basic characteristics like speed, climb rate, ceiling, etc.), I always read discussions in the boards, some heated ones too, about roll rates. What is it and how is it vital to an aircraft's performance ?

Is it an important factor in evaluating if one aircraft is better than another ? Is there an indicator of roll rate (like kph or mph for speed) ?

Thanks.

2. Being not well versed on technical aspects of aircraft and flight physics (I know about basic characteristics like speed, climb rate, ceiling, etc.), I always read discussions in the boards, some heated ones too, about roll rates. What is it and how is it vital to an aircraft's performance ?

Is it an important factor in evaluating if one aircraft is better than another ? Is there an indicator of roll rate (like kph or mph for speed) ?

Thanks.

3. Roll rate is just what it sounds like. Its how fast an aircraft can roll over. It's pretty important to combat aircraft as it is a major factor in maneuverability.

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4. I'm no expert either, but roll rate is reported in degrees (of roll) per second. Flat to inverted = 180 degrees, etc.

Fast roll rates (e.g. 190As) provide big advantages in DFs because they accelerate the entry and exit to maneuvers. Split S is quicker. Immelmans are tighter. Breaks are faster. Some pilots use defensive rolls into sharp breaks so the pursuing plane can't anticipate turn direction.

Overall, I'd rather have fast roll in a DF than dive...or even climb. Just an opinion.

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5. I think when you see figures for it you are usually seeing the max roll rate the aircraft can deliver. Typically, due to weight, torque and momentum of an aircraft, it takes a second or two to actually get to your max roll rate. I believe the P38 would take longer to get to max than a Spit or FW, for example.

6. Also, roll rates are broken down into two forms: initial and sustained. The 152H and P-38 had high sustained but low initial roll rates. One 152 pilot said his plane was very slow to respond but once it got going was ok and, he said, it wasn't as bad as P-38. I have no idea how he made that comparison? Beute-Zirkus Rosarius? Their test flight data?

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