We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Roll Axis?

By G.W. Poulos
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The roll axis is one of three primary axes used to define and control motion in a three-dimensional space. Used primarily in the piloting of aircraft, submarines and spacecraft, the roll axis is defined by an imaginary line that runs through the center of a craft or vehicle from the front to the rear. Measured in degrees of rotation from zero to 359, 0° on the roll axis is referenced to as a fixed point in space, usually upright and level with the Earth in the case of aircraft and submarines. In spacecraft, the fixed zero point can be any point that appears to be stationary in relation to the craft’s direction of travel, such as the Earth, the sun or the orbital plane traveled by the planets as they revolve around the sun.

When an aircraft rotates on its roll axis, its nose will continue to point in the direction of travel as the wings revolve around the axis. The roll axis increases from 0° to 359° in a clockwise direction relative to the position of the pilot. At 0° roll axis, an aircraft would be flying straight and level; at 90°, the aircraft would still be pointed in the direction of travel, but the left wing would be pointed straight up and the right wing straight down. At 180°, the aircraft would be flying straight but upside-down in relation to the Earth.

There are circumstances when the fixed point of a roll axis will be changed temporarily, particularly when maneuvering or performing a task requiring movement relative to another object. A spacecraft will change the definition of its roll axis when docking with another spacecraft or an orbital station. In this case, the center of the docking apparatus will become the fixed point and all of the spacecraft’s movements are measured relative to it until the docking procedure is complete. Once complete, the fixed reference for the roll axis will either return to its former definitions or change again to the orbital station itself until the spacecraft leaves its proximity.

The roll axis functions in combination with two other axes, the pitch axis and the yaw axis, to define any relative movement or direction in a three-dimensional space. The pitch axis is an imaginary line that runs through the center of a vehicle from its left side to its right and movement is measured in relation to the vehicle’s direction of travel. Rotating on the pitch axis changes the up and down angle of the vehicle’s nose with 0° being level and 90° pointing the nose straight up. The yaw axis runs from the top of a vehicle to its bottom. When moving in the yaw axis, the nose of the vehicle rotates horizontally to the left or right in relation to the vehicle’s direction of travel.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.