What does the roll, pitch, and yaw image mean?

The Wikipedia page for Yaw has an image of a mnemonic device to remember angle names. Not knowing anything about angle names, the image makes no sense to me. Can someone please explain it? The cat represents roll. A pitcher pitch. And a door yaw. For the door, “oor” is bolded. To me, none of it makes sense except for the pitcher. So what does it mean?


Are you sure it is supposed to mean anything? Maybe it just rhymes. I mean door and yaw, but pitcher refers to the initial segment, so they are not being consistent, to say nothing of the cat. Then you can remember the name, perhaps, but beyond that you still need to remember what it represents.

It’s about direction of movement and the symbols are there to describe the type of movement.

Lay on the ground, face down, with your arms outstretched. Now, roll over like a cat. That’s roll.

Return to the position. Now, imagine putting your face through the floor while raising your legs, like tipping a pitcher forward. That’s pitch.

Return to position and shimmy around so you are 90 degrees from the direction the top of your head was original facing, like opening or closing a door. That’s yaw.

Pitch is also bolded in Pitcher.

@DMC has it. I don’t know how useful it is though, it seems like one of those things that is so simple you really don’t need a memory aid.

Honestly, it’s a pretty bad illustration of the concepts (referring to the image in the OP), so I can understand the confusion. It would have been much, much, much better to use one object in three different positions to illustrate. They tried to be cute, but instead they were just confusing.

It’s not supposed to illustrate the concept, it’s suppose to help you remember which is which.

Yaw is rotation around the vertical axis same as a door rotates around the vertical axis, yaw/door. Pitch is rotation around the horizontal axis the same way a pitcher rotates around the horizontal axis, pitch/pitcher. Roll is around the longitudinal axis like the cat. This one doesn’t need to mean anything, it’s just “the other one”.

I know what the concepts are. And I don’t see how a bad illustration would help anyone remember anything.

I guess it’s the door/yaw that confused me the most. It makes it seem that oor stands for something.

I don’t think the oor is actually bolded. I think it’s just a function of the font being a bit uneven.

It’s just emphasising the bit of the word that sounds like the movement. Pitch is also bold in Pitcher.

I guess it’s a creaky door?

Me neither, but I guess we aren’t the target audience seeing as we already know and remember what they are. I don’t think the illustration is bad, it just needs an initial explanation just like most memory aids.

My memory aid for which side of a boat/plane the green light goes on is that green has more letters than red. Doesn’t seem like much of a memory aid but it works very well for me.

Also, am I the only one who thinks the arrows/axis for the cat and the pitcher are mixed up? Like the axis/arrow for the cat should actually be associated with the pitcher, and vice versa?

Or am I just orienting the 2D image into a 3D image wrong?

The cat one is poorly drawn. They’d be better off just having the pitcher and door, which make perfect sense, and leaving roll as “the other one”.

I know quite well which axis roll, pitch, and yaw rotations are about, and like @ASL_v2.0, I find those illustrations and whatever mnemonic they are trying to reinforce confusing as hell. It should take the average person with good spatial visualization skills about five minutes to remember the distinctions. I still have difficulty with left and right (challenges of being ambidextrous and cross-dominant) but pitch/roll/yaw are quite easy to intuit.


Well, I find the door and pitcher one pretty obvious. The cat is badly drawn.

“Door” and “yaw” rhyme in some nonrhotic dialects.

Memory aids are very personal and don’t work for everyone. I find the how-many-days-in-a-month poem to be completely useless because I can’t remember the words to the poem. I find remembering those words to be just as difficult as wrote learning the number of days in each month.Other people seem to find it to be very good. Whatever. I don’t think that memory aid is bad just because it doesn’t work for me.

I think door and yaw rhyme in the OP’s dialect.

The pitcher would be obvious, if the axis and rotation arrow weren’t (to my view) 90 degrees off from what they should be.

I have to say again how much I sympathize with the OP. If it’s got me scratching my head, as someone who made a living at sea (ships pitch and roll all the time—and haw, too, but then we tend to call that “turning”), I can’t imagine how someone who doesn’t already have a strong, intuitive grasp of the concepts (someone who might need a memory aid) could get anything from those drawing.