STEEP TURNS

Steep Turns Lesson by wifiCFI


Objective

To determine that the applicant exhibits satisfactory knowledge, risk management, and skills associated with steep turns.

Knowledge

The applicant demonstrates understanding of: 

Purpose of steep turns.

Aerodynamics associated with steep turns, to include: 

Coordinated and uncoordinated flight.

Overbanking tendencies. 

Maneuvering speed, including impact of weight changes

Accelerated stalls.

Rate and radius of turn.

Effect of bank angle on stalls.

Altitude control at various airspeeds.

Risk Management

The applicant demonstrates the ability to identify, assess and mitigate risks, encompassing: 

Failure to divide attention between airplane control and orientation. 

Collision hazards, to include aircraft, terrain, obstacles and wires. 

Low altitude maneuvering/stall/spin. 

Distractions, loss of situational awareness, and/or improper task management. 

Failure to maintain coordinated flight. 

Steep Turns (AFH C9)

Steep turns consist of single to multiple 360° to 720° turns, in either or both directions, using a bank angle between 45° to 60°. 

The objective of the steep turn is to develop a pilot’s skill in flight control smoothness and coordination, an awareness of the airplane’s orientation to outside references, division of attention between flight control application, and the constant need to scan for hazards.

When performing steep turns, pilots will be exposed to: 

Higher load factors 

The airplane’s inherent overbanking tendency 

The loss of vertical component of lift when the wings are steeply banked 

The need for substantial pitch control pressures 

The need for additional power to maintain altitude and airspeed during the turn

In a steep turn, the pilot will need to increase pitch with elevator back pressures that are greater than what has been previously utilized.

Because of the higher load factors, steep turns should be performed at an airspeed that does not exceed the airplane’s design maneuvering speed (VA) or the manufacturer’s recommended speed.

As the load factor increases, so does the stalling speed.

As the bank angle increases in level flight, the margin between stalling speed and maneuvering speed decreases.

As bank angles steepen, the airplane will exhibit the behavior to continue rolling in the direction of the bank unless deliberate and opposite aileron pressure is held against the bank. 

Flying the Maneuver 

Before starting any practice maneuver, the pilot must ensure that the area is clear of air traffic and other hazards. 

Distant references such as a mountain peak or road should be chosen to allow the pilot to assess when to begin rollout from the turn. 

After establishing the manufacturer’s recommended entry speed or the design maneuvering speed, the airplane should be smoothly rolled into the desired bank angle of 50° .

As the bank angle is being established, generally prior to 30° of bank, elevator back pressure should be smoothly applied to increase the AOA. 

After the selected bank angle has been reached, the pilot will find that considerable force is required on the elevator control to maintain altitude. 

Pilots should keep in mind that as the AOA increases, so does drag.

Consequently, power must be added to maintain altitude and airspeed.

Steep turns can be conducted more easily by the use of elevator trim and power as the maneuver is entered. 

In many light general aviation airplanes, as the bank angle transitions from medium to steep, increasing elevator up trim and adding a small increase in engine power minimizes control pressure requirements.

The rollout from the steep turn should be timed so that the wings reach level flight when the airplane is on heading from which the maneuver was started. 

A good rule of thumb is to begin the rollout at ½ the number of degrees of bank prior to reaching the terminating heading.

While the rollout is being made, elevator back pressure, trim, and power should be gradually reduced, as necessary, to maintain the altitude and airspeed. 

Private Pilot ACS Standards

Clear the area. 

Establish the manufacturer’s recommended airspeed or, if not stated, a safe airspeed not to exceed VA. 

Roll into a coordinated 360° steep turn with approximately a 45° bank. 

Perform the Task in the opposite direction, as specified by evaluator. 

Maintain the entry altitude ±100 feet, airspeed ±10 knots, bank ±5°, and roll out on the entry heading ±10°. 

Commercial Pilot ACS Standards

Clear the area. 

Establish the manufacturer’s recommended airspeed or, if not stated, a safe airspeed not to exceed VA. 

Roll into a coordinated 360° steep turn with approximately a 50° bank. 

Perform the Task in the opposite direction, as specified by evaluator. 

Maintain the entry altitude ±100 feet, airspeed ±10 knots, bank ±5°, and roll out on the entry heading ±10°. 

Common Errors

Not clearing the area 

Inadequate pitch control on entry or rollout 

Gaining altitude or losing altitude 

Failure to maintain constant bank angle 

Poor flight control coordination 

Ineffective use of trim

Ineffective use of power 

Inadequate airspeed control 

Becoming disoriented 

Performing by reference to the flight instrument rather than visual references 

Failure to scan for other traffic during the maneuver 

Attempts to start recovery prematurely 

Failure to stop the turn on designated heading

FAA Sources Used for This Lesson

Private Pilot Airmen Certification Standards

Commercial Pilot Airmen Certification Standards

Airplane Flying Handbook (AFH) Chapter 9

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