Steep Turns

Steep turns: love ‘em or hate ‘em. If I want to do a quick assessment on a pilots skills, I have them do a steep turn. Normally a 360 degree turn @ 45 degrees back followed by an immediate opposite direction turn then roll out on original heading. In effect, a flat figure 8.
Steep turns are a complex maneuver in that we are looking for 7 specific things:
1. Altitude control
2. Bank control
3. Airspeed control
4. Heading awareness
5. Coordination
6. Consistency and smootheness
7. Diversion inside/outside the cockpit (N/A if a hooded maneuver)

When I did my MEI, the first thing the DPE asked for was a steep turn. I nailed it. The rest of the checkride was easy and lasted 35 minutes.

On EVERY 135 proficiency ride, I do steep turns.

My point is maneuvers like this (and S turns across a road) are normally only practiced in preparation for a exam (rating, license, flight review…). I suggest practice these several times a year. It will keep your stick and rudders sharp. 🙂

That beings said, Practice does NOT make perfect! Perfect practice makes perfect.

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