Any tips on steep turns?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Travel360, May 14, 2019.

  1. Travel360

    Travel360 Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm about 19 hours into my PPL, and having some trouble with steep turns. I tend to either lose or gain altitude in them. I also find them a little bit disorienting.
     
  2. 1anG

    1anG Pre-Flight

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    Six pack? If so I learned that and found it helpful to use the dot in the center of the attitude indicator to help verify that I wasn’t going to gain or loose.

    I would start the the bank get to 45 and then verify I was even with the horizon with that dot.
     
  3. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    Are you flying a 172? I struggled with this then I went for a flight with a guy that had a ton of experience. He said why are you fighting this thing your making it harder than it has to be. He said "my plane" banked it to 45 put in three rolls of trim then sat there with his hands in his lap while the plane flew a perfect 45 degree turn.

    Just watch where the nose cuts the horizon keep it on that spot and don't be afraid to use trim.

    ETA: Found a video of Jason Schappert doing it on Youtube.
     
  4. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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    Trim is your friend (ALWAYS)
     
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  5. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Head out the window 90-95% of the time, look for a landmark to roll out on, keep the spinner on the horizon, listen for RPM changes, adjust altitude with bank angle and find a spot on the armrest to plant your elbow.
     
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  6. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Line Up and Wait

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    This! Trim is your friend! It is not a tool for more advanced pilots only... it’s not a crutch. Trim, trim, trim and trim....

    As I am getting used to my Cessna 140 I use trim more and more... used it a bit in the pattern with the 172, but the 140 is a far less draggy airframe than the 172, if I don’t use it religiously in the pattern it’s beyond easy to pick up a ton of airspeed in no time.

    Trim will make steel turns much simpler for you. Trim and eyes outside- you are visually flying the plane and eyes outside vs glued on intruments is how visual flying is done right-
     
  7. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    When you need to pull back on the stick to maintain lift/altitude, bump the throttle at the same time.
     
  8. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    Also make sure you are using the altimeter as your primary altitude source and not your VSI. VSI is reactionary and you could bust 100' before the VSI even registers a climb. It just takes good instrument cross check, maintaining a good sight picture, and using a little trim and throttle to help out.
     
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  9. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    When lots of back pressure is used, it is difficult to make fine pitch adjustments. This is why trim helps. You don't need to trim perfectly, just use it to reduce the majority of back pressure.
     
  10. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Agreed on the trim, but equally important is the advice to find the sight picture of where the nose needs to be relative to the horizon. Use the spinner or the edge of the cowl, whatever, but find the point where you're level. Maybe even have the instructor do a couple while you watch for it. Once you know what you're looking for, you can adjust everything else (trim, throttle, etc.) if and as needed to make the airplane do what you want it to do.
     
  11. GreatLakesFlying

    GreatLakesFlying Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In the 172, two rounds of trim did the trick for me (by "round" I mean a turn from the top of the trim will to the bottom). Right steep turns were easier for me because I had figured out that a rivet line on the left side of the top cowling sliced the horizon at exactly 45 degrees of bank. For left steep turns I had to practice a bit more.

    A big mistake I was making, was to rush through the maneuver. I did not give the airplane time to settle in the new configuration. Once I got over my impatience and waited for the airplane to gradually come below Va, things went smoothly.

    Steep turns are disorienting especially when you feel the airplane dropping or climbing dramatically. Look outside: it helps. Don't attempt drastic corrections. If you are diving recover slowly. If it's too much to recover, break off the maneuver, level the wings, level off, and try again.

    You'll know you're there when steep turns become your favorite maneuver to practice and you begin to enjoy them in your solo flights.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  12. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    The comments on proper use of trim are spot on.

    Another is paying attention to the sight picture of where the horizon intersects the glare shield and at what angle.

    Have your instructor demonstrate steep turns. Where does the horizon intersect the glare shield? Is there a feature on the glare shield (a crack, screw head, vent opening, etc) that you can use as a reference mark for that intersection?

    You should notice that when the turn is done properly without loss of gain of altitude, the horizon stays pegged at that spot. If you are gaining or losing altitude, the horizon intersection will creep to the side of that spot.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Shouldn't need trim in a little thing like a 172. Someday you might need to avoid a midair and you ain't gonna have time for any trim. Besides, up trim just makes the altitude gain on recovery much more likely. Just practice, like I taught my students. Stop flying with trim. Trim is to make flying easier for longer maneuvers like climb, cruise and descent. If you add full power as you roll into the bank, as you should be to maintain the airspeed, the power will help reduce the elevator pressure.

    Right steep turns are harder than left due to the gyroscopic precession of the prop. You need more back pressure.

    We've been spoiled by power steering and such. We detest physical effort. Learn to deal with it.
     
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  14. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    Reading all the tips with interest. I need to do 60 degree banks for my commercial and haven't yet gotten out to practice them much though I routinely bank 60° casually, I need to do it precisely
     
  15. Cici

    Cici Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Pssst...it's 50* +/- 5*
     
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  16. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Pattern Altitude

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    Yeah, but holding your altitude and bank angle in a 360 turn with an instructor judging you is different than a holy-**** moment where I'm yanking and banking to avoid a midair. If an instructor demands I hold a specific altitude or angle during an emergency maneuver, I'll ask him to exit the aircraft!
     
  17. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    We used to do it all the time with no trim. Even the 60 degree banks needed no trim.
     
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  18. mjburian

    mjburian Cleared for Takeoff

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    If you're gaining or losing LOTS of altitude in the turn, you may need to "lock in" the sight picture a little better. Have your instructor demonstrate a turn (or two) in one direction. Try to see where the horizon is on the engine cowling and try to remember that as best you can. Then, give it a shot and don't worry about anything but that sight picture (for now). Then have your instructor demonstrate a turn in the other direction and notice that it's a very different sight picture (assuming side-by-side seating). So now you'll have to remember TWO sight pictures... one for the left steep turns and another for the right steep turns. (Whether or not you use trim is up to you, but don't forget to undo any trim changes you made as you're rolling back to level flight.)

    Once you can remember and set the airplane into the proper sight picture for steep turns, you'll likely have small altitude deviations (or maybe this is where you're at now and you're just trying to get BETTER). For small deviations, I like to use the allowed +/- 5 degrees of bank. For your PPL, you should be 45 degrees of bank +/- 5 degrees. So, if you have your sight picture how you want it but notice a slight climb... roll from 45 degrees of bank to 50 degrees of bank. This is a very minor change in the controls, but the effect is that you're turning just a bit of that vertical lift into horizontal lift. Having less vertical lift should counteract any minor increase in altitude. If you notice a slight descent, roll from 45 degrees of bank to 40 degrees of bank. Again, a small change but the additional vertical lift from the smaller bank angle (converting horizontal lift back to vertical) could be all you need to get back to level.
     
  19. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    You mean 60, don't you?

    Aiming for precision makes the work a lot easier later on. Tolerances stack up, just as they do in construction, and your flying gets sloppy. In IFR a habit of precision is handy.
     
  20. mjburian

    mjburian Cleared for Takeoff

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  21. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    lol... I'm not even sure there would be any asking at that point..
     
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  22. Cici

    Cici Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No, I meant 50 as per ACS.

    For the rest of what you said, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about has to do with steep turns. But I'll trust if I was smarter or in construction, I would understand it.
     
  23. bluesideup

    bluesideup Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hi.
    For a 172 in a turn over 30 deg bank, trim is of no benefit, things happen too quickly to have time to do all that. Fort heavier acft that does not necessarily apply.
    For steep turns it is best to add power and bank at the same time and look out at the horizon and double check the AI a few times. The amount of power to add is something you can find out after a few tries, start with around 100 RPM or something in that range.
    While 45 deg turns sounds like a lot, most acft are more stable, and it's easier to do than shallower turns, I always start out having students do the 45 after the introduction and familiarization.
     
  24. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Ignore the instruments. Cover them up if you need to. Fly straight and level. Focus on where the nose is sitting in the horizon. Now bank and rotate the airplane around that point you’re focusing on. Pull as needed to keep the nose where it needs to be. The key is to get things level and focus on nothing more than rotating the nose around that point on the horizon and holding it there.

    Any student I’ve had could nail them with nothing more than the above instructions
     
  25. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    -what plane? For a PA28R two pulls back on the trim wheel and it would fly itself through steep turns all day +/-50 ft
    -disorienting? Where are you looking? Steep turns are a "look outside the plane" maneuver. Find a rivet or bug splatter on the cowl and then "lead the turn" with your eyes.. if the rivet or bug splatter isn't going where you need it to then adjust accordingly
     
  26. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    ^not R, not sure why I wrote that. Regular PA28
     
  27. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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    With my students, once they are comfortable and capable of doing steep turns, I will cover up the panel with a sectional to prove to them they can do a steep turn with no instruments. Most are quite surprised at how much easier it is to do rather than concentrating on the panel.
     
  28. Michael A

    Michael A Pre-Flight

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    I know this has been said already but its worth being said. All of my manuevers (although steep turns the most significantly) got 100X better the second i stopped looking at the panel too much. Your flying VFR. look outside. Seriously, it may take a little adjustment (as it did for me), but you will begin to fly the airplane right to begin with rather than reacting to your instruments and over controlling. Good luck!
     
  29. Michael A

    Michael A Pre-Flight

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    Please for the love of god ignore this. Trim and trim heavily right as you enter the turn
     
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  30. Dean V

    Dean V Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you are not holding bank angle, the altitude will vary. Quickly alternate your vision from the horizon to the altimeter to the horizon and make very small elevator inputs as soon as you see a climbing or descending trend. Make decisions faster so the inputs are timely.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  31. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    For the disorientation issue, LOOK AT THE HORIZON. Don’t look inside, or even near the windshield frame. Look way out in front of the aircraft. I had problems with disorientation, but only on left turns because the frame on the left was in my field of view and it was tripping my mind up. Just by forcing myself to look out the front I stopped having that problem immediately.
     
  32. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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    FWIW, trim I leave at personal discretion. I don't personally use it for steep turns or any short maneuvers. By the time you trim, you are re trimming afterwards. I see it as a distraction. None of the normal trainers have that much control force in a steep turn. I do demonstrate it for students, and let them decide what works best for them. Most revert back to not trimming.
     
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  33. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In my case, my instructor told me to add a little power and raise the nose a little bit above the horizon as the we entered the turn. I found that way a lot easier to keep bank, altitude and airspeed constant throughout the turn.
    I used trim initially but not too often.
     
  34. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    I agree with you in principle. However, this is a proficiency maneuver. In an emergency, you don't need to maintain altitude during a steep turn. Just bank and go. In fact, it is better to let the airplane descend to avoid an accelerated stall.
     
  35. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    R= Regular ;)
     
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  36. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    Yes, I kind of thought that. Wasn't it 60° back in the day? I started commercial work right after PPL in 1976 in a 182 before I quit flying for 34 years.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  37. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    This is exactly what I learned and worked well enough for me!

    Also, learn to love steep turns! I still practice them today some 6 years after my PPL checkride. Learning the dynamics of a turn in relationship to airspeed, lift, and the 4 forces of flight are really critical to understanding airplane handeling characteristics and will keep you safe during flying a pattern for landing.
     
  38. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    I’m just going to add my 2c worth regarding trim use...if you’re going to use trim, make sure you understand what trim does and doesn’t do.

    I had an ATP applicant who was actually trimming the wrong direction at times during his steep turns because he thought you trim for pitch instead of airspeed (or more correctly, AOA).
     
  39. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    What is this "horizon" you guys keep mentioning? Mine looks like this.

    [​IMG]
     
  40. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    It's that nice contrast-y distinct line that separates the plains and the foothills in your picture. Now this sight picture, on the other hand...

    [​IMG]