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8 Steps To Flying a Steep Turn

Learning to fly steep turns?

1) Entry Altitude

Pick an altitude that assures a recovery altitude of no less than 1,000' AGL.

Bob Adams

2) Clearing Turns

Before practicing any maneuver, perform either one 180 degree or two 90 degree clearing turns and scan for traffic and obstacles.

Gerard van der Schaaf

3) Airspeed

Steep turns have high load factors. Make sure you choose an airspeed that's within maneuvering speed (Va) of your aircraft.


4) Entry Heading

Choose a heading that you can use to keep track of your progress through the maneuver. Good entry headings are aligned with roads or other prominent landmarks, and are primary headings of North, East, South or West.

Signe Karin

5) Bank Into The Turn

If you're training to be a private pilot, use 45 degrees of bank. If you're training for your commercial, use 50.


6) Apply Back Pressure / Trim

When you're in a turn, your vertical component of lift decreases. In order to maintain your entry altitude, you need to apply back pressure. Look out the wind screen, and find where the horizon intersects your panel. Maintain that picture, and you'll hold your turn perfectly. Using trim can help manage control pressure too.


7) Add Power

Since your total lift increases with back pressure, induced drag increases too. With increased drag, you need to add power to maintain your entry airspeed.

Signe Karin

8) Recovery

During the recovery, you need to roll out on your entry heading. As you do this, reduce power and release back pressure on the controls so you don't balloon your altitude.

A rule of thumb for a rollout heading is to take half of the bank angle and apply that to the entry heading. For example, if your rollout heading is 180 degrees, and you're flying a 50 degree bank angle, you should lead your rollout by 25 degrees. Start your rollout at 205 degrees if you're banking to the left, or 155 if you're banking to the right.

Dirk Vorderstra??e

Corey Komarec

Corey is an Embraer 175 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota, and he's been flying since he was 16. You can reach him at

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