Exercise 15 – Steep Turns

Exercise 15 – Steep Turns



Revise Medium turns
Demonstrate 45° turns left and right

  • Show Similarities:
  • Lookout – Technique identical, even more vital with high turn rates
  • Use of Controls – (Elevator for pitch, Aileron for roll, Rudder for balance)
  • Use of visual attitudes: avoid over-using instruments
  • Show Differences:
  • Attitude – Difference between left and right accentuated
  • Lookout – Harder ( aeroplane structure)
  • Power – IAS decrease at cruise


As for medium turn + apply back pressure to maintain the horizon or increase power (± 100 RPM) passing 30° AOB


  • As for medium turn + more rudder to balance,
  • ASI in scan to maintain IAS
  • Beware overbanking


  • As for medium turn, reduce power passing 30° AOB

Recovery from Over-banking

  • Reduce AOB to 45° or less
  • Pitch up to arrest descent
  • Re-establish turn



  • Lookout – descend into a clear area
  • Throttle – close (prevent yaw, Carb Heat A/R)
  • Select full flap
  • Attitude for 70 kts (not above Vfe)
  • Select 45° bank angle


  • Lookout – well into turn
  • Attitude/Instruments – monitor carefully (avoid over-banking or exceeding Vfe)


  • Anticipate (± 200 ft)
  • Level wings
  • Attitude – select glide
  • Flaps – retract



  • From 30° AOB gliding turn at 70 kts
  • Increase AOB to 40°, lower nose to achieve 80 kts


  • (Next, 50° AOB – IAS to 85 kts)
  • Lookout – well into turn
  • Attitude/Instruments


  • Reduce bank angle before reducing IAS



  • Steep turns can be used in practice for collision avoidance or when a small radius of turn is required but, unlike military flying, they are not required routinely. However, they give valuable practice in co-ordinating control movements and give students confidence in handling the aircraft towards the limits of the performance envelope. Moreover, the emergency descent is a steep (gliding) turn which students must be able to carry out safely and competently.


  • Preparatory Instruction
    a. Use of power
    b. Effect of ‘g’ on the stall
    c. Use of controls
    d. Emergency descent


1. Emphasize the importance of a good lookout before and during a rapid change in direction particularly on the inside of the turn and on the outside of the turn during roll-out.
2. To avoid your students becoming disoriented after a series of steep turns, teach them to keep a periodic check of their position (use of Anchor Point).
3. Prolonged steep turns may cause the DI or gyro-compass to desynchronize. Teach your student to cross-check with the magnetic compass after a series of steep turns.


  • (When possible, steep turns should be demonstrated and practised at about 1500 ft to 2000 ft agl. At higher levels it may be necessary to restrict the bank angle in order to maintain speed.)

a. Begin by revising medium turns then teach similarities and differences:

1. Similarities:

  • Use of Controls – Elevator for pitch, Aileron for roll, Rudder for balance
  • Use of Visual – Attitudes Avoid over-use of instruments

2. Differences:

  • Attitude – Difference between left and right are accentuated.
  • Lookout – Emphasize the importance of good lookout. Entry, check from ‘inside’ tailplane around to opposite tail at same altitude of aircraft and then back to ‘inside’ tail checking above or below attitude. During; keep checking into the turn. Rollout; check area on the outside of the turn by looking towards the down-going wing on a low wing aircraft or by finally clearing the inside towards the up-going wing on a high wing aircraft.
  • Power – First demonstrate IAS decrease at cruise power then teach to apply back pressure and also another way to increase power (± 100 RPM) when passing 30° bank angle.

b. Rolling straight from a turn in one direction to the other gives your student good practice in coordination.

c. Recovery from Over-banking Over-banking by a student almost always leads to a descent and, once the bank angle exceeds 45°, using elevators alone is not an effective way to raise the nose to halt the descent. Increased pitch rates will tighten the turn rather than raising the nose and increase the risk of stalling. So your student must be able to recover from over-banking. Demonstrate that over-banking results in (an increasing) ROD and that elevator alone does not arrest descent but tightens the turn.


Reducing bank angle before using elevators to pitch up. (Initially teach levelling the wings and recovering to straight and level. Later, teach restoring 45°, pitching to level to stop descent and continuing the turn.) Reduce power if IAS is rising rapidly.


  • Although you may have taught a straight emergency descent already, descending with 45° bank angle has two advantages; if 85 kts is maintained the ROD increases (expediting loss of height) and the spiral descent facilitates lookout and helps keeping a possible forced landing site in view. The entry is similar to that for the straight descent with the addition of selecting 45° of bank. While maintaining the descent, stress the danger of overbanking when looking out into the turn and the need to monitor both bank angle and IAS closely. For the exit, stress the potential problems of continuing the descent below 1000 ft and discuss the practicalities of transitioning from the emergency descent to the latter stages of the forced landing pattern.


  • From a 70 kt gliding turn (30° AOB), teach steep gliding turns, increasing IAS by 5 kts for each 10° AOB over 30°. So 40° AOB requires 80 kts, at 50° increase to 85 kts. Do not teach over 50° AOB.


  • Failure to maintain a steady attitude, usually caused by over-concentrating on instruments, is the most common fault when students are learning steep turns. Stress: LOOKOUT and ATTITUDE, with INSTRUMENTS as very much the lowest priority. There is often a tendency to forget to adjust power on entry and exit, initially, but practice usually cures this problem.