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EIGHTS ON PYLONS (PYLON EIGHTS)

EIGHTS ON PYLONS (PYLON EIGHTS)

Description

An advanced training maneuver in which the pilot’s attention is directed at maintaining a pivotal position on a selected pylon, with a minimum of attention within the cockpit.

Objective

To develop the ability to control the airplane accurately while dividing attention between the flightpath and the selected points on the ground.

Elements

·         Clear the area

·         Choose forced landing area

·         Configure aircraft: flaps and gear up, maneuvering power (C172RG: 18” Hg, 2300 RPM, approx. 100 KIAS), adjust altitude to pivotal altitude, pitch and trim to maintain pivotal altitude

o        Pivotal altitude in AGL = (TAS in Knots)² / 11.3 or (TAS in MPH)² / 15

o        TAS = Groundspeed when wind is zero (pivotal altitude affected by groundspeed)

o        Pivotal altitude at 100 KIAS = 885’ AGL, if 10 knots of winds, lowest groundspeed is 90 KIAS = 717’ AGL, highest groundspeed is 110 KIAS = 1071’ AGL

·         Select pylon – Fly with the winds at the 45º quartering tailwind position, maintaining pivotal altitude until an ideal pylon (point as a ground reference) is selected, which should be within the 45º off the left side of the flight path and close enough for a 30º to 40º bank

·         Bank onto pylon (30º to 40º) – Maintain straight-and-level flight at pivotal altitude until abeam the first pylon (it should be off the left wingtip), then roll 30º to 40º angle of bank

·         Adjust pivotal altitude – Gradually decrease pivotal altitude and slightly reduce bank angle as you turn about the pylon, turning directly into the wind

·         Keep wingtip reference on pylon – Throughout, maintain ball centered and pivotal altitude necessary to hold wingtips (i.e. a row of rivets along the wingtip) on pylon, adjusting with pivotal altitude and bank changes only, not with power or rudder; no need for constant radius

·         Wings level (3-5 seconds) – Begin the rollout to straight-and-level flight as the first turn is completed, then maintain straight-and-level flight and crab into the wind as necessary, flying straight-and-level for 3 to 5 seconds, climbing if necessary to return to pivotal altitude

·         Select second pylon – Select a second pylon, within 45º off the right side of the flight path and close enough for a 30º to 40º bank

·         Bank onto pylon (30º to 40º) – Maintain straight-and-level flight at pivotal altitude until abeam the first pylon (it should be off the right wingtip), then roll 30º to 40º angle of bank, noting that your line of reference may look different in the opposite turn

·         Adjust pivotal altitude – Gradually decrease pivotal altitude and slightly reduce bank angle as you turn about the pylon, turning directly into the wind

·         Keep wingtip reference on pylon – Throughout, maintain ball centered and pivotal altitude necessary to hold wingtips (i.e. a row of rivets along the wingtip) on pylons

·         Avoid slips and skids

·         Repeat the maneuver as necessary or recover by exiting from the straight-leg between turns

·         Look for traffic throughout

 

Factors not important in the maneuver: bank and radius. Draw the perspective from the pilot: pylon moves ahead, slow down by “climbing the hill” (increase pivotal altitude), and vice versa. Another way: if the pylon moves back, pull back; if the pylon moves forward, push forward.

 

An alternative way to select pylons: fly with the wind perpendicular to the flightpath, select your first pylon, 7 seconds later your midpoint, 7 seconds later your second pylon. Then circle back to enter maneuver.


Common Errors

·         Failure to adequately clear the area

·         Skidding or slipping in turns (whether trying to hold the pylon with rudder or not)

·         Excessive gain or loss of altitude

·         Over concentration on the pylon and failure to observe traffic

·         Poor choice of pylons

·         Not entering the pylon turns into the wind

·         Failure to assume a heading when flying between pylons that will compensate sufficiently for drift

·         Failure to time the bank so that the turn entry is completed with the pylon in position

·         Abrupt control usage

·         Inability to select pivotal altitude

References

FAA-H-8083-3A Airplane Flying Handbook p. 6-13


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