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A maximum performance maneuver that requires you to combine steep-spiraling descent with the basic elements of turns about a point.


To develop pilot techniques for airspeed control, wind drift control, planning, orientation, and division of attention, with practical application for emergency landings.


         Clear the area

         Choose forced landing area (ideally adjacent to encircling point)

         Configure aircraft: straight-and-level, altitude sufficient to allow three complete turns and still be ≥1000 AGL, (C172RG: 5000 AGL minimum), CCGUMPS (propeller to full), flaps 0

         Select outside references (point to encircle, ideally adjacent to a forced landing area)

         Throttle to idle, propeller to full

         Establish best glide speed (C172RG: 75 KIAS 0 Flaps)

         Establish a constant radius circle allowing a bank of ≤60 about ground reference point

o        Close enough to allow no more than 60 of bank at the steepest point

         Maintaining a constant airspeed by adjusting pitch and bank as necessary to correct for wind

         Trim as necessary

         Clear the engine when into the wind (advance throttle to normal cruise momentarily)

         Complete at least three complete 360 turns, but do not descend below 1000 AGL unless the maneuver is to be followed by an emergency landing

         Maintain ball centered

         Look for traffic


Objective with a 60 bank is to get down fast (high bank eliminates lift component) safely.

Common Errors

         Failure to clear area

         Failure to maintain constant airspeed

         Poor coordination, resulting in skidding and/or slipping

         Inadequate wind drift correction

         Failure to coordinate the controls so that no increase/decrease in speed result when straight glide is resumed

         Failure to scan for other traffic

         Failure to maintain orientation


FAA-H-8083-3A Airplane Flying Handbook p. 9-3

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