Your connection with the sky

Flying Maneuvers with a Video

All pilots and prospective pilots remember the excitement of the first time they got to take the control of an airplane in flight. I recall my "Discovery Flight" when, passing through 1000 feet, the instructor sitting next to me said, "why don't you hold the stick and make a turn to the right." What a student does in this situation says so much about the pilot they will become, even if the whole moment happens subtly. I grabbed the stick with a tight grip, gave it a quick snap to the right, and put the plane in an instant 30 degree bank. Of course, as a novice, the Instructor gave me a, "Whoa there, no need for so much pressure on the control, try doing it gentle like this" as he demonstrated a boring slight bank angle. However, gentle was his style of flying. And not mine. When I am the pilot, I fly the way I want to fly, safely. I want to keep my blood pumping and make every moment exciting, as I'll have plenty of time to relax on the ground.

Whether you enjoy stomach-wrenching climbs or uneventful straight and level cruise, at some point you'll have to successfully master the art of maneuvering your bird. No generic syllabus will spell out exactly when you must learn how to make a "steep turn", but this  maneuver is required on your Private Pilot Practical Checkride. And if you have to learn how to roll over 45 degree's, maintain altitude, and look outside, why not have fun with it? I, like most pilots, had some motion sickness when flying the most unusual ways possible at first, but through resistance and repeated practice, I became the pilot I am today-- a maneuvering champion.

I don't feel it would do justice if I attempted to explain the various maneuvers students will have to learn for their checkride. That is what you pay your flight instructor for. However, it always helps to watch a fellow pilot and pick up a few tips, which is why I encourage that, whether a student or pro, you spend 15 minutes and watch the video I have uploaded below.

But first let me explain a few things:

1) I do 5 maneuvers in this order: 2 steep turns, a emergency decent, turn around a point, and S turns over a line. Before any maneuver I do a flow checklist and a set of clearing turns. The clearing turns are necessary, you must do these before any maneuver on your checkride. The checklist is smart. It might seem illogical at first to confirm doors are closed (the first item on my pre-maneuver flow), but getting into the rhythm and situating the cockpit will ensure you stay ahead of the plane every time.

2) I am not a perfect pilot. I'm not even an instructor, just a proficient private pilot. Don't copy what I do, learn from what I do. For various reasons I do a maneuver proficiency flight every few months. The single flight keeps my skills fresh, allows me to see where I am rusty, and means I won't need to stress when the annual proficiency flight required by my flight school for all renters sneaks onto my schedule. Look for things I do wrong; I can spot a number of slight failures on my part, like the fact that I spend too much time looking down at my avionics. Learn, we can all learn. If you take something away from this video, I have accomplished my goal.

3) Notice what I do and don't do. I thought through every action I took in this video during my pre-flight planning. Notice I don't practice any stalls.  When I practice stalls, I prefer to do it with another pilot, or instructor in my case. I still fly with an instructor once a month for proficiency.

 Hope you enjoy the video. My advice: make the most of all your flying-- including your very first maneuver. If  it isn't your style, there is no need to fly gently on your checkride. You have margins of error that you must stay between for a checkride. Control the plane, stay ahead of the plane, and have fun with the maneuvers! Please check out my up-and-coming website and my various social media outlets.  I plan to do future google hangouts where I can answer you're questions live, so stay tuned. Cheers!

2 Responses to “Flying Maneuvers with a Video”

  1. Nice article, Neil. Great idea to work on maneuvers on a regular basis. Love your videos and keep em coming.

    And, keep the shiny side up!


  2. Great review and video. After watching a recent air show Im tempted to try new manoeuvres, but always stick to the basics

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