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Airplane Flying Handbook
Basic Flight Maneuvers

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Airplane Flying Handbook


Table of Contents

Chapter 1,Introduction to Flight Training
Chapter 2,Ground Operations
Chapter 3,Basic Flight Maneuvers
Chapter 4, Slow Flight, Stalls, and Spins
Chapter 5, Takeoff and Departure Climbs
Chapter 6, Ground Reference Maneuvers
Chapter 7, Airport Traffic Patterns
Chapter 8, Approaches and Landings
Chapter 9, Performance Maneuvers
Chapter 10, Night Operations
Chapter 11,Transition to Complex Airplanes
Chapter 12, Transition to Multiengine Airplanes
Chapter 13,Transition to Tailwheel Airplanes
Chapter 14, Transition to Turbo-propeller Powered Airplanes
Chapter 15,Transition to Jet Powered Airplanes
Chapter 16,Emergency Procedures



Basic Flight Maneuvers

There are four fundamental basic flight maneuvers
upon which all flying tasks are based: straight and level
flight, turns, climbs, and descents. All controlled flight consists
of either one, or a combination
or more than one, of these basic maneuvers. If a student
pilot is able to perform these maneuvers well, and the
student's proficiency is based on accurate "feel" and
control analysis rather than mechanical movements, the
ability to perform any assigned maneuver will only be
a matter of obtaining a clear visual and mental conception
of it. The flight instructor must impart a good
knowledge of these basic elements to the student, and
must combine them and plan their practice so that
perfect performance of each is instinctive without
conscious effort. The importance of this to the success
of flight training cannot be overemphasized. As the
student progresses to more complex maneuvers,
discounting any difficulties in visualizing the
maneuvers, most student difficulties will be caused by
a lack of training, practice, or understanding of the
principles of one or more of these fundamentals.

In explaining the functions of the controls, the instructor
should emphasize that the controls never change in the
results produced in relation to the pilot. The pilot should
always be considered the center of movement of the airplane,
or the reference point from which the movements
of the airplane are judged and described. The following
will always be true, regardless of the airplane's attitude
in relation to the Earth.

• When back pressure is applied to the elevator control,
the airplane's nose rises in relation to the pilot.
• When forward pressure is applied to the elevator
control, the airplane's nose lowers in relation to the
• When right pressure is applied to the aileron control,
the airplane's right wing lowers in relation to
the pilot.
• When left pressure is applied to the aileron control,
the airplane's left wing lowers in relation to the
• When pressure is applied to the right rudder pedal,
the airplane's nose moves (yaws) to the right in
relation to the pilot. When pressure is applied to the left rudder pedal, the airplane's nose moves (yaws) to the left in
relation to the pilot.

The preceding explanations should prevent the
beginning pilot from thinking in terms of "up" or
"down" in respect to the Earth, which is only a relative
state to the pilot. It will also make understanding of the
functions of the controls much easier, particularly
when performing steep banked turns and the more
advanced maneuvers. Consequently, the pilot must be
able to properly determine the control application
required to place the airplane in any attitude or flight
condition that is desired.

The flight instructor should explain that the controls
will have a natural "live pressure" while in flight and
that they will remain in neutral position of their own
accord, if the airplane is trimmed properly.

With this in mind, the pilot should be cautioned
never to think of movement of the controls, but of
exerting a force on them against this live pressure or
resistance. Movement of the controls should not be
emphasized; it is the duration and amount of the
force exerted on them that effects the displacement
of the control surfaces and maneuvers the airplane.

The amount of force the airflow exerts on a control
surface is governed by the airspeed and the degree that
the surface is moved out of its neutral or streamlined
position. Since the airspeed will not be the same in all
maneuvers, the actual amount the control surfaces are
moved is of little importance; but it is important that
the pilot maneuver the airplane by applying sufficient
control pressure to obtain a desired result, regardless
of how far the control surfaces are actually moved.

The controls should be held lightly, with the fingers,
not grabbed and squeezed. Pressure should be exerted
on the control yoke with the fingers. A common error
in beginning pilots is a tendency to "choke the stick."
This tendency should be avoided as it prevents the
development of "feel," which is an important part of
aircraft control.

The pilot's feet should rest comfortably against the
rudder pedals. Both heels should support the weight
of the feet on the cockpit floor with the ball of each
foot touching the individual rudder pedals. The legs
and feet should not be tense; they must be relaxed
just as when driving an automobile.