| Home | Privacy | Contact |

Airplane Flying Handbook
Basic Flight Maneuvers
Climbs and Climbing Turns

| First | Previous | Next | Last |

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



• Fixating on the nose reference while excluding
wingtip reference.
• "Ground shyness"—making "flat turns" (skidding)
while operating at low altitudes in a conscious
or subconscious effort to avoid banking
close to the ground.
• Holding rudder in the turn.
• Gaining proficiency in turns in only one direction
(usually the left).
• Failure to coordinate the use of throttle with other
• Altitude gain/loss during the turn.


When an airplane enters a climb, it changes its flightpath
from level flight to an inclined plane or climb
attitude. In a climb, weight no longer acts in a direction
perpendicular to the flightpath. It acts in a rearward
direction. This causes an increase in total drag
requiring an increase in thrust (power) to balance the
forces. An airplane can only sustain a climb angle
when there is sufficient thrust to offset increased drag;
therefore, climb is limited by the thrust available.

Like other maneuvers, climbs should be performed
using outside visual references and flight instruments.
It is important that the pilot know the engine power
settings and pitch attitudes that will produce the following
conditions of climb.

Normal climb is performed at
an airspeed recommended by the airplane manufacturer.
Normal climb speed is generally somewhat
higher than the airplane's best rate of climb. The additional
airspeed provides better engine cooling, easier
control, and better visibility over the nose. Normal
climb is sometimes referred to as "cruise climb."
Complex or high performance airplanes may have a
specified cruise climb in addition to normal climb.

Best rate of climb (VY) is
performed at an airspeed where the most excess power
is available over that required for level flight. This
condition of climb will produce the most gain in altitude
in the least amount of time (maximum rate of
climb in feet per minute). The best rate of climb made
at full allowable power is a maximum climb. It must
be fully understood that attempts to obtain more
climb performance than the airplane is capable of by
increasing pitch attitude will result in a decrease in
the rate of altitude gain.

Best angle of climb (VX) is performed at an airspeed that
will produce the
most altitude gain in a given distance. Best angle of climb
airspeed (VX) is considerably lower than best
rate of climb (VY), and is the airspeed where the most
excess thrust is available over that required for level
flight. The best angle of climb will result in a steeper
climb path, although the airplane will take longer to
reach the same altitude than it would at best rate of
climb. The best angle of climb, therefore, is used in
clearing obstacles after takeoff. [Figure 3-14]

It should be noted that, as altitude increases, the speed
for best angle of climb increases, and the speed for best
rate of climb decreases. The point at which these two
speeds meet is the absolute ceiling of the airplane.
[Figure 3-15 on next page]

A straight climb is entered by gently increasing pitch
attitude to a predetermined level using back-elevator
pressure, and simultaneously increasing engine power
to the climb power setting. Due to an increase in
downwash over the horizontal stabilizer as power is
applied, the airplane's nose will tend to immediately
begin to rise of its own accord to an attitude higher than
that at which it would stabilize. The pilot must be prepared
for this.

Best angle of climb vs. best rate of climb.
Figure 3-14. Best angle of climb vs. best rate of climb.