| Home | Privacy | Contact |

Airplane Flying Handbook
Basic Flight Maneuvers
Pitch and Power

| 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



There is another danger in excessive rudder use during
gliding turns. As the airplane skids, the bank will
increase. This often alarms the beginning pilot when it
occurs close to the ground, and the pilot may respond
by applying aileron pressure toward the outside of the
turn to stop the bank. At the same time, the rudder
forces the nose down and the pilot may apply back-elevator
pressure to hold it up. If allowed to progress, this
situation may result in a fully developed cross-control
condition. A stall in this situation will almost certainly
result in a spin.

The level-off from a glide must be started before
reaching the desired altitude because of the airplane's
downward inertia. The amount of lead depends on the
rate of descent and the pilot's control technique. With
too little lead, there will be a tendency to descend
below the selected altitude. For example, assuming a
500-foot per minute rate of descent, the altitude must
be led by 100 – 150 feet to level off at an airspeed
higher than the glide speed. At the lead point, power
should be increased to the appropriate level flight
cruise setting so the desired airspeed will be attained
at the desired altitude. The nose tends to rise as both
airspeed and downwash on the tail section increase.
The pilot must be prepared for this and smoothly control
the pitch attitude to attain level flight attitude so
that the level-off is completed at the desired altitude.

Particular attention should be paid to the action of the
airplane's nose when recovering (and entering) gliding
turns. The nose must not be allowed to describe an arc
with relation to the horizon, and particularly it must
not be allowed to come up during recovery from turns,
which require a constant variation of the relative pressures
on the different controls.

Common errors in the performance of descents and
descending turns are:
• Failure to adequately clear the area.
• Inadequate back-elevator control during glide
entry resulting in too steep a glide.
• Failure to slow the airplane to approximate glide
speed prior to lowering pitch attitude.
• Attempting to establish/maintain a normal glide
solely by reference to flight instruments.
• Inability to sense changes in airspeed through
sound and feel.
• Inability to stabilize the glide (chasing the airspeed

• Attempting to "stretch" the glide by applying
back-elevator pressure.
• Skidding or slipping during gliding turns due to
inadequate appreciation of the difference in rudder
action as opposed to turns with power.
• Failure to lower pitch attitude during gliding turn
entry resulting in a decrease in airspeed.
• Excessive rudder pressure during recovery from
gliding turns.
• Inadequate pitch control during recovery from
straight glides.
• "Ground shyness"—resulting in cross-controlling
during gliding turns near the ground.
• Failure to maintain constant bank angle during
gliding turns.


No discussion of climbs and descents would be
complete without touching on the question of what
controls altitude and what controls airspeed. The
pilot must understand the effects of both power and
elevator control, working together, during different
conditions of flight. The closest one can come to a
formula for determining airspeed/altitude control
that is valid under all circumstances is a basic principle
of attitude flying which states:

"At any pitch attitude, the amount of power used
will determine whether the airplane will climb,
descend, or remain level at that attitude."
Through a wide range of nose-low attitudes, a descent
is the only possible condition of flight. The addition of
power at these attitudes will only result in a greater rate
of descent at a faster airspeed.

Through a range of attitudes from very slightly
nose-low to about 30° nose-up, a typical light airplane
can be made to climb, descend, or maintain
altitude depending on the power used. In about the
lower third of this range, the airplane will descend
at idle power without stalling. As pitch attitude is
increased, however, engine power will be required
to prevent a stall. Even more power will be required
to maintain altitude, and even more for a climb. At a
pitch attitude approaching 30° nose-up, all available
power will provide only enough thrust to maintain
altitude. A slight increase in the steepness of climb
or a slight decrease in power will produce a descent.
From that point, the least inducement will result in a