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Airplane Flying Handbook
Ground Reference Maneuvers
Elementary Eights

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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



When any significant wind exists, it will be necessary to
roll into the initial bank at a rapid rate so that the steep-
est bank is attained abeam of the point when the airplane
is headed directly downwind. By entering the maneuver
while heading directly downwind, the steepest bank can
be attained immediately. Thus, if a maximum bank of
45° is desired, the initial bank will be 45° if the airplane
is at the correct distance from the point. Thereafter, the
bank is shallowed gradually until the point is reached
where the airplane is headed directly upwind. At this
point, the bank should be gradually steepened until the
steepest bank is again attained when heading downwind
at the initial point of entry.

Just as S-turns require that the airplane be turned into
the wind in addition to varying the bank, so do turns
around a point. During the downwind half of the circle,
the airplane's nose is progressively turned toward the
inside of the circle; during the upwind half, the nose is
progressively turned toward the outside. The downwind
half of the turn around the point may be compared to the
downwind side of the S-turn across a road; the upwind
half of the turn around a point may be compared to the
upwind side of the S-turn across a road.

As the pilot becomes experienced in performing turns
around a point and has a good understanding of the
effects of wind drift and varying of the bank angle and
wind correction angle as required, entry into the
maneuver may be from any point. When entering the
maneuver at a point other than downwind, however,
the radius of the turn should be carefully selected, taking
into account the wind velocity and groundspeed so
that an excessive bank is not required later on to maintain
the proper ground track. The flight instructor
should place particular emphasis on the effect of an
incorrect initial bank. This emphasis should continue
in the performance of elementary eights.

Common errors in the performance of turns around a
point are:
• Failure to adequately clear the area.
• Failure to establish appropriate bank on entry.
• Failure to recognize wind drift.
• Excessive bank and/or inadequate wind correction
angle on the downwind side of the circle
resulting in drift towards the reference point.
• Inadequate bank angle and/or excessive wind
correction angle on the upwind side of the circle
resulting in drift away from the reference point.
• Skidding turns when turning from downwind to
• Slipping turns when turning from upwind to
• Gaining or losing altitude.
• Inadequate visual lookout for other aircraft.
• Inability to direct attention outside the airplane
while maintaining precise airplane control.


An "eight" is a maneuver in which the airplane
describes a path over the ground more or less in the
shape of a figure "8". In all eights except "lazy eights"
the path is horizontal as though following a marked
path over the ground. There are various types of eights,
progressing from the elementary types to very difficult
types in the advanced maneuvers. Each has its special
use in teaching the student to solve a particular
problem of turning with relation to the Earth, or an
object on the Earth's surface. Each type, as they
advance in difficulty of accomplishment, further
perfects the student's coordination technique and
requires a higher degree of subconscious flying ability.
Of all the training maneuvers available to the
instructor, only eights require the progressively
higher degree of conscious attention to outside
objects. However, the real importance of eights is in
the requirement for the perfection and display of
subconscious flying.

Elementary eights, specifically eights along a road,
eights across a road, and eights around pylons, are
variations of turns around a point, which use two
points about which the airplane circles in either
direction. Elementary eights are designed for the following
• To perfect turning technique.
• To develop the ability to divide attention between
the actual handling of controls and an outside
• To perfect the knowledge of the effect of angle of
bank on radius of turn.
• To demonstrate how wind affects the path of the
airplane over the ground.
• To gain experience in the visualization of the
results of planning before the execution of the
• To train the student to think and plan ahead of the


An eight along a road is a maneuver in which the
ground track consists of two complete adjacent circles
of equal radii on each side of a straight road or other
reference line on the ground. The ground track resembles
a figure 8. [Figure 6-7 on next page]

Like the other ground reference maneuvers, its
objective is to develop division of attention while
compensating for drift, maintaining orientation with
ground references, and maintaining a constant