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Maximum Performance Maneuvers, Part II

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Dutch Rolls | Steep Turns | Steep Power Turns
Chandelles | Lazy Eights


The Chandelle is a MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE CLIMBING COURSE REVERSAL. Named for the French aviator who first perfected the maneuver as a combat tactic during the early days of World War 1, it is now REQUIRED FOR THE COMMERCIAL PILOT AND FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR PRACTICAL TESTS in single engine airplanes.

Initially, the Chandelle was a very abrupt maneuver. The nose of the airplane was lowered to attain the maximum speed possible, then the wings were rolled to 60-80 degrees of bank. As the airplane began to turn, the pitch was raised to well above a power-on stall attitude while full throttle was applied. As the turn progressed and the airspeed bled off, the bank was rolled out and the pitch was lowered so that when the airplane had turned 180 degrees, the wings were level and the airspeed was just above the stall. Then the pilot would recover to level flight. The maneuver was used as both an aggressive maneuver to position the airplane in back of, underneath and pointing up at a higher flying enemy going in the opposite direction, and as a defensive maneuver to shake an enemy off the pilot's tail.

Today's training maneuver Chandelle is used TO EXACT MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE FROM THE PILOT, NOT THE AIRPLANE. By accomplishing the same maneuver using gentle but firm control inputs rather than abrupt ones, and using more moderate pitch and bank attitudes, the aerodynamic forces imposed are drawn out over a longer period of time. This requires the pilot to develop their planning, orientation, coordination, and feel for maximum performance flight, and their control usage techniques while changing attitudes and airspeeds.

The maneuver may be broken down into THREE CONTROL FUNCTIONS: BANK, PITCH, AND POWER. Looked at as separate functions, the Chandelle becomes quite understandable.

BANK: The airplane is rolled firmly into a 30 degree bank turn. This bank is held constant until reaching the 90-degree point of the maneuver. Then you roll out of the bank smoothly and at a constant roll rate so as to reach wings-level flight just as you reach the 180-degree point of the turn. This function can be practiced beforehand while in level, cruise flight or while transitioning to slowflight.

PITCH: Once the bank is established, the pitch will be raised to an attitude which, when full power is applied (climb power with a constant speedpropeller), will end up giving you an airspeed of 1.2 Vs1 (1.2 times the power-off stall speed in the clean configuration). This function can be practiced in conjunction with the power function while in straight-ahead flight.

POWER: Once the bank is set and you have begun increasing the pitch, power will be smoothly applied. In training airplanes equipped with a fixed-pitch prop, you will be applying full throttle. As you first hear the rpm begin to lug down, add just enough throttle to maintain the rpm at your entry setting. Of course, once full throttle is reached, the rpm will lug down anyway, but you will not have over-revved the engine in the process.

In a trainer with a constant speed prop, increase the rpm to the climb rpm setting as part of your set-up for the maneuver. As you raise the pitch, increase your throttle setting slowly and smoothly to the climb power manifold pressure.

The chandelle is accomplished in the clean configuration (flaps andgear retracted).

As with all flight training maneuvers, SAFETY IS OF PRIMARY IMPORTANCE. You must accomplish the Chandelle in such a way so as to remain at or above 1,500 feet above ground at all times. A slight descent may be required to attain the recommended entry speed in some aircraft, so you may need to start the maneuver a few hundred feet higher. And due to the concentration level required, especially during the initial practicing of this maneuver, THE AREA MUST BE THOROUGHLY CLEARED prior to beginning the maneuver. Be sure to CLEAR THE AREA INTO WHICH YOU WILL BE TURNING during the maneuver. If you are to accomplish a Chandelle to the right, your clearing turn should be to the left.

As you are clearing, establish visual references for your 90- and 180-degree points. When you are ready to start your Chandelle, your 90-degree reference point should be directly off your wingtip in the direction you are going to turn.

Also as you are clearing, or immediately after completing your clearing turn, establish your entry speed and power setting. The manufacturers of most trainers have recommended entry speeds for the Chandelle. If the recommended entry speed is greater than Va (maneuvering speed), or if no recommendation is made, use Va as your entry speed. If your airplane has a constant speed propeller, advance the rpm to the climb rpm setting.

Once your set-up is completed, start the Chandelle with a firm, coordinated roll-in to a 30 degree bank turn. As you reach 30 degrees of bank, immediately begin increasing back pressure to start the pitch up. Your pitch reference in the windshield (see VFR Attitute Flying) should scribe a straight line from slightly nose down at the beginning to your maximum pitch attitude at the 90-degree point.

With a fixed-pitch propeller, listen for a change in engine rpm as your nose begins to rise. Holding your 30 degrees of bank as you turn, increase throttle progressivel and smoothly, trying to maintain the initial rpm until full throttle has been applied.

With a constant speed propeller, smoothly apply climb power manifold pressure as you hold your 30 degrees of bank.

As you reach the 90-degree point of the Chandelle, your pitch should be just reaching it's high point and you should still have 30 degrees of bank.

As you pass the 90-degree point, you will begin to roll out the 30 degrees of bank as you hold your pitch constant for the rest of the maneuver. The coordinated roll-out should be made smoothly and continuously so as to reach a wings-level attitude just as you reach the 180-degree point.

At the 180-degree point you should be wings level and your speed should be 1.2 Vs1 +5/-0 knots. Now your task is to recover to straight and level flight while maintaining altitude within 50 feet and heading within 5 degrees.

AILERON/RUDDER COORDINATION plays a big part in the Chandelle. Once you have applied power, you will need to contend with EVER-INCREASING TORQUE AND P-FACTOR TRYING TO YAW THE AIRPLANE TO THE LEFT. This will require you to offset the rudder to the right.


WATCH YOUR PITCH. DON'T RAISE YOUR PITCH TOO QUICKLY. Many students will tend to raise the nose so quickly they're at their maximum pitch attitude before they've reached the 45-degree point in the Chandelle. You are only going to RAISE THE PITCH A TOTAL OF ABOUT 15 DEGREES during the first 90 degrees of turn. And during that phase, your airspeed is still relatively high, giving you a slower rate of turn, so TAKE YOUR TIME. Also be aware that AS YOU ROLL OUT, THE PITCH WILL TEND TO RISE even further. This is because of the reduction in bank during the last 90 degrees of the maneuver. Just like in a level flight turn, as you roll out of the bank you need to relax your back pressure a little.

DON'T TRIM FOR THE MANEUVER. Part of the objective of the Chandelle is to help you DEVELOP A FEEL FOR THE CONTROL FORCES NEEDED when changing bank, pitch, and airspeed.

LEVEL OFF SMOOTHLY when you have completed the maneuver. KEEP YOUR HEAD OUTSIDE THE AIRPLANE to HOLD YOUR HEADING while you level off, taking ONLY BRIEF GLANCES AT YOUR ALTIMETER to assure you are remaining level.

  1. Entry Point:
    Set up at maneuvering speed or the manufacturer's recommended entry speed. Reference out the left wingtip (or right wingtip for Chandelle to the right). Roll firmly into and maintain a 30-degree banked turn. Initiate pitch up. Constant Speed Prop: Add throttle as assigned.

    1a. Fixed Pitch Prop RPM Drop:
    Start to apply full throttle. Maintain rpm sound until full throttle is reached.

  2. 90-degree Point:
    Pitch just reaching maximum. Hold at this attitude. Bank still at 30 degrees, start roll-out.

  3. 180-degree Point:
    Pitch still at maximum. Bank just reaching wings-level. Speed at minimum controllable. Initiate level-off.

  4. Completion:
    Resume normal flight without loosing altitude.
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Lazy Eights

The LAZY EIGHT is normally the last VFR maneuver introduced to you during your commercial pilot training. There is good reason for this: the LAZY EIGHT requires that the pilot plan and execute a complex maneuver involving pitch, bank, airspeed, altitude and P-factor which are constantly in a state of change over an extended period of time.

Simply stated, the LAZY EIGHT is a series of opposing 180-degree turns combined with climbs and descents. When looked at from the side, the airplane will scribe a path resembling an 8 laying on it's side, hence the name "LAZY" EIGHT. Another very important meaning of the word "LAZY" is SLOW. In order to gain maximum benefit from this maneuver, it must be accomplished slowly and methodically.

Before disecting the maneuver, contemplate the set-up. Reference points or lines are needed for the start and completion headings and a prominent point chosen toward which the nose will be pointed as it turns through the 90-degree point of each turn. The airplane is stabilized in level flight at manuevering speed or the manufacturers recommended entry speed. If level flight is impossible at the entry speed, a slight descent is permissable. The power setting required for the set-up will not be changed during the maneuver.

To begin with, each 180-degree portion of the LAZY EIGHT involves rolling continuously into and then out of a 30-degree bank turn. Breaking the turn into 30 degree incriments, you will increase the bank 10 degrees during each of the first 3 30-degree incriments, then decrease the bank 10 degrees during the remaining 3 30-degree incriments. During the first incriment and the last incriment, your airspeed will be close to entry speed, and the rate of turn at these very shallow banks will be extremely slow. Lots of patience is required. During the second through fifth 30-degree incriments, your airspeed will be slower and, combined with the slightly steeper bank, the turn is quicker.

Now we can cut each 180-degree turn into 4 45-degree segments and discuss pitch. The nose will be raised ever so slowly while turning the first 45 degrees to reach its maximum nose-up attitude just as the airplane turns through this heading. This pitch attitude will vary between types of airplanes, but will generally be between 12 and 18 degrees nose-up. At this point, then, the attitude should look like a climbing 15-degree bankturn.

As you pass through the 45-degree point of the turn, the pitch is smoothly brought back downward so that it passes through the horizon just as the 90-degree point of the turn is passed. A snapshot taken through the windshield at this point would look like a level 30-degree bank turn.

Continuing to lower the pitch, the lowest point is reached at the 135-degree point of the turn. Here the attitude is a nose low 15-degree banked turn, and you will start to raise the pitch again.

Just as you reach the 180-degree point, completing the first turn, your pitch should pass through the set-up attitude and start your turn in the opposite direction.

Your altitude will vary throughout the maneuver. You will be climbing during the first 45 degrees of turn and into the next 45-degree increment as well. Since your airspeed is slow due to the high pitch attitude, you will start descending just before reaching the 90-degree point and flat pitch. Then you will continue to descend through the low-pitch point at 135 degrees into the turn and until reaching your set-up attitude. At this point, the altitude must be the same as it was when you entered the maneuver.

Your airspeed will decrease and increase pretty much in concert with with your altitude. Your slowest speed should be about 1.2Vs1. Your speed at the completion of each turn should be the same as your set-up airspeed.

P-factor will be constantly changing, requiring varying amounts of additional right rudder pressure to coordinate the turn. During the right-hand turn, more right rudder will be required between the 45- and 90-degree points of the turn and less left rudder will be needed during that portion of the left-hand turn.

  1. Entry Point:
    At maneuvering speed or the manufacturer's recommended entry speed.
    References for the 90- and 180-degree points set.
    Initiate very slowly by starting bank and pitching up.

  2. 45-degree Point:
    15-degrees of bank. Continue rolling in.
    Maximum pitch-up attitude. Begin decreasing.

  3. 90-degree Point:
    Just reaching 30-degrees of bank as pitch passes downward through the horizon.
    Begin to shallow the bank.
    Continue downward with pitch attitude.

  4. 135-degree Point:
    15-degrees of bank. Continue rolling out very slowly.
    Maximum pitch-down attitude. Begin increasing.

  5. 180-degree Point:
    Bank just reaching wings-level.
    Pitch just reaching entry attitude.
    Altitude just reaching entry altitude.
    Start with step 1 in the other direction.

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