Steep spirals


Develop the student’s ability to plan and execute a steep spiral, improving options in an emergency situation.


  • altitude considerations
  • setup
  • execution
  • standards


  • model aircraft
  • standardization manual and operating handbook
  • Airplane Flying Handbook

Instructor actions

In a guided discussion, explain the aerodynamics, procedures, and execution for steep spirals, using whiteboard illustrations and a model aircraft.

Student actions

Read appropriate chapter and complete homework assignment prior to the briefing. Participate in the guided discussion.

Completion Standards

The student should be able to explain the aerodynamics, procedures, and execution for steep spirals.

Teaching outline

  • altitude considerations

    • starting - three full turns must be completed
    • mra - below 1000 agl only when sim/actual emergency
  • setup

    • suitable altitude for three full turns
    • boost on, gas fullest, gear up, mix rich, prop high
  • power to idle

    • establish airspeed of 95 knots
  • bank to maintain constant radius

    • horizon references
    • coordination
    • pitch and trim for airspeed
    • wind correction as in turns around a point
  • track the number of turns

    • clear the throttle every 360°
  • exit on a heading with a possible landing spot


  • continues through at least three 360° turns
  • airspeed ±10 knots
  • constant-radius circle with max bank of 60° at steepest point
  • roll out toward specified heading/object ±10°
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