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Lazy Eights

Introduction:

  • Develops perfect coordination of controls through a wide range of airspeeds and altitudes, so that certain accuracy points are reached with planned attitude and airspeed
  • It requires constantly changing control pressures necessitated by changing combinations of climbing and descending turns at varying airspeeds
  • This is a maneuver often used to develop and demonstrate the pilot's mastery of the airplane in maximum performance flight situations

WARNING:
All procedures here are GENERALIZED for learning.
Fly the maneuver in accordance with the Pilot Operating Handbook (POH)
and/or current Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)


C-172S Procedure:

  1. Perform clearing turns
  2. Enter the maneuver at 105 KIAS (2400 RPM)
  3. Pick 45°, 90°, and 135° reference points
    • The farther away, the more accurate and steady it will be
  4. Slowly increase bank and pitch so that at the 45° point the airplane is passing through 15° of bank and maximum pitch up (9° nose up)
    • If bank is too fast, the aircraft will increase the rate of turn too quickly and reach 45° point before highest pitch is attained
  5. Continue to increase the bank and allow the pitch to decrease so that at the 90°, point the bank is 30° and the airplane is passing through level pitch attitude and minimum airspeed
    • Right rudder pressure will have to be applied to counteract torque
    • More right rudder is required during the climbing turn to the right than in the turn to the left
    • Record altitude gain at the 90° point
  6. After the 90° point, continue to decrease pitch and slowly decrease bank so that at the 135° point, the airplane is passing through 15° of bank and maximum pitch down (7° nose down)
  7. Continue to decrease the bank angle, allowing the pitch to increase to resume straight and level flight at entry altitude/airspeed as the airplane reaches the 180° point
  8. Repeat steps 4 through 7 in the opposite direction
  9. Complete cruise checklist

Lazy Eight
Figure 1: Airplane Flying Handbook, Lazy eight

Common Errors:

  • Failure to adequately clear the area
  • Using the nose, or top of engine cowl, instead of the true longitudinal axis, resulting in unsymmetrical loops
  • Watching the airplane instead of the reference points
  • Inadequate planning, resulting in the peaks of the loops both above and below the horizon not coming in the proper place
  • Control roughness, usually caused by attempts to counteract poor planning
  • Persistent gain or loss of altitude with the completion of each eight
  • Attempting to perform the maneuver rhythmically, resulting in poor pattern symmetry
  • Allowing the airplane to "fall" out of the tops of the loops rather than flying the airplane through the maneuver
  • Slipping and/or skidding
  • Failure to scan for other traffic

Lazy Eight
Figure 2: Airplane Flying Handbook, Lazy eight

Practical Test Standards/Airman Certification Standards:


References: