Eights Along A Road


  • Consists of two complete adjacent circles of equal radii on each side of a straight road or other reference line on the ground [Figure 1]
  • Develops the ability to maneuver the airplane accurately, while dividing your attention between the flight path and the selected points on the ground
  • Should not be introduced until the student has a complete grasp on fundamentals (Rectangular Course, S-Turns, Turns Around a Point)
  • Perfects the knowledge of the effect of angle of bank on radius of turn
  • 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 maneuver
  • Trains the student to think and plan ahead of the airplane
  • Performed with the wind either perpendicular or parallel to the reference line

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. Determine wind direction
    • This is important for the entry heading and reference point
  2. Commence a clearing turn looking for traffic and ground obstructions
  3. Select 2 reference points on either side of the reference line in an area where an emergency landing can be made if necessary
  4. Establish and maintain 100 KIAS (approx. 2200 RPM) and 1,000' AGL
  5. Enter the maneuver parallel to the road
    • You may need to establish a crab to maintain a straight ground path
  6. Abeam the first point, roll into a 30° to 40° angle
    • Usually the first turn is made toward a downwind heading
    • As ground speed increases, the angle of bank will need to increase to increase the rate
    • As ground speed decreases after the first half of the turn, shallow the bank to arrive over the reference line on entry heading
  7. Perform the second turn
    • Ground speed will slow requiring a shallow angle of bank
    • After 180° of turn, ground speed will increase requiring an increase in angle of bank
  8. Depart the maneuver on the entry heading
  9. Complete cruise checklist

Airplane Flying Handbook, Eights Along A Road
Figure 1: Airplane Flying Handbook, Eights Along A Road


  • The measure of progress in the performance of eights along a road is the smoothness and accuracy of the change in bank used to counteract drift
    • The sooner the drift is detected and correction applied, the smaller will be the required changes
    • The more quickly the student can anticipate the corrections needed, the less obvious the changes will be and the more attention can be diverted to the maintenance of altitude and operation of the airplane
  • Errors in coordination must be eliminated and a constant altitude maintained

Common Errors:

  • Failure to adequately clear the area
  • Skidding or slipping turns
  • Excessive gain or loss of altitude
  • Over concentration on the pylon and failure to observe traffic
  • Abrupt control usage

Practical Test Standards: