Steep Turns


  • Develops smoothness, coordination, orientation, division of attention and control techniques necessary for maximum performance turns
  • Bank angles of 45° to 60° are considered "steep"
  • Maximum performance turns are defined as using the fastest rate of turn and shortest radius
  • These turns will cause a much higher stalling speed
    • Limiting load factor determines the maximum bank without stalling

Steep Turns Procedure:

All procedures are GENERALIZED.
Always fly per Pilot Operating Handbook procedures,
observing any relevant Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

  1. Perform clearing turns
  2. Select a prominent visual reference point ahead of the airplane and out toward the horizon
  3. Adjust the pitch and power to maintain altitude
    • Trim as necessary
  4. Maintain heading and note the pitch attitude required for level flight
  5. Roll into a 45° bank (private), or 50° bank (commercial) in the direction previously cleared
    • Trim nose up
    • Remain coordinated
    • Remember parallax error
  6. Rolling through 30° of bank, increase power to maintain airspeed
    • Increase pitch to maintain altitude
    • Trim as necessary
    • Pull back on the yoke will increase rate of turn but do not allow the aircraft to climb
  7. Reference the visual point selected earlier and roll out 20-25° before entry heading
  8. Through 30° of bank, decrease RPM
    • Decrease pitch
    • Trim nose down
  9. Return to wings level on entry heading, altitude, and airspeed
  10. Immediately roll into a bank in the opposite direction
    • Perform the maneuver once more in the opposite direction
  11. Upon rolling out after the second turn, resume normal cruise
    • Trim as necessary
  12. Complete the cruise checklist

Steep Turns Common Errors:

  • Failure to adequately clear the area
  • Inadequate back-elevator pressure as power is reduced, resulting in altitude loss
  • Excessive back-elevator pressure as power is reduced, resulting in a climb, followed by a rapid reduction in airspeed and "mushing"
  • Inadequate compensation for adverse yaw during turns
  • Fixation on the airspeed indicator
  • Failure to anticipate changes in lift as flaps are extended or retracted
  • Inadequate power management
  • Inability to adequately divide attention between airplane control and orientation

Airman Certification Standards:


  • Consider practicing maneuvers on a flight simulator to introduce yourself to maneuvers or knock off rust
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