Airplane Performance Maneuvers

Flight maneuvers that are initially taught to pilots are designed to be basic and relatively simple: straight-and-level, turns, climbs and descents. However, as a pilot continues through their flight training, additional maneuvers are needed to develop beyond the fundamentals. Performance maneuvers are intended to enhance a pilot’s proficiency in flight control application, maneuver planning, situational awareness, and division of attention. To further that intent, performance maneuvers are generally designed so that the application of flight control pressures, attitudes, airspeeds, and orientations are constantly changing throughout the maneuver.

Performance maneuvers also allow for an effective assessment of a pilot’s ability to apply the fundamentals; weakness in executing performance maneuvers is likely due to a pilot’s lack of understanding or a deficiency of fundamental skills. It is advisable that performance maneuver training should not take place until sufficient competency in the fundamentals is consistently demonstrated by the pilot. Further, initial training for performance maneuvers should always begin with a detailed ground lesson for each maneuver, so that the technicalities are understood prior to flight. In addition, performance maneuver training should be segmented into comprehensible building blocks of instruction so as to allow the pilot an appropriate level of repetition to develop the required skills.

Performance maneuvers, once grasped by the pilot, are very satisfying and rewarding. As the pilot develops skills in executing performance maneuvers, they may likely see an increased smoothness in their flight control application and a higher ability to sense the airplane’s attitude and orientation without significant conscious effort.

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