Chapter 3—Basic Flight Maneuvers

Table of Contents
The Four Fundamentals
Effects and Use of the Controls
Feel of the Airplane
Attitude Flying
Integrated Flight Instruction
Straight-and-Level Flight
Trim Control
Level Turns
Climbs and Climbing Turns
    Normal Climb
    Best Rate of Climb
    Best Angle of Climb
Descents and Descending Turns
    Partial Power Descent
    Descent at Minimum Safe Airspeed
Pitch and Power


When an airplane enters a climb, it changes its flight- path from level flight to an inclined plane or climb attitude. In a climb, weight no longer acts in a direction perpendicular to the flightpath. It acts in a rearward direction. This causes an increase in total drag requiring an increase in thrust (power) to balance the forces. An airplane can only sustain a climb angle when there is sufficient thrust to offset increased drag; therefore, climb is limited by the thrust available.

Like other maneuvers, climbs should be performed using outside visual references and flight instruments. It is important that the pilot know the engine power settings and pitch attitudes that will produce the following conditions of climb.

NORMAL CLIMB—Normal climb is performed at an airspeed recommended by the airplane manufacturer. Normal climb speed is generally somewhat higher than the airplane’s best rate of climb. The additional airspeed provides better engine cooling, easier control, and better visibility over the nose. Normal climb is sometimes referred to as “cruise climb.” Complex or high performance airplanes may have a specified cruise climb in addition to normal climb.

BEST RATE OF CLIMB—Best rate of climb (VY) is performed at an airspeed where the most excess power is available over that required for level flight. This condition of climb will produce the most gain in altitude in the least amount of time (maximum rate of climb in feet per minute). The best rate of climb made at full allowable power is a maximum climb. It must be fully understood that attempts to obtain more climb performance than the airplane is capable of by increasing pitch attitude will result in a decrease in the rate of altitude gain.

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Copyright 2012
PED Publication