Chapter 6—Ground Reference Maneuvers

Purpose and Scope
Maneuvering By Reference to Ground Objects
Drift and Ground Track Control
Rectangular Course
S-Turns Across a Road
Turns Around a Point
Elementary Eights
    Eights Along a Road
    Eights Across a Road
    Eights Around Pylons
    Eights-On-Pylons (Pylon Eights)
Table of Contents


An “eight” is a maneuver in which the airplane describes a path over the ground more or less in the shape of a figure “8”. In all eights except “lazy eights” the path is horizontal as though following a marked path over the ground. There are various types of eights, progressing from the elementary types to very difficult types in the advanced maneuvers. Each has its special use in teaching the student to solve a particular problem of turning with relation to the Earth, or an object on the Earth’s surface. Each type, as they advance in difficulty of accomplishment, further perfects the student’s coordination technique and requires a higher degree of subconscious flying ability. Of all the training maneuvers available to the instructor, only eights require the progressively higher degree of conscious attention to outside objects. However, the real importance of eights is in the requirement for the perfection and display of subconscious flying.

Elementary eights, specifically eights along a road, eights across a road, and eights around pylons, are variations of turns around a point, which use two points about which the airplane circles in either direction. Elementary eights are designed for the following purposes.

  • To perfect turning technique.
  • To develop the ability to divide attention between the actual handling of controls and an outside objective.
  • To perfect the knowledge of the effect of angle of bank on radius of turn.
  • To 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.
  • To train the student to think and plan ahead of the airplane.

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Copyright 2012
PED Publication