Teaching and Learning Flying - Private Pilot, Single-Engine Airplane

Steep Power Turns


    The "steep power turn" maneuver is a maximum performance 360° (or 720°) turn using a bank angle steep enough to cause an "overbanking" tendency and attain relatively high load factors.


  • Above 1,500 feet AGL
  • Lights on
  • CLEAR area with two 90° turns, left and right
  • Maneuvering speed, VA, (N6209T: approximately 105 knots)
  • Less than 60° bank
  • Division of attention includes watching for other traffic


  • Private Pilot PTS, VII E, Constant Altitude Turns
    • Explain performance factors
    • Altitude above 1,500 feet
    • Airspeed < VA
    • Bank 45° +/-5°
    • Rollout on heading +/-10°
    • Altitude +/-100 feet
  • Commercial PTS, VI A, Steep Power Turns: as Private except:
    • Establish recommended entry airspeed
    • Bank 50° +/-5°
    • Airspeed +/-10 knots (if within performance capability of airplane)
    • Rollout on heading +/-10°
    • Avoid any indication of a stall


    To develop smoothness, coordination, orientation, division of attention, and control techniques while executing high performance turns


    • Discuss definition, objectives, tolerances, and elements of steep power turns
    • Relationship of bank angle, load factor, and stalling speed
      • Load factor increases rapidly as bank angle exceeds 45°
      • At 60° bank, load factor is 2 G's
      • Stall speed increases in proportion to the square root of the load factor
    • Overbanking tendency
      • Bank angle greater than 45°: relative excess lift on outside wing overcomes dihedral and keel effects responsible for positive static roll stability in shallow bank turns
      • Negative static stability
      • Requirement for opposite aileron pressure
    • Torque effect in right and left turns
        Pitch higher + power increase = increase in left turning tendency
    • Selection of a suitable altitude
        Above 1,500 feet AGL
    • Orientation, division of attention, and planning
        Most attention outside + quick scans inside
    • Appropriate power setting and airspeed prior to entry
        VA, (N6209T: MP 19 in, 105 knots)
    • Coordination of flight controls
    • Differential wing drag
      • Wing with lowered aileron has more drag
      • May cause adverse yaw
      • Role of Frise type ailerons (N6209T)
    • Demonstrate the steep power turn, 360°
      1. Lights on and CLEAR area
      2. Note heading and ground reference
      3. Smooth, coordinated bank to 50 +/-5°
      4. After bank exceeds 30°, pitch up and add 1" of MP
      5. Hold reference spot on horizon
      6. Correct small altitude changes with small bank changes
      7. Lead rollout approximately 30°
      8. Smooth, coordinated rollout while releasing back elevator pressure and reducing MP 1"
    • Coach student practice in both directions
      Critique student performance


  • Improper pitch, bank, and power coordination during entry and rollout
    • Too much pitch up too soon on entry
    • Holding back pressure during rollout and climbing
  • Uncoordinated use of flight controls
      Especially slipping in right turns
  • Inappropriate control applications
  • Improper technique in correcting altitude deviations
  • Loss of orientation
      Forgetting initial heading or outside reference
  • Excessive deviation from desired heading during rollout
    • Lack of planning
    • Lead rollout by approximately 30°

Greg Gordon MD, CFII