Keeping Loops Round

Aug 21, 2014 1 Comment by

Guard against making the common mistake of releasing too much elevator, aka “hunting,” during the float and thus creating a flat spot on top of the loop. This occurs for the same reason people overcontrol at every skill level: they want to see their inputs doing something. Instead, you should concentrate on smoothly reducing the elevator input to a fixed position that is just enough to keep the loop from pinching. When the float is performed correctly, the loop remains round without any visible sign of when the elevator adjustments where made. When the loop is visible out of round, it’s usually due to trying to manage the float by watching the airplane instead of paying attention to the control inputs.

Since the loop is entered from level flight with more speed compared to the first version of the P loop, propwash and P-factor won’t require corrections until the airplane has entered the slower section of the loop over the top. However, if a strong crosswind exists, you’ll likely need to input your rudder correction earlier and hold it in longer.

After the airplane has made it past the top of the loop, idle the engine to slow the descent and get ready to quickly neutralize the elevator at the instant the plane points straight down. Despite the throttle reduction, airplanes tend to quickly build speed when pointing straight down, so hold the lines before and after the half-roll no longer than a count of “one.” Flying a perfect vertical downline is the mark of a professional-caliber P loop. If you do not have the time to display at least short vertical lines before and after the roll, you’ll have to enter the maneuver higher and/or fly much larger loops to enter the downline higher up. You think of it this way: if you don’t have enough altitude to dive straight at the ground, perform a half roll and pull out, you probably don’t have enough height to perform this version of the P loop. This is what we mean when we talk about “thinking ahead of the airplane!” BY DAVID SCOTT


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One Response to “Keeping Loops Round”

  1. Ernie Misner says:

    An informative article! This makes it obvious that loops can not be taken for granted. I was suprised to see the “P loop” show up in the 2nd paragraph though though with no explanation of what that is…. I should know I suppose but am blanking.

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