Turnaround Maneuvers – Changing flight directions with style

Turnaround Maneuvers – Changing flight directions with style

When it comes to performing an aerobatic routine, you will need some type of turnaround maneuver to bring the aircraft back to center stage. The three most popular ones are the Stall Turn, the Immelmann and the Split-S. These three turnaround maneuvers can be used to place your plane back in line with its prior altitude or allow the plane to exit at a higher altitude, depending on your needs for the next move in your sequence.


The stall turn, (also referred to as the hammerhead), is one of the more common maneuvers for many types of aircraft. The maneuver consists of a 1/4-loop followed by a vertical up-line, a stop and pivot around its center of gravity, placing the plane in a vertical down line. The maneuver ends at the bottom with another 1/4 loop. It is very common to see stall turns in nearly every aerobatic sequence, from basic to unlimited, so here are the other options you have…

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  1. This use to be called only a “stall turn” but now days as mentioned it is also called a “hammer head”, My question is: if this is a hammer head maneuver then what is it called when a plane stalls going vertical then falls towards its landing gear abruptly instead of moving backward in a tail slide?

  2. A tailslide used to be more properly called a “Whip Stall” in the full scale aerobatic world. I became intimately familiar with this term while my newly acquired certificate was less than 45 days old.

    While taking an aerobatics course in 1970 I managed to hold the vertical line too long, while practicing Hammerhead Stalls, before applying rudder and managed to complete this maneuver in a Cessna 150 Aerobat.

    The unfortunate part was that the Cessna Aerobat was NOT certified for, (and placarded against), this maneuver resulting in a complete inspection of the wing spar, horizontal stabilizer and elevator, as mandated in a calle to Cessna to report the action. A slightly costly learning experience.

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