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New PTS for Commercial

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Well-known member
Aug 29, 2002
In the new PTS for the commercial there is a new requirement for spirals. I haven't instructed for a while, so I'm not familliar with this manuever. Does anyone have any info on this? Thanks.

Steep spirals is really nothing more than a glorified turns around a point maneuver. Constant radius using bank and wind drift corrections.

Select a reference point on the ground and set up to enter in the upwind. The maneuver requires three complete turns so ensure your altitude is sufficient as well.

Establish best glide for your aircraft and the first turn into the maneuver will be a shallow bank. As you progress around the point, the bank will vary,(obviously), because of the change in wind direction relative to your flight path. Maximum angle of bank should be 60 degrees.

Three complete turns and exit the maneuver upwind.

Have fun...
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However, the bank is steeper than turns around a pt so the pt must be much closer, almost underneath you. A/S must be constant...roll in and trim it. Pwr is at idle. It simulates an engine out procedure in which you would spiral down, roll out on final, and land. Though why you would want to lose 1000-1500 fpm with your engine gone, I don't know. Maybe a fire? Also, I don't believe they should be performed at best glide...way too much load factor for that, at least in a Cessna where best glide is 15-20 kts above stall.

Don't forget the other changes either...pwr off ldgs and new definition of slow flight. Have fun.
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A few comments on this...

The steep spirals maneuver actually is at glide. Examiners will expect you to follow the description right out of the FAA-H-8083-3 publication.

" After the throttle is closed and gliding speed is established, a gliding spiral should be started and a turn of constant radius maintained around the selected spot on the ground".

The term "Minimum controllable airspeed" is used in the new PTS as well.

By definition it is the speed at which any further increase in angle of attack or load factor, or reduction in power will cause an immediate stall.

Commercial PTS for MCA is +/- 50 ft on the altitude, +/- 10 degrees on the heading, +5/-0 on the airspeed, and +/- 5 degrees on a specified bank angle.
You enter this into the wind as opposed to downwind? I haven't read the new PTS, so I'm just checking. Thanks
Nope...the entry is upwind, unlike all the other maneuvers. Remember, it is a simulated emerg procedure in which you roll in and out on the upwind, as you would on final.
Does all this apply the same if ride taken in twin engine airplane?
You're correct, 172 Driver....

I second guessed myself and was wrong about the downwind entry. The criteria for this maneuver is in Chapter 6 of the Airplane Flying Handbook for those who are interested.

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