from level flight and full throttle, pull
the nose up slightly and hold a fixed amount
of aileron. As the plane rolls, kill any
turning tendency by gradually feeding in
down-elevator. As the plane rolls inverted,
begin removing down-elevator. As the wing
returns to level, quickly return the
ailerons back to neutral. The entire
maneuver should take at least 5 seconds.
The slow roll in the video lasts ten(10)
the use of down-elevator is late, the flight
path will turn in the direction of the
roll. If it is early, the flight path will
turn opposite the roll. One can use this
property to correct heading errors or
compensate for a crosswind during the roll.
the video, notice how the roll rate speeds
up during the last quarter of the roll.
This is caused by side-slipping. Here, the
wing is vertical and the nose is pointing
slightly down. The plane is descending.
There is nothing to support the plane except
the lift of the side of the fuselage which
isn’t very much in this type of bird, so the
plane slides vertically—an extreme slide
slip. Because of the dihedral in the wing,
the right wing has more lift than the left
wing so the roll rate is increased. The
pilot could have compensated for this by
reducing the amount of aileron. But he
didn’t. He needs more practice.
Another common mistake is centering. The
middle of the slow roll should be positioned
exactly in front of the observer. In the
video, the pilot started the roll too late,
so the center of the maneuver is shifted to
the observer’s right.
stall turn is an evasive maneuver going back
to WW1. In Eddie Rickenbacker’s book,
Fighting The Flying Circus, he called it a
“renversement” (reversing). Air show
announcers call it a “hammerhead” because of
the figure it draws in the sky with smoke.
Japanese Zero pilots used it a lot and were
very good at it.
seldom seen variant is the retournement
(turn-around), also mentioned in
Rickenbacker’s book. The airplane does a
quick half-roll on the way down to exit in
the same direction as the entry. It was a
method to get behind or escape a pursuer. Enter
the stall turn at full throttle from level
flight or a long shallow dive. Gently pull
straight up as if starting a loop. Climb
straight up until flying speed is almost
lost, then throttle back and yaw with the
rudder. Try to
rotate 180 degrees in one wingspan. Drop
straight down, returning to the original
so little airspeed at the top of the stall
turn, the rudder is not very effective. To
reduce the amount of work the rudder must
do, use it on the way up to yaw slightly in
the direction of the turn. Sometimes no
rudder is needed at all, the plane will just
naturally rotate around its center of
gravity. Sometimes a burst of throttle is
required to blow air over the rudder at the
crucial moment. The turn looks best if the
turn is done in place slowly.
common mistake is to not lose flying speed
at the top, but to fly a 180-degree U-turn
instead of rotating in place. This is not a
stall turn. It is called a bad wingover.
the video, there is a crosswind from the
left. The pilot yaws the plane with rudder
on the way up in order to prevent drifting
with the wind. As airspeed slows, the pilot
increases the yaw. The pilot coaxes the
plane into a partial yaw with rudder well
before the turn so that very little rudder
is needed in the turn. This causes a slow
and graceful rotation in one or two
wingspans. But the plane still has some
flying speed so that the turn could have
caused an unwanted roll. The pilot
anticipated this and prevented the roll by
using full right aileron before and during
the turn. This is one of the few maneuvers
that is easier to do in a crosswind.
speed increases with altitude, so extra
height can be gained by exploiting a
headwind. Come in low and pull up thru the
windshear. Airspeed actually increases as
the plane moves into stronger wind. This
increases lift and kicks the airplane even
higher. For this reason, stall turns are
most fun on windy days.