Part II — The Ground and Air Instruction Syllabus — Exercise 11 — Slow Flight


(1)  To teach the student the proper flight technique necessary to achieve precise control of the aircraft while operating within the slow flight speed range.

(2)  To teach the student to recognize the symptoms when approaching the slow flight speed range to avoid inadvertent entry.

(3)  To develop co-ordination and instill confidence in handling the aircraft.


As required.

Essential Background Knowledge

(1)  Review "Flight for Maximum Endurance".

(2)  Define slow flight and give examples of when it may be encountered, e.g., soft field take-off and recovery from bad landings.

(3)  Describe critical areas where inadvertent entry into slow flight can be hazardous, e.g., attempting a turn immediately after take-off with a high all-up weight on a hot day.

(4)  Point out safety precautions — cockpit checks, minimum altitude, look-out, etc.

(5)  Explain considerations of slow flight:

  1. Power and attitude relationship — altitude and heading control;
  2. Diminishing response of flight controls;
  3. Recognition of minimum controllable airspeed;
  4. In straight flight — level, climbing, descending;
  5. In level, climbing and descending turns — bank and yaw control — proper use of power — climb and descent control;
  6. Effect of flaps and landing gear (when applicable);
  7. Return to cruise flight.

(6)  Question student on the exercise and clarify as necessary.

Advice to Instructors

(1)  Slow flight is defined as flight in the speed range from below the speed for maximum endurance to just above the stall speed. This must not be taught as only a level flight exercise. The student should develop proficiency in climbing and descending in this speed range, as well as turning with an angle of bank of up to 30° while flying level, climbing and descending, if the aircraft is capable.

(2)  In the initial stages of training the student should be given practice controlling the aircraft in the upper limits of the slow flight speed range. As more experience and proficiency is achieved, slow flight at speeds down to and including the minimum controllable airspeed must be practised while in cruising, take-off and landing configurations and in co-ordinated turns. Slow flight practice at minimum controllable airspeed should be performed at an airspeed just slightly above the stall, sufficient to permit manoeuvring, but close enough to the stall to give the student the feel of sloppy controls and diminished response to control movements. Simulate, at altitude, the worst possible conditions, e.g., recovery from a high full flap landing bounce, or commencing a turn when loading and density altitude are critical.

(3)  Direction is an important consideration, and every effort should be made to control adverse yaw with rudder.

(4)  During the initial demonstration of this exercise, a minimum altitude of 2,000 feet above terrain is suggested.

(5)  Emphasis must be placed on the importance of a good look-out at all times.

(6)  Initially it is desirable that this exercise should be carried out in smooth air conditions. As experience is accumulated, less than ideal conditions should be introduced.

(7)  Slow flight is not an exercise to be covered and forgotten. Statistics show that many accidents might have been avoided if the pilot had better appreciation of this exercise i.e. inadvertent entry into "slow flight" is an almost certain indication of an approaching stall. Therefore, it is most important that the air exercise include a practical demonstration, at a safe altitude, of the flight manoeuvres which include the operation of the aircraft in the critical lower limits of the slow flight speed range.

(8)  Slow flight is practised so that a student can learn to control an aircraft at low airspeeds. It helps develop a "feel" for flying and enables the pilot to cope with manoeuvres which may be flown at critical speeds. Emphasize the need for co-ordination and smooth handling of the controls to achieve the desired performance.

Instructor and Student Practice

(1)  Straight Flight: — level (constant altitude), climbs and descents:

  1. Complete safety precautions, cockpit checks, minimum altitude, look-out;
  2. Establish flight for maximum endurance;
  3. Review control response — (while in endurance flight);
  4. Establish a slow flight attitude;
  5. Point out the decrease in airspeed and ensuing loss of altitude;
  6. Demonstrate:
  1. that an increase in power and an adjustment of attitude is required to maintain altitude and selected airspeed;
  2. control response while in slow flight;
  3. control of yaw to achieve co-ordinated flight;
  4. flight characteristics in the slow flight speed range including flight at minimum controllable airspeed;
  5. climbs and descents in the slow flight speed range.

G. Flight instrument indications.

(2)  Slow Flight Turns — level, climbing, descending:

  1. Complete safety precautions;
  2. Demonstrate:
  1. turns — level, climbing, descending;
  2. use of attitude and power combination for control of altitude and rate of climb and descent.

C. Flight instrument indications.

(3)  Repeat slow flight air exercises (1) and (2) demonstrating effect of flaps and landing gear if applicable.

(4)  Return to cruise flight.

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