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S-Turns
2010-03-18

S-Turns

The two downwind and two upwind turns of the S-turn combine the four quadrants of the left and right turns about a point. The technique calls for the wings to be momentarily level at the moment of crossing the reference line. The bank angle used just before leveling the wings will be the same angle but opposite bank after crossing the reference line. It is important to get as long a reference line as possible. It helps if the line happens to have regular division lines to help the student keep the S as symmetrical as possible. It is a good practice to work the S to and from both ends of the reference line. In a strong wind the downwind turns and reversal of bank will need to be quite abrupt and steep. The upwind turns will be proportionately gradual and shallow.

One of the best experiences I have every had doing S-turns was over a slow moving freight train engine. Occasionally, a series of suitable small fields exist. As with all ground reference at the private pilot level you are seeking symmetry at constant altitude.

wind direction

Entry

Common mistakes in making S-turns are such as not varying the bank angle and forgetting to change the bank angle to correct for the wind effect. If the pilot does not alternate his scan in and out of the cockpit then there may be wide variations in altitude. Keeping track of the wind direction is important in the correct performance of S-turns.

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