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6 Answers

Lazy eight help

Asked by: 1580 views ,
Commercial Pilot, Flight Instructor, General Aviation

I can't seem to get lazy 8s down. I had them decently when I was flying a Beech Sierra, but now I'm in a socata trinidad, which flies faster, and I can't seem to nail them. I'm always too fast and or too high when coming into the 180 deg point. I'm doing this at 12.5-13 inches and Prop is full- this puts me about 10kts below Va for that weight.  My next thought is to go try it with the gear down to keep it slower? Though I'm not sure how an examiner would like that, even though I can't find anything against it. (POH doesn't specify, nor does PTS that I can tell, since it says refer to the POH) 

the other trick I realized I did in the Sierra was to 'slice the nose through the horizon' at the 90 deg point. After reviewing the PTS I'm noticing tthat it states hat as one of the common mistakes made. 

Any suggestions? It's getting frustrating because I'm holding off to schedule my checkride due to this maneuver. The CFI seems to  just slowing saying to slow it down, but its difficult for me to have him sitting there for 50/hr saying that I'm dong it right, and he is t sure what else to tell me.

6 Answers



  1. Mark Kolber on Feb 03, 2013

    It’s going to be difficult for someone to point out what specifically is causing the problem without seeing you fly. If your CFI can’t figure it out, it’s time for a second set of eyes. It’s not a dig against your CFI – your flight school or CFI should arrange it as standard operating procedure.

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  2. lo_fly on Feb 03, 2013

    Use low rpm: the lazy 8’s idea is to exchange you airspeed in altitude and vice versa throughout the 180 turn, if you have high rpm and “high” mp in the first 90 you will actually climb so it’s normal that at the 180 point you will be too fast.
    At the 90 point let the nose ‘slice through the horizon’ is correct because the plane has to be level.

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  3. Brian on Feb 03, 2013

    The PTS says nothing about sweeping through the 90 being a mistake. You need to understand the maneuver, achieve approximately 30 degrees bank at the steepest point (I personally was more to the order of 40 degrees on my FAA ride), and at the 180 point be +/- 100 feet, 10 knots, and 10 degrees of heading. That’s your limitations.

    As for the maneuver, nearly all issues with this maneuver are because of too much head bob. That is, too much looking inside.

    Try this:

    Step 1: Go up solo, cover the instruments and run the maneuver a half dozen times. Do what feels like 30 degrees at the top and do the sweep through on the cusp of stall you’ve been doing. Make the down line look like the up line. When you’re satisfied move onto the next step.

    Step 2: Uncover the instruments (probably on the 5th or 6th one). Resist the urge to look inside. Instead, set up a camera, tape it to the seat or whatever you like, and let it look at the instruments for you. Run the maneuver 2 or 3 more times then go home.

    Step 3: Watch your videos. When you see you’re within tolerances just by doing what feels right you will never again have issues with Lazy 8s.

    Not a guaranteed cure of course, but it worked for me, a couple of my buddies and a handful of students. Good luck! Remember, commercial maneuvers are visual maneuvers. In other words, 90 percent outside.

    PS in the Arrow I used 2000 RPM and 18 inches. Same in a 172 RG. Not sure about your bird. You can always fly a steeper up line as long as the down line is done the same way. The examiner wants to see controlled constant change of pitch and bank within PTS tolerances.

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  4. Chris Carlson on Feb 03, 2013

    I went up today and got some within standards. I really want to try that camera suggestion, I guess I really just need to look outside more. It’s difficult after so much instrument time. I got pretty consistent within standards, though sloppy looking (because I was watching numbers inside) but I went to a much higher pitch, slower aircraft. Faster turn rate at a given bank, seemed to help.

    As far as slicing, you two are correct, it says nothing in the PTS, I read it in the airplane flying handbook. It says ‘falling through the tips, rather than flying the airplane through’ not exactly sure how to interpret that. Thanks for the input guys! More practice, it’ll come.

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  5. Brian on Feb 09, 2013

    “It says ‘falling through the tips, rather than flying the airplane through’ not exactly sure how to interpret that.”

    It’s the same as slicing through. The idea is at the low airspeed point of the maneuver you’ll be flying at the brink of a stall. Keep the aircraft from stalling, but keep it close to the stall through ~30-40 degrees of a turn during the transition from climbing to descending.

    Hope that helps, and let me know how the video and covering your instruments works. Remember, use ground points in the distance to identify where you are in the maneuver. Lot’s of instructors get students into the bad habit of using a road or something else straight beneath them. That is bad because the easiest visual cue’s to identify are off the nose of the aircraft. These cue’s keep you informed on your aircrafts attitude. Having to bob your head straight down to identify your position relative to the earth is far more difficult than just moving your eyes a few degrees off your nose to a point in the distance.

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  6. Peter Collins on Aug 02, 2014

    Well, that’s not what I was taught by a retired jet combat instructor. You are flying at 1g. Pull on an extra g into a climbing, rolling to 90 degree bank turn where the long axis of the plane is horizontal and the elevator position, unchanged, holds you in your seat with 1g as you roll out of the turn with the elevator position bringing you out of the dive and into the climb for the opposite turn as you continue the roll into the opposite turn. Each turn should be 270 degrees so you really do form an “8” and it is lazy because the just hold the throttle and elevator steady while gently rolling one way and then the other. Passengers hardly feel a thing for they are held steadily in their seat and all the changes are slow and gentle. But, hey, don’t try it without an instructor, the first time.

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