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3 Answers

Commercial Practical Test – Steep Spirals

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Commercial Pilot

Do steep spirals on the commercial practical have to be done gear up and flaps up, or is that at the pilot's discretion?  I've seen conflicting answers.

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3 Answers

  1. Nathan Parker on Aug 06, 2012

    If the PTS doesn’t say and the Airplane Flying Handbook doesn’t say, then it’s the pilot’s discretion, and anyone who says differently is incorrect.

    Considering how much altitude you need to do this maneuver, I think you’d be crazy to have the gear down or flaps down. This isn’t an emergency descent.

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  2. Lucas on Aug 06, 2012

    As Nathan stated it is not mentioned neither on the PTS nor on The Airplane Flying Handbook so it is mostly at your discretion, but keep in mind that the purpose of the maneuver is to simulate the loss of an engine at a high altitude above an airport. The goal of the maneuver is to make sure you stay close to the airport and are able to safely land. With that in mind when I teach my students the maneuver, I often combine the steep spiral with an emergency landing (if traffic permits) If the student can get me safely on the ground I seriously cannot care less if the maneuver was done gear and flaps up or down, as long as the gear was extended before landing :-).
    Heck if the student likes a challenge I will even pull the gear circuit breaker on him before the maneuver.
    No worries though this supposedly cannot be done during your check ride, as examiners are not supposed to combine tasks.


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  3. JRG on Aug 20, 2012

    With my first CFI did them with 10 degrees flaps and gear down. With 2nd CFI totally clean, so try them both ways out and see which suits ya best

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