Basic Instrument Maneuvers
CONSTANT AIRSPEED DESCENT
The constant airspeed descent mirrors the constant airspeed climb, with the power being reduced instead
of advanced and pitch decreased as required to maintain cruise airspeed. As with constant airspeed
climbs, you will maintain airspeed by adjusting pitch, and you should hold a constant heading throughout
the maneuver. Use the same scan as for the climb.
When beginning this maneuver from cruise airspeed, reduce power to idle and smoothly establish a
nosedown attitude of 3 to 6 degrees to maintain 250 KIAS. As in a constant airspeed climb, control
airspeed by making small pitch changes. Use a lead point of 10 percent of the VSI for exiting the
maneuver; when you reach the lead point, increase power to the cruise setting and establish a pitch
attitude that results in level flight. Retrim the aircraft at the end of the maneuver.
Constant airspeed descent--normal cruise entry and exit:
Throttle: Reduce to idle
Pitch: 3-6 degrees nosedown to maintain 250 KIAS
Level off: Lead by 10 percent of VSI
Throttle: Increase to cruise power (approximately 1200 pph at 15,000 ft MSL)
Pitch: Level flight attitude
Trim: Adjust for level flight
If you are at an airspeed of less than 250 KIAS, begin the constant airspeed descent by smoothly
decreasing the nose attitude 3 to 6 degrees nose-low, allowing the airspeed to approach 250 KIAS
(5-KIAS lead) and then reducing the power to idle and continuing the descent in the normal manner.
CONSTANT RATE CLIMBS AND DESCENTS
Serving as the foundation of the more complex S pattern maneuvers, constant rate climbs and descents
are somewhat more difficult than the constant airspeed climbs and descents because you must maintain a
given airspeed, heading, and a specific rate of climb or descent.
In constant rate climbs and descents, control the rate of climb with power while simultaneously
maintaining airspeed by adjusting nose attitude. A common mistake in these maneuvers is to attempt to
control airspeed with power and climb rate with pitch. Also, pitch and power are interrelated and an
adjustment to either one will affect the other, so you will have to coordinate an adjustment to one with an
adjustment to the other. For example, if you advance power to increase your climb rate without
simultaneously increasing pitch enough, your climb rate will increase and your airspeed will tend to
Your primary scan for these maneuvers must include the ADI for pitch, bank, and heading control, the VSI
for rate, and the airspeed indicator for airspeed. Avoid making abrupt adjustments in response to VSI
indications because this instrument tends to lag behind the actual values, and you will find yourself
The importance of keeping the aircraft correctly trimmed throughout these maneuvers cant be
overemphasized. If you dont have the aircraft trimmed, it is much more likely that youll end up chasing
the performance instruments.