Eights on a pylon

I am currently reviewing for a commercial check ride soon and am wondering after learning so many maneuvers the last few years and understating their purpose in the training…
Is it just me or does the eights on a pylons seem like a pointless training maneuver? I am struggling to see the purpose of this compared to steep turns, S turn or turns around a point.

I recently took my commercial SE check ride and I had a hard time with eights on pylons. I also didn’t (and maybe still don’t) get the purpose, and I struggled with performing the maneuver, but managed to pull it off when it counted most; on the checkride. :smile:

As far as certifying a commercial pilot, my understanding of the commercial SE maneuvers (eights on pylons, chandelles, lazy eights, steep spirals, power-off 180 landing) is for the pilot to demonstrate more accurate, deliberate, and anticipatory control of the aircraft, with associated greater understanding of how the aircraft flies and handles, than maybe a private pilot would be required to demonstrate.

As far as practical use in real life, I’ve heard that holding a constant sight-picture to an object on the ground can find purpose in aerial photography or aerial gunnery, but obviously those are two very specific things that the average pilot probably won’t be required to do in their career. Beyond that, I’m not really sure what it could be used for.

Bryan,

The purpose of Eights on Pylons is to demonstrate your understanding and application of pivotal altitude. The maneuver’s actual practical use in today’s world of commercial aviation?..no clue. However, what it does teach a pilot, as with all maneuvers, is proper management of the aircraft’s energy.

Tory

1 Like

I’m with Tory. Other than instructing the only time I EVER did ANY of those maneuvers was the CPL checkride.

Adam

1 Like

Agreed, I think it is pointless, except for the fact that the FAA demands it, so we all do it.

1 Like

Hey everyone,

Not to hijack the post, what does “maneuver validation” consist of at the airlines? A buddy of mine went through that and I was always curious if the airlines had maneuvers we have to learn before getting an ATP.

Yuran

Yuran,

A maneuvers validation is a checkride that airline pilots take on a regular basis, it generally consists of stalls, steep turns, regular and single engine approaches, plus the requisite engine failure on takeoff. These are part of our regular checkrides and I would assume are also part of an ATP checkride.

Chris

1 Like

Yuran,

In the past when a pilot went for their Type ride (or during Recurrent Training) they’d be responsible for flying a number of maneuvers as part of the checkride which would be given under the guise of an actual flight (which really didn’t make sense since we don’t normally lose engines and systems during regular flights). However the industry has transitioned to a more “contemporary” approach with a strong emphasis on CRM (Crew Resource Management) which looks at how the crew functions AS A CREW during a “normal” flight. Problem is they still need to verify the pilots can fly so the checks have been split into 2 “events”, the Maneuvers Validation and an LOE (Line Operations Evaluation). During the MV the pilots are evaluated individually and are responsible for flying their “maneuvers”. Now when we say maneuvers we’re really not talking chandelles or 8’s on a pylon. We’re talking V1 Cuts, SE ILS’, steep turns (maybe), stalls, aborts, go arounds etc. After a successful MV the crew will than have their LOE which will be a “normal” line flight (in the sim) done “real time” during which there will probably be a minor “event” the crew needs to deal with and again the crew is evaluated as a crew. Make sense?

Adam

1 Like

I received my Private Pilot license back in the dark ages when Eights on Pylons were a required Private maneuver. I was always told that they teach you (especially in strong winds), to anticipate and compensate. That knowledge served me well when I was learning/practicing holds. In my crew time (just last week) I put that knowledge to work. We got assigned a hold on a RNAV approach in solid IMC when the wind was blowing. Nothing like being able to anticipate that I need to bank a little more on one end and ease up the bank on the other to stay where ATC needed me.

Blue skies.

Bob

Bob,

I think you may be confusing two different concepts. Yes, varying bank angles is one way to compensate for wind, but that’s typically a technique used during VMC. After all, eights on pylons is a commercial single maneuver performed in VMC.

Instrument flying is taught using standard rate turns. Therefore, varying bank angles in a hold is not proper technique and can lead to unnecessarily steep banks, especially in IMC. Instead, holds should be flown using standard rate turns and the heading on the outbound leg should be adjusted to compensate for the crosswind. This creates a pear shaped flight path in the hold, but if done correctly, will avoid the need to overbank the aircraft.

The Airplane Flying Manual explains how to fly eights on pylons. The Instrument Flying Manual explains how to fly a holding pattern.

Tory

1 Like

Adam and Chris,

Thanks for the info! Makes perfect sense! Now I see why everyone says your 121 training is like drinking from a fire hose. The maneuvers are stressful I’m sure, add systems and everything else that they throw at you and it can become very overwhelming, but not impossible. Looking forward to the challenge when the time comes!

Yuran