Lazy Eight maneuver

Published by: Doug Boyle on 23rd Aug 2017 | View all blogs by Doug Boyle

The Manufacturer's limitations on pitch and bank are +/- 30 degrees and +/- 60 degrees, respectively.  The FAR's also state that a parachute while be donned when exceeding the same limits.  Thus, this discussion will not delve into aerobatic flight which is prohibited by the manufactures of Trikes and further restrained through the FAR's.

With that being said, I'd like to entertain the notion of using the Lazy Eight maneuver in Advanced Trike training.  As a Commercial Pilot program training exercise used in General Aviation, this maneuver can aid the Master Trike pilot in "becoming one" with his/her aircraft.  Furthermore, it can encompass the "new" training requirement of Spiral Dive Recovery in the discussion of avoidance, entry, and exit.  Unusual Attitudes will glove into the discussion and demonstration, as well.

Lazy Eight maneuvers involve maximum pitch and bank attitudes, in intervals, as a 180 degree turn is completed in both directions.  When done correctly they provide the feeling of "dancing with the wind".  From level flight the turn is begun with a progressive bank that maximizes at the 90 degree point and minimizes at the 180 degree point.  Pitch is progressive,as well, and maximizes at the 45 degree point and becomes neutral at the 90 degree point.  At the 135 degeee point the pitch is at its lowest as you're reducing your bank.  At the 180 degree point all is back to normal and we roll and pitch into the opposite direction. 

Begun at cruising rpm and level flight the goal is to return to the original speed and altitude without varying your power.  You learn to trade your airspeed in pitch control while simultaneously banking/unbanking your wing.  During the training the pilot will be exposed to "unusual attitudes" and "uncoordinated flight", until the practice concludes with the knowledge and skillful application of "aviation artistry".

To keep the pilot from getting anxious, begin with normal pitch and banks in the execution/demonstration.  Work up to the limits based upon your student's reaction. If you choose to delve deeper into this precision flight regime, try it with power off (idle) and compare the altitude loss with the completion of each maneuver.  Have fun but ALWAYS afford yourself the proper airspace and altitude to stay safe.  Clearing turns are a MUST!  Let's go fly...."slipping the surly bonds of Earth".

Doug Boyle



  • Rizwan Bukhari
    by Rizwan Bukhari 10 months ago
    Sounds like a fun way to learn and master different manuvers. I like it.
  • Bryan Tuffnell
    by Bryan Tuffnell 10 months ago
    Doug, I really like that idea. Lazy eights are a fantastic way to learn coordination and precision, and this makes a lot of sense to me.

    Perhaps it's worth clarifying your description of 'pitch'. The figures in your description for pitch are angle to the horizon, and not the total pitch input given by the pilot. As I see it, a lazy eight begins with a climb, or a shallow dive then climb-roll-pitch, with maximum pilot pitch up, maximum altitude and maximum bank all coinciding at the ninety degree (of turn) mark. So, maximum pitch given by the pilot does not occur at the same time as maximum climb angle relative to the horizon because of roll.

    Great stuff!
  • Paul Hamilton
    by Paul Hamilton 10 months ago
    Yes the Lazy Eight maneuver is a great Advanced Trike Maneuver. Great Doug brought this up which I hope more pilots can use to develop better proficiency. Great for flight reviews. I have a whole chapter in one of my books which might be helpful with more details on Advanced Trike Maneuvers:

    More discussion on advanced maneuvers (Lazy 8 and more) here on TPS for further info:

    Great work Doug. I hope more pilots/CFI's follow Doug's example and pursue greater flying skill ..
  • Leo Iezzi
    by Leo Iezzi 10 months ago
    Lazy 8 is an advanced maneuver....Lazy 9 on the other hand..... :*D
  • Doug Boyle
    by Doug Boyle 10 months ago
    Leo, The Lazy 9 means you fell out of the maneuver and wet yourself....:)
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