How To Fly an Aerobatic Steep Turn

Adrian Willis
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An aerobatic steep turn is different to a steep turn learned in PPL training. It is a turn of at least 60° angle of bank where the bank angle is initiated without turning, then the aircraft is made to turn, the turn is then stopped and then the bank rolled off before the turn starts and taken off after the turn is completed.  Steep Turns regularly feature in Club, Sportsman and Intermediate level competitions, the later often inverted, so it is important to learn to fly them well. Additionally the same technique is used for wing rocks and a similar technique is required for a 90 degree roll. Like many things, they are not difficult but they do take some learning and some practice and the correct technique needs to be applied.

From BAeA website

Judging Criteria

  • Straight and level entry
  • Maintaining the same heading, roll on a minimum of 60° angle of bank with a constant roll rate maintaining CGT 
  • Briskly initiate turn keeping a constant angle of bank and turn rate maintaining CGT
  • Stop the turn on heading
  • Maintaining the same heading, roll wings level with a constant roll rate and maintaining CGT
  • Straight and level exit

How to Fly a Steep Turn

In this example I will assume that the HASELL checks have been completed and height and speed is sufficient and it is trimmed to zero G.

  • Looking ahead and maintaining heading, roll the aircraft to 60° angle of bank, making sure to keep the nose above the horizon with top rudder and a constant roll rate (see slow roll technique) using some forward stick to prevent the aircraft changing heading.
  • Apply moderate back pressure to initiate the turn using rudder to keep the nose at the same height above the horizon – the more back pressure, the tighter the turn
  • When on heading, remove the back pressure and apply a little forward stick to remain on heading
  • Maintaining heading. roll the wings level making sure straight and level flight is maintained

Common Mistakes

  • Climbing/descending entry
  • Off heading entry/exit
  • Turning whilst initiating bank angle and taking bank angle off
  • Not a constant rate of turn


The judging criteria has been taken from CIVA Section 6 part 1 PDF from the CIVA website.

Flying a good aerobatic steep turn takes practice. Learning the correct technique will save you hours of fruitless practice. Any questions, please ask below. To book aerobatic training, contact Adrian at Adrian.Willis@BritishAerobaticAcademy.com or call or message him at 07712864413. Please subscribe to our blogs as the more interested readers we have, the easier it is to justify on-going resources!

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