The Do’s and Don’ts of Maneuvering Flight

FAA Safety Team | Safer Skies Through Education
The Do’s and Don’ts of Maneuvering Flight

Notice Number: NOTC2999

Nearly one-third of all fatal accidents occur during maneuvering flight, in part because maneuvering at low altitude limits the amount of time a pilot has to recover. Maneuvering flight is basically any type of flying performed close to the ground — even the traffic pattern is considered maneuvering!

Do’s and Don’ts that can help keep you safe.


• Do remember that the majority of fatal stall/spin accidents occur at low altitudes, because the closer you are to the ground the less time you will have for a successful recovery.
• Do practice stalls or approaches to stalls at a safe altitude. If you’re rusty take a CFI with you.
• Do fly at a safe altitude so that you won’t be surprised by obstacles that may require abrupt maneuvers to avoid.
• Do remember that turns and sudden climbs increase the wing loading which will increase the stall speed, sometimes dramatically.

• Don’t explore the flight envelope close to the ground.
• Don’t exceed 30 degrees of bank in the traffic pattern.
• Don’t buzz or otherwise show off with an aircraft. Not only are you putting yourself at risk, but your pilot certificate too. The FAA gets lots of complaints that include cell phone pictures and videos.
• Don’t attempt maneuvers for which you have not been trained. Get an Instructor on board the first time!
Want to know more? Go to the Courses page on and look for Course ALC-34, Maneuvering: Approach and Landing
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