Tips to a better Chandelle

The chandelle is perhaps one of my favorite VFR commercial maneuver. It is a true display of a pilot’s coordination, planning and feel for the aircraft especially at minimum controllable flight. I have realized that there are certain errors training pilots usually make regarding chandelles and if corrected can lead to a perfect chandelle.

A little about the Chandelle

The chandelle is a maximum performance climbing turn beginning from approximately straight-and-level flight, and ending at the completion of 180 degrees of turn in a wings-level, nose-high attitude at the minimum controllable airspeed. This maneuver demands that the maximum flight performance be obtained with the airplane gaining the most altitude possible for a given degree of bank and power setting without stalling. This maneuver was developed during World War I by the French pilots. They would fly to enemy ground troops and toss their bombs out of the cockpit, and then perform the chandelle in an effort to avoid ground fire. Chandelles can also be used to get yourself out of a sticky situation if trapped between two mountains when mountain flying.

The tips:

  1. Ensure that you are properly set up for the maneuver, ensure that your airspeed is correct and that you are configured properly. Avoid rushing into the maneuver! A bad entry leads to a bad maneuver!
  2. Choose a 90 degree point that is visible and can be seen from far away. Eg. A long road
  3. Although it is a VFR maneuver and your eyes should primarily be outside, make a quick reference to your attitude indicator and note your max pitch up when arriving at your 90 degree point, DO NOT LET THE NOSE DROP!
  4. Remain coordinated throughout the maneuver! Use those feet!! In a chandelle some amount of right rudder pressure is needed because of the effect of the turning tendencies at slow airspeeds and high angles of attack. More right rudder pressure is needed in a left chandelle than a right chandelle.
  5. Do not enter the maneuver with too steep of a bank, this will result in not attaining maximum performance.


I hope some of these tips will actually help you in doing a better Chandelle!

Until next time…


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