by Jonathan M. Stern
S-Turns Across a Road
The purpose of flying s-turns across a road is to develop one's ability to compensate for wind drift during a turn. The maneuver is performed by flying at constant altitude and constant airspeed while flying equidistant semicircles on either side of a road that lies perpendicular to the wind.
The first step is to select a reasonably long road that is perpendicular to the wind (see Figure 5.4).
Figure 5.4. There are many roads suitable for s-turns.
Of course, with Flight Simulator, the wind can be made to be perpendicular to the road. Accordingly, finding a usable road is a bit easier than it might be in a real airplane.
The maneuver is entered downwind (perpendicular to the road with the wind at your tail). As you learned with the rectangular course, the bank must be steepest while turning on a downwind heading and shallowest while turning on an upwind heading. Unlike the rectangular course maneuver, during the s-turns, the airplane is constantly changing bank angle throughout the maneuver. The only time that wings should pass through level is when the airplane passes over the top of the road (see Figure 5.5).
Figure 5.5. When making s-turns across a road, the bank is constantly changing.
A sign of using incorrect bank angles or roll rates is if the airplane is not perpendicular to the road as it passes over the road. The maneuver is completed after the second semicircle is finished. The flight path made during a properly performed maneuver is in the shape of an S.
Select the Windwork situation. This situation places you at 4,500 feet above Midway Airport with a Westerly wind. Find a road that runs generally North/South and practice s-turns across the road.