Loops and Eights (1 of 2)

A partial or complete loop takes place when the aeroplane pitches through at least 45° without roll or yaw, either in positive (pull) or negative (push) flight. Most loops join sections of straight-line flying together. Looping segments are in every family except 2 (turns) and 9 (rolls), both positive and negative elements being combined with straight lines to create not only Eights but also Humpty Bumps, P-Loops, N's, Stall Turns, Tail Slides, Goldfish etc.. Looping segments are always judged on flight path or CGT - never ZLA.

  • Loops, eights and vertical 'S's are always wind corrected, in other words their elements MUST be accurate and 'round'. In a simple loop (see right) the end point should be exactly where the loop started, both horizontally and vertically. Hold up your finger, a pencil or pen to keep track of this important position.
  • Square loops, eights and all the family-8 combinations of lines, angles and loops combine segments of CGT & ZLA flight. The looping elements should be true arcs, the interconnecting horizontal lines CGT whilst vertical and 45° lines are judged on attitude and are NOT wind corrected. Square loop corners and the halves of 'S's and '8's require particular attention to check their similarity in size. Geometric accuracy is not a function of aeroplane speed or the pilots inverted flying ability.

Be careful not to allow variations in the rate of pitch angle change or the speed of the aeroplane to confuse you about the actual shape of the figure in the sky. In all looping segments the direction the aeroplane is pointing should be ignored, only the true flight path matters.

Arc radii should be of 'reasonable' size with regard to the figure being flown, and harsh or jerky looping changes of direction should be downgraded by the usual 1 point/5° movement of the ZLA from "true" at the start or end of interconnecting straight lines. If loops are flown too close to you they will be difficult to judge – penalise the pilot in the positioning score.

Half loops with rolls

When a half-loop upwards or downwards has some rolling at the start or end of the looping segment, there must be NO horizontal line between the rolls and the looping arc.

Occasionally a pilot will 'forget' the roll(s) that must be flown or simply insert a short pause to collect his/her thoughts, and the length of the horizontal line that is flown becomes very obvious. These 'inserted' lines must be penalised as shown in this graphic.

You should always memorise the size of looping arcs as they are being flown, and if the required rolling manoeuvre does not immediately precede or follow the arc - i.e. with NO horizontal line at all - then you can compare the length of the line that you see to the radius of the half-loop.

  • Where no line is drawn there is no downgrade to apply.
  • If you see any line at all then at least a one point downgrade must be applied.
  • As the length of this unwanted line increases but remains less than the half-loop radius, two to three points should be deducted.
  • If the length of the line exceeds the half-loop radius you must award a PZ (Perception Zero) for the figure.


Next page: Judging "roundness" and interconnected loops, lines and rolls, and the downgrades to apply.