Slow Rolls

Slow rolls – many of which include hesitations - are sometimes called aileron rolls to distinguish them from flick or snap rolls. In a slow roll the rotation is primarily driven by aileron action, whereas a flick roll combines yaw and pitch inputs to cause 'auto-rotation'. Key points:

  • The start and finish of each element of a roll should be crisp, and each hesitation must be at the correct angle of roll (with the usual 1 point per 5° error deductions).
  • The rhythm and the rate of roll must be consistent throughout and between any hesitation elements.
  • The CGT during and after a horizontal roll should be exactly in line with the CGT before it.

Many variations of slow rolls are used in a great variety of figures, often preceded and followed by lines which must be judged for CGT (where horizontal) or ZLA (where at 45° or in the vertical) and also for comparative length. Height gain or loss during horizontal rolls and barrelling around any angle of line are obvious errors. If the wrong type of roll is seen (a hesitation is missed or added etc.) then the whole figure is wrong, and it must be awarded a (hard) zero mark.

Judging criteria

  • The rate of roll must be constant
  • The roll must be in a constant plane (axial)
  • Must be no change in direction of flight
  • Accurate angle stops between elements
  • Maintain axis in level, 45° or vertical flight

What is not judged

The speed of roll, although in a point roll every element must be at the same rate between hesitations

Practical tips

  • Check heading at the start and end of the roll
  • Check that the aeroplane does not climb or descend
  • Look carefully at the end of the roll to make sure that the aeroplane is not crabbed off axis
  • Look for heading when aeroplane is inverted
  • Don’t be wowed by speed of roll
  • Accuracy is more important than speed
  • Penalise "bounced" stops
  • Look for under or over rotation of the roll