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View Full Version : Can Civilian GA aircraft do the overhead approach / break ?


wickedsprint
09-17-2008, 07:53 AM
This form of pattern seems a lot more efficient, are we allowed to do it? If we ask for it at a towered field will they even allow it..I assume at an untowered you can probably do whatever you want if noone else is present...

DeltaRomeo
09-17-2008, 08:40 AM
This form of pattern seems a lot more efficient, are we allowed to do it? If we ask for it at a towered field will they even allow it..I assume at an untowered you can probably do whatever you want if noone else is present...

Yes.
Yes (most of the time).

Open for debate with a lot of folks, however (one of the never ending debate topics actually). I do it all the time at my home field (52F), but if there are other planes in the pattern I usually don't. Going into an unfamiliar field I do standard arrival.

Trivia: I've been given the overhead option at Waco when the President was less than ten miles away (been there enough that they know my plane). "Welcome back, cleared to land using the overhead break runway 19."

LifeofReiley
09-17-2008, 09:09 AM
I believe the overhead is the only pattern entry we use at T74... :D

gasman
09-17-2008, 09:30 AM
Yes.
Yes (most of the time).

Trivia: I've been given the overhead option at Waco when the President was less than ten miles away (been there enough that they know my plane). "Welcome back, cleared to land using the overhead break runway 19."

DEAR DR.......... Would you walk us (maybe only me:o) through an overhead break?.....................:D

Thanks.

Hwood
09-17-2008, 09:47 AM
Just be careful, you NEVER know who is watching and might have a beef with it. Last week I was given permission for an overhead break by tower, with conflicting traffic landing on a crossing runway. The traffic was going to be clear of the intersection before my landing until he turns off of HIS runway and on to MINE! Tower sends me around...no problem here.....tells me to reenter the pattern.....still no problem, and after landing asks me to call the tower....big problem.

The tower supervisor proceeded to chew my butt and said I was a danger to general aviation. When I asked him to explain, he merely said that if I needed explaining, then perhaps the local FISDO should do it for him. No thanks, you're right, I'm wrong. I'll never do it again, I'm sorry, thanks for the caution, now excuse me while I go puke! :mad:

Brantel
09-17-2008, 09:51 AM
(maybe only me:o)
Thanks.

No me too, never have understood what this is....

RV7Factory
09-17-2008, 10:00 AM
...The tower supervisor proceeded to chew my butt and said I was a danger to general aviation. When I asked him to explain, he merely said that if I needed explaining, then perhaps the local FISDO should do it for him. No thanks, you're right, I'm wrong. I'll never do it again, I'm sorry, thanks for the caution, now excuse me while I go puke! :mad:
This is amazing and just goes to show you how different things can be regionally. Here in Livermore we have a lot of warbird activity (T-6s, P-51s, T-28s, etc.), and it seems like all I ever see them do is the overhead break. In fact the Air Combat USA guys are in town now and I saw them doing multiple breaks just the other day. Tower or the FSDO doesn't seem to have a problem with it here.

Brian130
09-17-2008, 10:18 AM
http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim/Chap5/aim0504.html#5-4-25

Scroll down to 5-4-26.

http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim/Chap5/F0504027.gif

RVbySDI
09-17-2008, 11:57 AM
Brian,
Thanks for the diagram and the link. However, I am still somewhat confused on the overhead break. I would like a little more clarification for my understanding.

The diagram you provided shows the pattern and the link discusses the FAA "regulatory" procedures but both are leaving out a few things that are keeping me confused. What altitude is all of this action taking place? Is this all at pattern altitude? Or, do you come in above the pattern and lose altitude at the break point so that when you make the 180 turn to downwind you are at pattern altitude then? What speeds are you coming in at (I know this must vary by the aircraft capabilities)? Do you just chop the power at some point and come down or do you at some point in the 3-5 NM range decrease power so that the break has you at some partial power setting? What is the benefit in entering the pattern with this maneuver?

Can you, or someone else, give some further descriptions of these and any other details concerning this maneuver?

Noah
09-17-2008, 11:59 AM
I dunno about you, but I found that diagram to be a little confusing. And hey, textbook diagrams are SO last century! To really explain this maneuver, I think we should send Groucho out to do an Overhead Break and then post the video here for us, er, civilians. Yeah, that would be cool. :D

While you're at it, another half hour video of low level acro canyon flying is just what I need to keep me motivated :D:D:D

We love those videos, keep 'em coming!

asav8tor
09-17-2008, 11:59 AM
If an aircraft has a wide speed range the overhead break is a very time efficient way to get the airplane on the ground.

Way more efficient to get a formation on the ground.

You could argue from a safety standpoint you have extra margins of energy and altitude to make a forced landing decision by maintaining higher speed and altitude until the breakpoint. Depending on how you fly the final turn you have the runway made at the breakpoint.

The older military aircraft ejection seats had limited capability. The overhead kept the pilot in the envelope. If you fly with a parachute you would be in a more favorable position/energy/zoom & bail state with the overhead. Kind of a long reach though as it appears no one has ever parachuted out of an RV, ever.

Way cooler.


Way more fun.


The problem is this is not taught in the civ world as it is in the military. Guys who haven't been introduced to it, don't understand it, don't want to learn it can become annoyed and agitated about guys doing it. As a former T-37 IP who had the opportunity to introduce for the first time the overhead to many new wide eyed AF pilot hopefuls, I extend the olive branch on behalf of all of us overhead break flyers and want you to know, all are welcome in the overhead. :)

REF page 58

http://www.vitaf.it/AMVI_Sito/Resource/Manuals/T-6_afman11-248.pdf

pazmanyflyer
09-17-2008, 12:06 PM
This form of pattern seems a lot more efficient, are we allowed to do it? If we ask for it at a towered field will they even allow it..I assume at an untowered you can probably do whatever you want if noone else is present...

Yes you can, with permission from tower of course.

I was at Glendale airport in AZ (towered) watching traffic and I here the TX of a request for the overhead break from a flight of two. "Flight of two cleared for the overhead". It turns out the flight of two were a Luscomb and Cessna 150. Neat to see nonetheless.

David-aviator
09-17-2008, 01:09 PM
Brian,
Thanks for the diagram and the link. However, I am still somewhat confused on the overhead break. I would like a little more clarification for my understanding.

The diagram you provided shows the pattern and the link discusses the FAA "regulatory" procedures but both are leaving out a few things that are keeping me confused. What altitude is all of this action taking place? Is this all at pattern altitude? Or, do you come in above the pattern and lose altitude at the break point so that when you make the 180 turn to downwind you are at pattern altitude then? What speeds are you coming in at (I know this must vary by the aircraft capabilities)? Do you just chop the power at some point and come down or do you at some point in the 3-5 NM range decrease power so that the break has you at some partial power setting? What is the benefit in entering the pattern with this maneuver?

Can you, or someone else, give some further descriptions of these and any other details concerning this maneuver?

The procedure originates with the military and is designed to provide for a high speed approach to an airport with minimum exposure to enemy fire and it also provides for recovering fighters quickly with minimum ado.

The F-86 flight hand book does not specify a speed to the break point but as I recall it was SOP to come in at 200 knots or faster. Everyone flew initial at the same speed so as not to be passing anyone. At the break point, the speed brake was popped and power reduced so as to roll out on the down wind at 160-180, in level flight. This could easily be a 2 G turn depending on the approach speed. From there to the runway it is like a normal traffic pattern except it will be close in. Gear and flaps are extended at appropriate speeds. The turn to final is a constant descending turn to the touch down point.

This is fun in an RV because one can approach the airport at 170+ knots, do a tight break to lose airspeed and make a quick close in turn to final at idle power the whole way. It takes a little practice to get it right and to keep from getting too far from the runway. The maneuver if done right is very close in and of course dependent on what the guy ahead of you is doing. Most pilots are accustomed to a mini cross country in the traffic pattern and that habit has to be broken.

captainron
09-17-2008, 01:39 PM
Just be careful, you NEVER know who is watching and might have a beef with it. Last week I was given permission for an overhead break by tower, with conflicting traffic landing on a crossing runway. The traffic was going to be clear of the intersection before my landing until he turns off of HIS runway and on to MINE! Tower sends me around...no problem here.....tells me to reenter the pattern.....still no problem, and after landing asks me to call the tower....big problem.

The tower supervisor proceeded to chew my butt and said I was a danger to general aviation. When I asked him to explain, he merely said that if I needed explaining, then perhaps the local FISDO should do it for him. No thanks, you're right, I'm wrong. I'll never do it again, I'm sorry, thanks for the caution, now excuse me while I go puke! :mad:

I don't get why you would accept this nonsense from the tower super. If it was as you stated, either he screwed up on his instructions to the other pilot as far as exiting the runway, or the other pilot screwed-up by using your runway as a taxiway. Sounds more like a CYA for the tower and that the supervisor may have been the REAL danger to general aviation! I would have taken him up on the offer to talk to the FSDO. Tell the tower to keep the tapes available!

pvalovich
09-17-2008, 01:57 PM
One point not mentioned so far is the point over the runway where the break is initiated. The goal is to establish interval on any aircraft ahead of you in the pattern. ****, around the boat during touch and go's - or to take interval on a bolter - the break turn could be initiated miles ahead of the ship - but I digress.

If interval is not an issue, initiate the break turn so you arrive at the 180 position stable - and comfortable. Normally, a break turn will be initiated over the numbers - but that's not written in stone.

Speed into the break is also a variable. Hot dogs around the boat would break at warp 9 and struggle to reach gear speed in time to roll into the grove! For us, it's a speed where you feel comfortable - and can arrive at the 180 in stable flight.

rv8ch
09-17-2008, 02:31 PM
REF page 58

http://www.vitaf.it/AMVI_Sito/Resource/Manuals/T-6_afman11-248.pdfCool doc - I cut this picture from it:

http://img440.imageshack.us/img440/6961/overheadbreakcf4.png (http://img440.imageshack.us/my.php?image=overheadbreakcf4.png)

Low Pass
09-17-2008, 04:37 PM
I don't get why you would accept this nonsense from the tower super. If it was as you stated, either he screwed up on his instructions to the other pilot as far as exiting the runway, or the other pilot screwed-up by using your runway as a taxiway. Sounds more like a CYA for the tower and that the supervisor may have been the REAL danger to general aviation! I would have taken him up on the offer to talk to the FSDO. Tell the tower to keep the tapes available!
"Tower, mark the tapes and please give me *your* name, sir..."

captainron
09-17-2008, 04:53 PM
"Tower, mark the tapes and please give me *your* name, sir..."

Or, "Controller's operating initials, and time check, please".

mandm1516
09-17-2008, 05:05 PM
Cool doc - I cut this picture from it:

http://img440.imageshack.us/img440/6961/overheadbreakcf4.png (http://img440.imageshack.us/my.php?image=overheadbreakcf4.png)

Whoa: T-6 cooking in at 2,000 KIAS and 1,000 AGL. Cool drawing.

AZtailwind
09-17-2008, 05:14 PM
FWIW my personal goals at the home airport is to use the overhead break for engine out safety and practice(pluss it's a blast) My home pattern Alt is 8,000 feet at KFLG so things are a little different...
-160KTs at the 3 mile initial.
-1 mile initial- check traffic in sight or request with tower for change in plans
-reduce throttle to half just before break (depending on traffic)
-count 2 seconds past numbers or more with more wind
- one last look for traffic, call tower "break"
-look for 2.5G and bank for speed bleed for first 90 of the turn
-2nd 90 is roll out to 30 deg bank looking for 120KTS speed and throttle now almost idle
-very short extend to the perch, 3 seconds max, looking for 100kts, 7,800ft
- last 180 deg turn to the numbers, throttle idle
The sequence practice will be very different, a longer initial and "perch" with a fixed pitch prop and at sea level. That CS prop acts a break when at idle.
As in aerobatics, this maneuver should be presented by an instructor. I'm lucky where ya can't swing a dead cat without hitting an X A6-intruder jock up here.:p My goal is the last 90 turn at idle and no added power adjustments and touchdown where I planned to be.
Sometimes it actually all works out:D

jferraro17
09-17-2008, 06:49 PM
Or, "Controller's operating initials, and time check, please".


Sounded like a runway incursion by the other pilot...or a conflicting clearance for you. I wouldn't let them bully you if you had the clearance.

Joe

jferraro17
09-17-2008, 07:03 PM
Back in my T-37 IP days, I had a 3-d model of the overhead on my desk to try to get the students to learn it from a situational awareness/spacially aware point of view. Looked like one of the kids toys with the wire bending all different ways, with wooden beads sliding on them. That pasted drawing is a great facsimile.

I believe the overhead to be safer from the energy/emergency standpoint. The AF version of the training pattern had an "outside downwind" square pattern and an overhead pattern within the box. The square patter served as overflow to get guys around and lined back up for initial. Also, I recall times with 6, 7, 8 jets in the pattern simultaneously. It can definitely get more into the pattern than a single box pattern.

Speeds vary by aircraft, but we would do 200KIAS up initial, pull to idle at the break, level 2-3 g turn would bleed the speed to gear extension speed--more g's to adjust for high speed or tighten the downwind leg, less to widen (for winds, you always wanted the second 180 turn to be the same, so you adjusted the width of you downwind for an overshooting/undershooting wind in the final turn). Arrive abeam the numbers on downwind with gear down, flaps working down, and pitch over, reduce power and roll.

Shoot to lose 1/3 of altitude in 1st half of turn, 1/3 in second half, which leaves 1/3 for the short final segment. (300', 300', 300' for a 1000' pattern; etc.)

My RV is still a pile of parts in my garage, so I can't give you speeds/flap techniques, but I hope this makes sense.


Joe

wickedsprint
09-17-2008, 08:56 PM
I have some T-34C time from NAS Pensacola and we'd come into the break basically as fast as a T34C could go...around 200 indicated..and the good instructors would wrap it up to 4.5gs and roll out perfectly on heading for downwind. That got me hooked on Gs. Too bad being only in backseater training gave me a sour taste for letting other pilots yank and bank me around...didn't have the stomach for it. But an RV-8 according to Vans numbers is pretty close to a T-34C turboprop but is rated for more Gs..yeehaw.

RV6_flyer
09-17-2008, 10:12 PM
My RV is still a pile of parts in my garage, so I can't give you speeds/flap techniques, but I hope this makes sense.


Joe

The RVs start at 120-130 KIAS on a 3 mile initial in echelon at TPA or as directed. (older AIM said TPA + 500') At the break point, roll briskly to 60 degrees and 2 Gs starting a 180 degree turn with power reduction as needed so as to arrive parallel to the runway inside the normal downwind and at 100 mph IAS. (yes I went from KIAS to MPH IAS and top of the white arc) Drop flaps to 1/2 (or more) to help stabilize speed and altitude on the tight downwind leg. MAINTAIN Traffic Pattern ALTITUDE. Typically RVs use 2 seconds between aircraft. Lead starts a 180 turn to the runway at the "perch". The perch is where others would turn base and if at an untowered airport, lead will call turning base. At the perch, bank smartly, reduce power, start your decent, and reduce speed to 90 mph IAS. 1/2 way through the turn, lead will call turning final at an untowered airport continue his decent, and reduce airspeed so as to be at 80 mph IAS on final. (The 180 turn from downwind to final reduces airspeed from 100 mph, to 90 half way through to 80 mph IAS wings level on final.) Lead touches down and the rest of the flight is aproxmately 700-800 feet spacing behind lead all flying the same speed in the patern, maintaining altitude on downwind. Each wingman will lead and lag in the base turn to maintain or develop the corect spacing. (lead in the turn means turn early, lag in the the turn means turn late)

DO NOT TRY THIS without training.

Attend one of the "Formation Clnics" around the country to learn this. There are a couple each year. Find your local RV Formation flyers that have had training and have waiver cards for airshows to show you.

mgomez
09-18-2008, 06:33 AM
I got my private license in Argentina, in a Cub. The overhead 360 deg approach was taught to all student pilots, because it was part of the private pilot practical test standards.

It was taught as a great way to do an emergency landing if you lost the engine and the only suitable field was directly underneath you. Engine failures were treated much more seriously in Argentina than they were in the US (I took lessons in the US, too, up to my 1st solo.)

It is a lot of fun to do, and I practice them regularly when the pattern is empty. The tower at my home field (KHEF) doesn't seem to have any issues with it.

And yes, it felt a bit silly to do a maneuver that I associate with fighters in a 60 kt airplane!

Regards,
Martin

LovelyLibertyRV8a
09-18-2008, 01:14 PM
I did my first overhead a couple of weeks ago in a rocket. Wow was that fun!!!!!

Hwood
09-18-2008, 01:34 PM
Or, "Controller's operating initials, and time check, please".

Well, I see it sort of as blackmail, or being held hostage. It seems as soon as the FAA gets involved, they yank the certificate and only then do they start to sort it out. For me, there is a technical term for it, called unemployment. I know it, the tower knows it and that makes for an unbalanced playing field.:mad:

It was clearly a runway incursion on behalf of the beechjet, but I'm not about to sit at home without a license and argue my case. At least now I know where I stand with the tower.

n5lp
09-18-2008, 02:06 PM
Or, "Controller's operating initials, and time check, please".This is a good thing for everyone to remember. It can cause a lot of sudden humility.

It doesn't always work out though. The one time I used it (I worked for FAA at the time). When I wrote my follow-up letter citing the operating initials I got a phone call reply that the tapes had been mistakenly "erased."

frankh
09-18-2008, 05:02 PM
I was flying an instrument departure in actual IMC a few months back...broke into a small hole and found a heavy lift helicopter filling the canopy...He'd apparently turned his mode c off and flew up through a very small hole in the OVC.

Needless to say yours truely had a "BIT" of a problem with such a near death experience!...and lo and behold no record of my DISTINCTIVE British accent or call sign on the tape.

Wonder how that could be?

airguy
09-18-2008, 05:06 PM
This is a good thing for everyone to remember. It can cause a lot of sudden humility.

It doesn't always work out though. The one time I used it (I worked for FAA at the time). When I wrote my follow-up letter citing the operating initials I got a phone call reply that the tapes had been mistakenly "erased."

In which case, no violation occurred, so we're all good again.

the_other_dougreeves
09-18-2008, 06:40 PM
Needless to say yours truely had a "BIT" of a problem with such a near death experience!...and lo and behold no record of my DISTINCTIVE British accent or call sign on the tape.

Wonder how that could be?
"What are you saying, Mulder?"

TODR

JAT
09-19-2008, 04:51 AM
Can shock cooling be a problem when you come down initial at 200 mph and then pull the throttle back to idle in the break?

Jim

Low Pass
09-19-2008, 07:59 AM
Can shock cooling be a problem when you come down initial at 200 mph and then pull the throttle back to idle in the break?

JimWell, one of the features of the maneuver is to reduce airspeed quickly. The classic shock cooling issue occurs when decending for long periods of time at low power setting. But I still don't understand how air induced "shock cooling" differs from flying into rain. But that's another debate.

There may be some engines (turbo supercharged, etc, etc.) that may not like it, but I know of no "typical" RV engines that have a problem with it.

On the other hand, reverse loading an angine may be an issue with some engines. I have a chronically leaky crank seal and believe the reverse loading causes it to leak more when I do an overhead approach.

Geico266
09-19-2008, 08:15 AM
Can shock cooling be a problem when you come down initial at 200 mph and then pull the throttle back to idle in the break?

Jim

Shock cooling is one of those "bugaboos" that pilots worry about needlessly. We have a 172 that drops parachutes at our field 2-5 days a week. This poor Cessna has not been 10 miles away from our field in 15 years. Climb outs for 20 mins., then chop and drop for the next load. Up to 10,000' and chop and drop all day long. This is done with several different pilots using difference techniques. Twice this summer they ran out of fuel! No problems.

While it is good sound practice to slowly descend, and slowly let your engine cool, it is not a death sentence to you or the engine to chop and drop.

JMHO and observations, opinions obviously will very.

captainron
09-19-2008, 09:10 AM
Could it be that the airspeed is so low at the jump that yanking the throttle doesn't have the same effect that yanking it at 200 kts. would have?

JoeBlank
09-19-2008, 06:10 PM
simply by keeping the MAP up around 18-20" & 2300 RPM for the entire descent. After flying C-182 & C-206 for a local DZ for a number of years, that was the standard practice and we never had much of a problem with any ill affects. After allowing the CHT's to normalize on jump run by throttling back, leveling off, closing cowl flaps; once the jumpers leave, close the door, roll into a 45-60* bank, ~1.5G, and maintain VNO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_speeds) or a bit higher if the air was smooth. Keep the MAP around 18-20" for the entire descent.

RV's also come Smokin' downhill using the same profile.

And yes, jump aircraft never seem to stray very far from home... ;-)

RV6_flyer
09-19-2008, 06:32 PM
I fly a lot of formation. Was part of the 20-ship this year at AirVenture 2008 and part of the 35-ship at AirVenture 2007. As Joe says, not a problem.

After 11-years and 2,159.9 hobbs hours, I pulled my Superior 1st generation Millennium Investment Cast narrow deck cylinders (S/N: 8, 9, 10, 11). I fly an RV-6 O-320 with a Hartzell prop.

Photos of the cylinders can be found at:
http://picasaweb.google.com/RV6Condor/Cylinder1#
http://picasaweb.google.com/RV6Condor/Cylinder2#
http://picasaweb.google.com/RV6Condor/Cylinder3#
http://picasaweb.google.com/RV6Condor/Cylinder4#
http://picasaweb.google.com/RV6Condor/Pistons#

Cylinders are at the shop being rebuilt with all new parts. Report from the shop this week was that the Bore is Stock and still has the chock in it. Valve guides were measured before sending out IAW SB388C with Cylinder 3 and 4 OOS. (Worn beyond max limit.)

There is somewhere between 400 and 1,000 hours of formation time. I have not been logging anything less than 4-ship formations.

The fixed pitch will go to idle power. Most of us with Constant Speed props make a power reduction after the 60 degree bank.

I do descents similar to what Joe describes above but use 22" map in a decent with 2,100 RPM. The 320 does not have the RPM restrictions that exist on some props with the 360.

Rocket
09-27-2008, 06:37 AM
being on deployment i haven't flown in months... and i've never done an overhead break myself, but i LOVE watching the F-18's and F-16's do it all day long!! :cool:

boy i wish i was up there!!:(

groucho
11-09-2008, 02:40 PM
... To really explain this maneuver, I think we should send Groucho out to do an Overhead Break and then post the video here for us, er, civilians. Yeah, that would be cool. :D

While you're at it, another half hour video of low level acro canyon flying is just what I need to keep me motivated :D:D:D

We love those videos, keep 'em coming!Sorry I'm late to this thread, but...

I'd love to. I'll video an overhead soon & get it out there - great idea. I'm actually editing some video today, but I didn't land via an overhead on that flight. I'll talk through my technique when I shoot the video. Of course, I'm not a CFI, so it'll be "for entertainment only." :D

bigbill25
11-09-2008, 03:04 PM
You can watch a P-51 do it. Go to about 5:00 in the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaVGIISlPsI

--Bill

TSwezey
11-09-2008, 04:22 PM
It is fun watch the F-15's, F-16's, F-18's and every once in a while some Tornados do the overhead break. If they know the others are there they try to out pull each other in the turns.