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Word of the Month — Chandelle

By Ian Brown, Editor

March 2021 – Of course, as Canadians you will know that this word is French in origin and it means "candle." It may have originated from the idea that you should turn as tight as the radius of a candle, but in practice it means to execute a 180-degree climbing turn in slow flight.

It obviously has applications for pilots flying through the mountainous valley regions and box canyons of Canada, but it began as a manoeuvre during dog fighting in an attempt to gain the upper hand. The exit to the manoeuvre is performed at close to stall speed.

A chandelle is a required part of the FAA commercial pilot certification in the U.S. The goal of the manoeuvre is to gain the most altitude possible for a given bank angle and power setting.

The Canadian flight test equivalent really has two parts, the steep turn and slow flight. Neither includes an intent to gain altitude, and one wonders whether the chandelle really achieves the goal of best rate of climb.

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