1 of 2

Slow Flight

Slow Flight

Anytime an aircraft is flying near the stalling speed, such as on final approach for a landing, the initial part of a go-around, or maneuvering in slow flight, it is operating in what is considered slow-speed flight.

During slow flight, you will develop the skills to fly the airplane at slow speeds, similar to the speeds during the most critical phases of flight; takeoff, landing, and go-around.

Pay particularly close attention to keeping the airplane “coordinated” or, in other words, keep it flying straight and compensate for the left turning tendencies that are being introduced at slower speeds.  You maintain aircraft coordination using the rudder pedals, your instructor will demonstrate this for you.


The safe altitudes to do this are at least 1,500′ agl dual (with an instructor), and 2,000′ agl solo.

Always perform clearing turns before starting any maneuver.

Maintain a speed of 5 to 10 knots above your stalling speed. Do not set off the stall warning device (either the red light or horn, whatever the airplane is equipped with).  If you hear the horn or see the light, simply release some back pressure on the yoke promptly to reduce the angle of attack and keep the airplane flying.

The New Way To Do Slow Flight

The FAA has new standards effective in 2017 for Slow Flight. It is important that you:

  • Select an altitude that is no lower than 1,500 AGL for a single-engine land-based aircraft.
  • Maintain a speed and angle of attack where you will not get a buffet or activate a stall warning device.
  • Accomplish coordinated flight (straight-and-level, descents, climbs, and turns) with the landing gear and flaps configured per the examiner (most likely in the landing configuration).
  • Maintain specified altitude within +/- 100′, maintain specified heading +/- 10 degrees, maintain specified speed +10 / -0 knots, and aircraft bank +/- 10 degrees.

Check out the video below to see what Slow Flight under the new ACS standards looks like: