To level off from a climb and maintain an altitude, it is necessary to start the level off before reaching the desired altitude. The amount of lead varies with rate of climb and pilot technique. If the airplane is climbing at 1,000 fpm, it continues to climb at a decreasing rate throughout the transition to level flight. An effective practice is to lead the altitude by 10 percent of the vertical speed shown (500 fpm/ 50-foot lead, 1,000 fpm/100-foot lead).
To level off at cruising airspeed, apply smooth, steady forward-elevator pressure toward level flight attitude for the speed desired. As the attitude indicator shows the pitch change, the vertical speed needle moves slowly toward zero, the altimeter needle moves more slowly, and the airspeed shows acceleration. [Figure 7-29] When the altimeter, attitude indicator, and VSI show level flight, constant changes in pitch and torque control have to be made as the airspeed increases. As the airspeed approaches cruising speed, reduce power to the cruise setting. The amount of lead depends upon the rate of acceleration of the airplane.
To level off at climbing airspeed, lower the nose to the pitch attitude appropriate to that airspeed in level flight. Power is simultaneously reduced to the setting for that airspeed as the pitch attitude is lowered. If power reduction is at a rate proportionate to the pitch change, airspeed will remain constant.