Airplane "performance" is a term used to describe the ability of an airplane to accomplish certain things which make it useful for specific purposes. The chief elements of performance include takeoff and landing distance, rate and angle of climb, maneuverability, range, speed, and fuel economy.
Each airplane has its own set of flight characteristics and capabilities. The maximum performance flight maneuvers explained here are not necessarily operational in nature, but they are used effectively in pilot training to develop skills and safe habits in preparation for obtaining the best maneuvering performance from any airplane the pilot flies. A full understanding of the principles involved in the performance of these flight maneuvers will enable the pilot to apply them effectively in the operation of most airplanes. A pilot who is familiar with a given airplane's capabilities and limitations acquires a sixth sense about how it will maneuver, how quickly it turns, accelerates, decelerates, climbs, and descends. Regardless of the airspeeds or flight attitudes, the airplane cannot be operated with complete safety and accuracy unless the pilot is well acquainted with its maneuvering performance. In executing these maximum performance flight maneuvers, either during the training period or later in an operational situation, the value of developing the ability to recognize approaching stalls and to fly at critically slow airspeeds will be immediately realized.