While the Cuban Eight is designated a downwind maneuver, it can be performed in either direction.
Begin by flying past yourself in straight and level flight in your well-practiced flight corridor that we began to learn in Lesson 2. At the proper point beyond the center point opposite yourself, which you will have to learn by practice, pull up into an inside loop.
As usual, ajust the wings to correct for the "heavy wing effect". As you come over the top of the loop, throttle down, and when you reach a 45-degree incline with the ground, release your controls and glide for a moment in this angle. Strive for a true 45 degrees, using a helper to coach you. If you have made your loop sufficiently large, you should have enough altitude that you can proceed through this downward flight without excessive fear of the ground appearing too soon.
Half roll to upright, and continue down to yhour original entry altitude. Pull out of the 45 degree dive while returning to full throttle, and smoothly pull right up into another inside loop, identical in size to your first inside loop. Then proceed to do everything the same as the first half of the maneuver.
If your timing is right, the second half-roll to upright will occur at the same point in the sky as the first half roll, so that they "cross each other". Resume full throttle and pull into a level exit.
In stronger winds, the half loop being performed downwind may need full throttle to come over the top without the loop drifting into an elongated shape. Practicing under differing wind speeds will help you learn proper use of your throttle in this regard.
Reverse Cuban 8
This maneuver is a giant figure 8 laying on its side. Cuban Eights go back to the earliest days of aviation. The reverse Cuban eight differs from the "straight" Cuban Eight in the placement of the half rolls.
In the straight Cuban eight, you do three-fourths of a loop, then while inverted, the plane is frozen into a 45 degree descent toward the ground. In the middle of that descent, a half roll is performed to upright flight, pulling out into another three-fourths loop. disorientation or even hesitation anywhere in that inverted downward path can mean disaster, because you are aimed at the ground, flying upside down.
The reverse Cuban eight is a much safer maneuver. The plane is pulled upward into a 45 degree climb. The plane is half rolled inverted just as you learned in your split S. The wings are settled into a level position as you continue climbing. If you hesitate there is no danger. You then perform a three-fourths inside loop, ending it in another 45 degree upward climb, out of harm's way, where the process is repeated. As with the loops you will get the "heavy wing effect" coming through the three-fourths loop, and must watch for it and correct for it as discussed in lesson No. 3.
If you haven't done so already, you can also now work on cleaning up your split S turns by correcting for the heavy wing effect as you perform its downward loop. The important part of any Cuban eight is to achieve a true 45 degree angle. That is steeper than you realize, and really feels too steep in the regular Cuban Eight, which is why that maneuver is left for later. Have a friend help you measure whether you are achieving true 45 degree angle. The disadvantage to too shallow a climb is that you will then have to make too tight a loop in order to come back to your entry altitude.
Another fine point of this maneuver is to try and center your half rolls in the 45 degree climb. That means you must continue climbing, after half-rolling, the same distance as you climbed before rolling. If you do a good job of centering the rolls in the upward climb, both rolls will end up centering on each other as well, which should be directly opposite you. Thus you must do your initial pull up before reaching your position. In achieving a smooth exit, follow the same rule as exiting from your inside loop release up elevator just before the bottom, rather than at the bottom.