Sunday, February 22, 2009

Maneuvering By Reference To Ground Objects

Ground track or ground reference maneuvers are performed at a relatively low altitude while applying wind
drift correction as needed to follow a predetermined
track or path over the ground. They are designed to
develop the ability to control the airplane, and to recognize and correct for the effect of wind while dividing
attention among other matters. This requires planning
ahead of the airplane, maintaining orientation in relation
to ground objects, flying appropriate headings to follow
a desired ground track, and being cognizant of other air
traffic in the immediate vicinity.

Ground reference maneuvers should be flown at an altitude of approximately 600 to 1,000 feet AGL. The
actual altitude will depend on the speed and type of airplane to a large extent, and the following factors should
be considered.

  • The speed with relation to the ground should not
    be so apparent that events happen too rapidly.

  • The radius of the turn and the path of the airplane
    over the ground should be easily noted and
    changes planned and effected as circumstances

  • Drift should be easily discernable, but not tax the
    student too much in making corrections.

  • Objects on the ground should appear in their proportion and size.

  • The altitude should be low enough to render any
    gain or loss apparent to the student, but in no case
    lower than 500 feet above the highest obstruction.

During these maneuvers, both the instructor and the
student should be alert for available forced-landing
fields. The area chosen should be away from communities, livestock, or groups of people to prevent possible
annoyance or hazards to others. Due to the altitudes at
which these maneuvers are performed, there is little
time available to search for a suitable field for landing
in the event the need arises.

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