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Feature Article: Introduction to Ground Reference

During the time that I am practicing flap descents and go arounds I try to make at least one descent over a gently curved channel or road that heads back home. I try to select one that will not require steep turns. Flying into the wind reduces the ground speed and required bank. For the last 'go around' I assign a recovery altitude of 700 or 800'. I direct the student to follow the road. He soon finds that the nose of the aircraft is an obstacle. He must sight ahead and alongside the path desired to select points of reference. He must anticipate the wind's effect in turns and straight-a-ways. He must keep his eyes outside the aircraft with only occasional referral to the altimeter. This is just a brief introduction but will focus the student's attention when doing the assigned reading about ground reference. Point out errors of tracking and altitude but not critically. Help the student locate rectangles for later use, and possible reference points as to compliance to the FARs regarding distance from persons or habitation.

To most efficiently use the flight time to this ground reference lesson I will climb to altitude enroute. I do this so that we can practice power-off emergencies or descending spirals when we arrive at the ground reference area. Partial power should be applied during extended descents to prevent over-cooling. You could end up with an actual failure. During these descents help the student select ground reference patterns to be used. Once at a practice altitude the ground reference maneuvers are judged by smoothness, symmetry, and constant altitude.


Last Modified March 31, ©2023 TAGE.COM

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