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Basic Instrument Flight Patterns (Part One)

in Airplane Basic Flight Maneuvers - Analog Instrumentation

Flight patterns are basic maneuvers, flown by sole reference to the instruments rather than outside visual clues, for the purpose of practicing basic attitude flying. The patterns simulate maneuvers encountered on instrument flights, such as holding patterns, procedure turns, and approaches. After attaining a reasonable degree of proficiency in basic maneuvers, apply these skills to the various combinations of individual maneuvers. The following practice flight patterns are directly applicable to operational instrument flying.

Racetrack Pattern

  1. Time 3 minutes straight-and-level flight from A to B. [Figure 7-41] During this interval, reduce airspeed to the holding speed appropriate for the aircraft.
  2. Start a 180° standard rate turn to the right at B. Rollout at C on the reciprocal of the heading originally used at A.
  3. Time a 1 minute straight-and-level flight from C to D.
  4. Start a 180° standard rate turn to the right at D, rollingout on the original heading.
  5. Fly 1 minute on the original heading, adjusting the outbound leg so that the inbound segment is 1 minute.
Figure 7-41. Racetrack pattern (entire pattern in level flight).

Figure 7-41. Racetrack pattern (entire pattern in level flight).

NOTE: This pattern is an exercise combining use of the clock with basic maneuvers.

Procedure Turn

A procedure turn is a maneuver that facilitates:

  • A reversal in flight direction.
  • A descent from an initial approach fix or assigned altitude to a permissible altitude (usually the procedure turn altitude).
  • An interception of the inbound course at a sufficient distance allowing the aircraft to become aligned with the final approach.

Procedure turn types include the 45° turn, the 80/260 turn, and the teardrop turn. All of these turns are normally conducted no more than 10 nautical miles (NM) from the primary airport. The procedure turn altitude generally provides a minimum of 1,000′ obstacle clearance in the procedure turn area (not necessarily within the 10 NM arc around the primary airport). Turns may have to be increased or decreased but should not exceed 30° of a bank angle.

Standard 45° Procedure Turn

  1. Start timing at point A (usually identified on approach procedures by a fix). For example, fly outbound on a heading of 360° for a given time (2 minutes, in this example). [Figure 7-42]
  2. After flying outbound for 2 minutes (point B), turn left 45° to a heading of 315° using a standard rate turn. After roll-out and stabilizing, fly this new heading of 315° for 40 seconds and the aircraft will be at the approximate position of C.
  3. At point C, turn 225° right (using a standard rate turn) which will provide a heading of 180°. The timing is such that in a no wind environment, the pilot will be aligned with the final approach course of 180° at D. Wind conditions, however must be considered during the execution of the procedure turn. Compensating for wind may result in changes to outbound time, procedure turn heading and/or time and minor changes in the inbound turn.
Figure 7-42. Standard procedure turn (entire pattern in level flight).

Figure 7-42. Standard procedure turn (entire pattern in level flight).


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