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Airplane Flying Handbook
Ground Reference Maneuvers
Drift and Ground Track Control

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Airplane Flying Handbook


Table of Contents

Chapter 1,Introduction to Flight Training
Chapter 2,Ground Operations
Chapter 3,Basic Flight Maneuvers
Chapter 4, Slow Flight, Stalls, and Spins
Chapter 5, Takeoff and Departure Climbs
Chapter 6, Ground Reference Maneuvers
Chapter 7, Airport Traffic Patterns
Chapter 8, Approaches and Landings
Chapter 9, Performance Maneuvers
Chapter 10, Night Operations
Chapter 11,Transition to Complex Airplanes
Chapter 12, Transition to Multiengine Airplanes
Chapter 13,Transition to Tailwheel Airplanes
Chapter 14, Transition to Turbo-propeller Powered Airplanes
Chapter 15,Transition to Jet Powered Airplanes
Chapter 16,Emergency Procedures



Effect of wind during a turn.
Figure 6-2. Effect of wind during a turn.

To follow a desired circular ground track, the wind correction
angle must be varied in a timely manner
because of the varying groundspeed as the turn progresses.
The faster the groundspeed, the faster the wind
correction angle must be established; the slower the
groundspeed, the slower the wind correction angle may
be established. It can be seen then that the steepest
bank and fastest rate of turn should be made on the
downwind portion of the turn and the shallowest bank
and slowest rate of turn on the upwind portion.

The principles and techniques of varying the angle of
bank to change the rate of turn and wind correction
angle for controlling wind drift during a turn are the
same for all ground track maneuvers involving
changes in direction of flight.

When there is no wind, it should be simple to fly along
a ground track with an arc of exactly 180° and a constant
radius because the flightpath and ground track
would be identical. This can be demonstrated by
approaching a road at a 90° angle and, when directly
over the road, rolling into a medium-banked turn, then
maintaining the same angle of bank throughout the
180° of turn. [Figure 6-2]

To complete the turn, the rollout should be started at a
point where the wings will become level as the airplane
again reaches the road at a 90° angle and will be
directly over the road just as the turn is completed. This
would be possible only if there were absolutely no
wind and if the angle of bank and the rate of turn
remained constant throughout the entire maneuver.

If the turn were made with a constant angle of bank
and a wind blowing directly across the road, it would
result in a constant radius turn through the air.
However, the wind effects would cause the ground
track to be distorted from a constant radius turn or
semicircular path. The greater the wind velocity, the
greater would be the difference between the desired
ground track and the flightpath. To counteract this
drift, the flightpath can be controlled by the pilot in
such a manner as to neutralize the effect of the wind,
and cause the ground track to be a constant radius

The effects of wind during turns can be demonstrated
after selecting a road, railroad, or other ground reference
that forms a straight line parallel to the wind. Fly
into the wind directly over and along the line and then
make a turn with a constant medium angle of bank for
360° of turn. [Figure 6-3] The airplane will return to a
point directly over the line but slightly downwind from
the starting point, the amount depending on the wind
velocity and the time required to complete the turn.
The path over the ground will be an elongated circle,
although in reference to the air it is a perfect circle.
Straight flight during the upwind segment after completion
of the turn is necessary to bring the airplane
back to the starting position.

Effect of wind during turns.
Figure 6-3. Effect of wind during turns.