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Instrument Flying Handbook
Airplane Attitude Instrument Flying
Learning Methods

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Instrument Flying


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Human Factors
Chapter 2. Aerodynamic Factors
Chapter 3. Flight Instruments
Chapter 4. Section I
Airplane Attitude Instrument
Using Analog Instrumentation
Chapter 4. Section II
Airplane Attitude Instrument
Using an Electronic Flight

Chapter 5. Section I
Airplane Basic
Flight Maneuvers
Using Analog Instrumentation
Chapter 5. Section II
Airplane Basic
Flight Maneuvers
Using an Electronic Flight

Chapter 6. Helicopter
Attitude Instrument Flying

Chapter 7. Navigation Systems
Chapter 8. The National
Airspace System

Chapter 9. The Air Traffic
Control System

Chapter 10. IFR Flight
Chapter 11. Emergency

Any flight, regardless of the aircraft used or route flown,
consists of basic maneuvers. In visual flight, aircraft attitude
is controlled by using certain reference points on the aircraft
with relation to the natural horizon. In instrument flight,
the aircraft attitude is controlled by reference In the flight
instruments. Proper interpretation of the flight instruments
provides essentially the same information that outside
references do in visual flight. Once the role of each instrument
in establishing and maintaining a desired aircraft attitude is
learned, a pilot is better equipped to control the aircraft in
emergency situations involving failure of one or more key

Learning Methods

The two basic. methods used for learning attitude instrument
flying are "control and performance" and "primary and
supporting." Both methods utilize the same instruments
and responses for attitude control. They differ in their
reliance on the altitude indicator and interpretation of other

Attitude Instrument Flying Using the Control and
Performance Method

Aircraft performance is achieved by controlling the aircraft
attitude and power. Aircraft attitude is the relationship
of both the aircraft's pitch and roil axes in relation to the
Earth's horizon. An aircraft is flown in instrument flight by
controlling the attitude and power, as necessary, to produce
both controlled and stabilized flight without reference to a
visible horizon. This overall process is known as the control
and performance method of attitude instrument flying.
Starting with basic instrument maneuvers, this process can
be applied through the use of control, performance, and
navigation instruments, resulting in a smooth flight, from
takeoff to landing.

Control Instruments
The control instruments display immediate attitude and power
indications and are calibrated to permit those respective
adjustments in precise increments. In this discussion, the
term "power" is used in place of the more technically correct
term "thrust or drag relationship." Control is determined
by reference to the attitude and power indicators, Power
indicators vary with aircraft and may include manifold
pressure, tachometers, fuel flow, etc. [Figure 4-1]

Performance Instruments
The performance instruments indicate the aircraft's actual
performance. Performance is determined by reference to
the altimeter, airspeed or vertical speed indicator (VSI).
[Figure 4-2]

Navigation Instruments
The navigation instruments indicate the position of the aircraft
in relation to a selected navigation facility or fix. This group
of instruments includes various types of course indicators,
range indicators, glide-slope indicators, and hearing pointers.
[Figure 4-3] Newer aircraft with more technologically
advanced instrumentation provide blended information,
giving the pilot more accurate positional information.

Procedural Steps in Using Control and

1. Establish an attitude and power setting on the
control instruments that results in the desired
performance. Known or computed attitude changes
and approximated power settings helps to reduce the
pilot's workload.

2. Trim (fine tune the control forces) until control
pressures are neutralized. Trimming for hands-off
flight is essential for smooth, precise aircraft control.
It allows a pilot to attend to other flight deck duties.

Control Instruments,
Figure 4-1. Control Instruments.