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Instrument Flying Handbook
Airplane Basic Flight Maneuvers Using an Electronic Flight Display
Straight-and-Level flight

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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

Example: The airspeed indication is low. The pilot,
believing a nose-high pitch attitude exists, applies
forward pressure without noting that a low power setting
is the cause of the airspeed discrepancy.

Corrective Action: Increase the rate of cross-check of all
the supporting flight! instruments. Airspeed and altitude
should be stabilized before making a control input

3. Acceptance of deviations.

Example: A pilot has an altitude range of ±100 feet
according to the practical test standards for straight-and-
level flight. When the pilot notices that the altitude has
deviated by 60 feet, no correction is made because the
altitude is holding steady and is within the standards.

Corrective Action: The pilot should cross-check the
instruments and, when a deviation is noted, prompt
corrective actions should be taken in order to bring the
aircraft back to the desired altitude. Deviations from
altitude should be expected but not accepted.

4. Overcontrolling-Excessive Pitch Changes.

Example: A pilot notices a deviation in altitude. In an
attempt to quickly return to altitude, the pilot makes a
large pitch change. The large pitch change destabilizes
the attitude compounds the error.

Corrective Action: Small, smooth corrections should
be made in order to recover to the desired altitude
(0.5° to 2° depending on the severity of the deviation).
Instrument flying is comprised of small corrections to
maintain the aircraft attitude. When flying in IMC,
a pilot should avoid making large attitude changes
in order to avoid loss of aircraft control and spatial

5. Failure to Maintain Pitch Corrections.

Pitch changes need to he made promptly and held 101.
validation. Many times pilots will make corrections
and allow the pitch attitude to change due to not
trimming die aircraft. it is imperative that any time a
pitch change is made; the trim is readjusted in order to
eliminate any control pressures that are being held. A
rapid cross-check will aid in avoiding any deviations
tom the desired pitch attitude.

Example: A pilot notices a deviation in altitude. A
change in the pitch attitude is accomplished but no
adjustment to the trim is made. Distractions cause
the pilot to slow the cross-check and an inadvertent
reduction in the pressure to the control column
commences. The pitch attitude then changes, thus
complicating recovery to the desired altitude.
Corrective Action: The pilot should initiate a pitch
change and then immediately trim the aircraft to
relieve any control pressures. A rapid cross-check
should he established in order to validate the desired
performance is being achieved.

6. Fixation During Cross-Check.

Devoting an unequal amount of time to one instrument
either for interpretation or assigning too much
importance to an instrument. Equal amounts of time
should be spent during the cross-check to avoid an
unnoticed deviation in one of the aircraft attitudes.

Example: A pilot makes a correction to the pitch
attitude and then devotes all of the attention to the
altimeter to determine if the pitch correction is
valid. During this time, no attention is paid to the
heading indicator, which shows a turn to the left.
[Figure 5-62]

Corrective Action: The pilot should monitor all
instrumentation during the cross-check. Do not fixate
on one instrument waiting for validation. Continue to
scan all instruments to avoid allowing the aircraft to
begin a deviation in another attitude.


Heading errors usually result from but are not limited to the
following errors:

1. Failure to cross-check the heading indicator, especially
during changes in power or pitch attitude.

2. Misinterpretation of changes in heading, with resulting
corrections in the wrong direction.

3. Failure to note and remember a preselected heading.

4. Failure to observe the rate of heading change and its
relation to bank attitude.

5. Overcontrolling in response to heading changes,
especially during changes in power settings.

6. Anticipating heading changes with premature
application of rudder pressure.

7. Failure to correct small heading deviations. Unless
zero error in heading is the goal, a pilot will tolerate
larger and larger deviations. Correction of a 1° error
takes far less time and concentration than correction
of a 20° error.

S. Correcting with improper bank attitude. If correcting
a 10° heading error with a 20° bank correction, the
aircraft will roll past the desired heading before the
bank is established, requiring another correction in
the opposite direction. Do not multiply existing errors
with errors in corrective technique.