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RECTANGULAR COURSE

RECTANGULAR COURSE

Description

A training maneuver in which the ground track of the airplane is equidistant from all sides of a selected rectangular area on the ground.

Objective

To teach the conditions encountered in an airport traffic pattern.

Elements

         Clear the area

         Choose forced landing area (ideally within rectangular pattern)

         Configure aircraft for maneuvering: flaps and gear up, traffic pattern power and speed (C172RG: 18 Hg, 2500 RPM, 90 KIAS), approx. traffic pattern altitude of 600 1000 AGL

         Select outside references (ideally a large rectangular field or parking lot), deciding on either a left or right turns course

         Enter the pattern on the downwind, usually at 45 to the direction of the downwind, maintaining airspeed and ball centered

o        It can be entered on any leg of the course, but ideally enter on downwind

         At the first corner, turn to base leg, which is more than 90 due to a necessary crab angle on the base leg; the bank will be steeper than normal due to the tailwind at start of the turn

         Crab as necessary to maintain a straight base leg

         At the second corner, turn to upwind leg, which is less than 90 due to the crab or wind correction on base; the bank will be shallower than normal due to headwind at end of turn

         Fly the upwind, which should require no wind correction

         At the third corner, turn to crosswind leg, which is less than 90 due to a necessary crab angle on the crosswind leg; the bank will be shallower than normal due to the headwind at start of the turn

         Crab as necessary to maintain a straight crosswind leg

         At the fourth corner, turn to downwind leg, which is more than 90 due to the crab or wind correction on crosswind; the bank will be steeper than normal due to tailwind at end of turn

         Complete additional circuits or exit from downwind by turning 45 from the downwind leg

         Maintain ball centered

         Look for traffic

Common Errors

         Failure to adequately clear the area

         Failure to establish proper altitude prior to entry (typically entering the maneuver while

         descending)

         Failure to establish appropriate wind correction angle resulting in drift

         Gaining or losing altitude

         Poor coordination (typically skidding in turns from a downwind heading and slipping in turns

         from an upwind heading)

         Abrupt control usage

         Inability to adequately divide attention between airplane control and maintaining ground track

         Improper timing in beginning and recovering from turns

         Inadequate visual lookout for other aircraft

References

FAA-H-8083-3A Airplane Flying Handbook p. 6-4


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