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Certified Flight Instructor Resources by Derek W Beck




The most fundamental maneuver whereby the airplane maintains a constant heading and altitude.


To develop the fundamental techniques required for basic flight.


·         Clear the area

·         Choose forced landing area (always be aware of options)

·         Configure aircraft for cruise (C172RG: 23” Hg, 2300 RPM)

·         Select outside references (point on the horizon corresponding to heading)

·         Periodically insure the nose is fixed below the horizon

·         Periodically insure the wingtips are equally above or below the horizon (level)

·         Compensate for cross wind to maintain heading

·         Trim as necessary to maintain altitude

·         Maintain ball centered

·         Look for traffic

Common Errors

·         Attempting to use improper reference points on the airplane to establish attitude

·         Forgetting the location of preselected reference points on subsequent flights

·         Attempting to establish or correct airplane attitude using flight instruments rather than outside visual reference

·         Attempting to maintain direction using only rudder control

·         Habitually flying with one wing low.

·         “Chasing” the flight instruments rather than adhering to the principles of attitude flying

·         Too tight a grip on the flight controls resulting in over-control and lack of feel

·         Pushing or pulling on the flight controls rather than exerting pressure against the airstream

·         Improper scanning and/or devoting insufficient time to outside visual reference (head in the cockpit)

·         Fixation on the nose (pitch attitude) reference point

·         Unnecessary or inappropriate control inputs

·         Failure to make timely and measured control inputs when deviations from straight-and-level flight are detected

·         Inadequate attention to sensory inputs in developing feel for the airplane


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

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