Ground Reference Maneuvers

Another nice day for flying. It was a bit windy today, so we were able to do some ground reference maneuvers. There are two in particular that we did: S-turns and turns around a point.


We found a road perpendicular to the wind, so we headed to it. Turns out, it wasn’t that good of a reference. So, we found a row of planted trees. That worked. We entered the S-turn on a downwind. Once we crossed the road, we started a steep turn, which got less steep until we had our wings level and were crossing the road again. Then, to the other side, we started with a shallow turn at first and ended with a steep turn. This is all so that the ground track of the plane is even on both sides of the S. Otherwise, the wind pushes you all over the place.

Turns around a Point

We found a little shed in the middle of a field and decided to use that as a point. Same as the S-turns, we entered downwind and started with a steep bank again. It got shallower and then steeper when coming around again. Same concept as the S-turns, but this time we stay turning in the same direction. Why do we do it you might ask? Well, we actually got to experience an actual application of this today. On downwind for landing, the Tower asked us to do a 360 to separate landing traffic. Perfect. I turned around a building on the ground and set up on the downwind again.

On the way out to the practice area, I was blinded again with the hood. I did a couple of 180 degree turns, a climb, a descent and some climbing and descending turns while looking at just the instruments. I need to remember to check my attitude indicator more often. Sometimes I felt like I was level and when I looked back at the indicator, I was actually banked to the left. I can practice the proper scan – Attitude, Speed, Attitude, Turn Coordinator, Attitude, Heading, Attitude, Vertical Speed Indicator, Attitude, Speed, and back again.

I also wasn’t descending fast enough in the descent. That was because I hadn’t pulled the throttle back to 1500 rpm. Since I was staring down at the tachometer the whole time, I was more gradual in bringing it back, whereas if I had been looking outside, I would have just pulled it out and kept my focus outside. Next time..

The landing was a bit windy. The base leg didn’t really exist because the wind had pushed us of course. So, the turn was tighter and we ended up a little high. But in the end, we still got it on the ground.

Plane: N272LP (C172)
From: CDW
Duration: 1.4