Ground Reference Maneuvers, Landings

Ground lesson 7 must be completed before this flight lesson.

For the student to be introduced to ground reference maneuvers and start landings.

Assignment for this lesson

  • Read and understand FAA Airplane Flying Handbook book Chapter “6. Starting section “Rectangular Course” through the end of the chapter and book Chapter “ 8. Approaches and Landings”, “Chapter 11 Wing Flaps Section” as specified in “Sport Pilot Guide of What to Study”.


  • Set up the weather to be calm with no no turbulance.
    Set the weather to be early in the morning (this provides a shadow on the runway so you can see how high you are of the runway for the low approach maneuver).
  • Set the terrain setting up so you will be able to see the roads (X-Plane go into rendering options and set the roads to many. In FSX the roads setting should be OK but if you can not see it the Scenery setting will have to be increased so you can see the roads.
  • Start the aircraft at Carson City runway 27 and perform a normal takeoff.
  • Turn left, 30 degree bank with a 90 degree heading turn, maintaining 60 knots until you get to a 180 degree heading directly south.
  • Keep climbing to 6000 feet MSL than level out and reduce throttle to maintain 70 knots. Here you maintain 6000 foot altitude, 70 knots airspeed and a 180 degree south heading. Trim to this setting.
  • New: S-Turns – Off to your right is a main road running North South. Turn to your right and go straight over the road starting S-turns with a left hand turn. Here being able to switch back and forth between the views is critical to being able to accomplish ground reference maneuvers with a flight simulator.
  • Tips for views. As we learned earlier about the cockpit views, you want to have your best cockpit view with the press of a button. Typically this is the 3D or virtual view. Additionally: for FSX the aircraft view should be tail, and the outside view should be spot looking from the rear and down. For X-Plane this is the chase view.
  • The secet to learning the ground reference maneuvers is being able to master the views so you can see where you are in relation to the ground reference, and be able to look at the cockpit view to manage your airspeed, altitude, bank angle and throttle.
  • Continue the S-turns over the road alternating left and right hand turns while maintaining 6000 foot altitude, 70 knots airspeed and about a 20 degree bank angle to start. Continue while maintaing altitude within 150 feet, and 10 knots.
  • New: Turns about a point – Find a road intersection and do turns about a point using the road intersection as the point you are turning about.
  • Rectangular course – We will use the airport patterns as the rectangular course in Flight Lesson 8.
  • New: Landings – Set up the airplane to be on a three mile final approach for Carson City runway 27.  lesson. get to the approach speed (usually 60 knots) and put the flaps down to the recommended setting for normal landings. Approach the runway in the glide slope using the throttle as needed to maintain a stabelized approach. When you get to the runway gradually reduce the throttle and round out gradually and land. Switching back and forth between the cockpit and outside views will help you determine your height above the ground. Lower the flaps to the Same as done for the low approach

Ground reference maneuvers:
____ Site selection ____ Wind direction and speed ____ Entry track ____ Altitude
____ Aircraft speed ____ Emergency operations

Turns around a point
____ Site selection ____ Wind direction and speed ____ Entry track ____ Altitude
____ Aircraft speed ____ Emergency operations

____ Student performs first landings

Completion Standards:
This module is complete when the student can maintain flight within 150 feet, 15 degrees, and 10 knots while performing the maneuvers listed in the content of this module.