Flight 6 - Ground Reference Maneuvers


The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the student to the elements associated with ground reference maneuvers and practice review maneuvers with guidance from the instructor.


Aerial Survey Flight

You are employed by an aerial survey company that uses on-board sensors to map property boundaries. This requires the pilot to fly the aircraft accurately over prominent landmarks at a precise altitude while correcting for winds. Some survey tasks require you to orbit over a specific landmark and maintain a constant radius from the landmark. There may be other survey aircraft working the same area, so it is important to be heads-up and prepared to take evasive action if necessary. A tough job—but the pay is good. Note: a commercial pilot certificate is typically required for this position; however, the pilot skills needed to do this job are the same flight skills a private pilot will need in traffic pattern operations.

Your job today is to survey a road intersection at 38°49'27.6"N 121°27'04.9"W and the borders of the section that surround that ground reference. Because of the equipment on board the aircraft, your fuel is somewhat limited, so plan to gas-up at an airport near the survey site between missions. 

  • Study these Jeppesen Private Pilot Maneuvers
    • Chapter 6 - Ground Reference Maneuvers
      • Maneuver 25 - Rectangular Course
      • Maneuver 26 - S-Turns
      • Maneuver 27 - Turns around a Point
      • Exercises - Ground Reference Maneuvers
  • Prepare for flight to the landmark specified in the scenario
    • Use your plotter to determine the true course and distance in nautical miles from Cameron Park airport to 38°49'27.6"N 121°27'04.9"W.
    • Convert the true course to a magnetic course by applying the magnetic deviation depicted on the sectional chart for this are
  • Obtain a weather briefing and be prepared to present it during the Preflight Discussion
  • Calculate weight and balance and takeoff and landing performance
Learning Objectives
Preflight Discussion
Desired Outcome Task/Knowledge
Practice Discuss lesson objective and completion standards
Describe Rectangular course
Describe Turns around a point
Describe S Turns across a road
Practice Preflight Risk Assessment
Desired Outcome Task/Knowledge
Practice Rectangular course
Practice Turns around a point
Practice S Turns across a road
Desired Outcome Task/Knowledge
Perform Normal/Crosswind Takeoff and Climb
Practice Steep turns
Practice Stall recognition and recovery procedures: from straight flight and from turns (full or imminent)
Perform Airport traffic pattern entry and departure procedures
Practice Forward Slip to a landing
Practice Side Slip to a Landing
Practice Normal/Crosswind Approach and Landing
Practice Go arounds/Rejected landings
Postflight Briefing
Desired Outcome Task/Knowledge
Perform Critique performance
Completion Standards
The lesson is complete when the pilot-in-training can:
  • meet the desired outcomes listed in the learning objectives table.
  • conduct normal checklist procedures without input from the instructor.
  • conduct the review maneuvers with little input from the instructor.
  • maintain directional control at all times during the takeoffs and landings.
  • conduct a stabilized approach with instructor guidance.
  • recognize and adjust for the effects of wind drift on the aircraft’s flight path.
  • identify appropriate areas to conduct maneuvers at low altitudes.
  • maintain altitude ±200 feet, roll out heading ±20 degrees, bank angle ±10 degrees and airspeed ±10 knots on all flight maneuvers.