Operational Navigation Flight Training Instruction
You cannot plan for every event that may cause you to be in an unsafe situation, nor can we discuss all
alternatives and proper actions. However, from an evaluation of aircraft accident reports, emergencies,
aircraft malfunctions and severe weather experiences, we can make general contingency plans that will be
appropriate in a majority of unplanned situations and emergencies. In all cases, handle emergencies in
accordance with prescribed NATOPS procedures.
This is the first training you will do that puts you close to the ground for an extended period of time. This
environment affects the most likely threats to you and your aircraft and the action you must take to avoid
them. The first step is to climb to a safe altitude. This allows you to assess the situation without having to
concentrate on ground avoidance as you would at 500 ft AGL.
You should have an emergency safe altitude calculated and entered on the jet log for each leg of the low-
level route. Flying at this altitude will ensure safe clearance from all obstructions so that you can devote
your attention to the immediate problem of weather, aircraft malfunction, or navigation error.
Two of the biggest hazards to low-level flight are birds and the ground. A disciplined low-level scan will
help you to avoid both of these hazards. You can give yourself added protection from birds by keeping
your helmet visor down. If you are blinded by a bird strike through your canopy, you must first try to
maneuver away from the ground and slow down. Communications will be extremely difficult if possible at
all, and forward visibility may be nonexistent. It is advisable to fly with a zero trim setting or slightly nose
up for this reason.
If the emergency requires ejection, consider that the best airspeed for ejection is below 250 knots. If
possible, slow the aircraft before ejection to reduce the windblast. Ejection seat trajectory is improved if
you zoom climb to trade airspeed for altitude. Additional altitude increases time for seat/man separation
and parachute deployment. Do not delay ejection if the aircraft is nose down, out of control at low altitude.