CORRECTIONS: Whenever an error in heading is noted, first stop the error
and stabilize, then correct back to proper heading. A correction to return to a
desired heading should be made by establishing an angle of bank using the
integrated scan and maintaining it until approaching the particular heading
desired. As a rule of thumb, the angle of bank used for heading corrections
should not exceed the number of degrees you want to turn. Lead the rollout on
heading by the "one-third rule," (i.e., by the number of degrees equal to one-
third the angle of bank). This lead in rollout will preclude turning beyond the
Continually observing the wingtips has advantages other than being a positive
check for leveling the wings. It also helps divert the pilot's attention from the
airplane's nose, prevents a fixed stare, and automatically expands the radius of
visual scanning. In straight-and-level flight the wingtips can be used for both
estimating the airplane's angle of bank, and to a lesser degree, its pitch attitude.
In balanced flight, any time the wings are banked, even though very slightly, the
airplane will turn. Thus, close attention should be given to the wing position
and attitude indicator to detect small indications of bank, and to the heading
indicator to note any change of direction.
When the wings are approximately level, straight flight could be maintained by
simply exerting the necessary forces on the rudder in the desired direction.
However, the practice of using rudder alone is not a "normal" method of aircraft
control and may make precise control of the airplane difficult.
Straight-and-level flight requires almost no application of control pressure if the
airplane is properly trimmed and the air is smooth. For that reason, the pilot
must not form the habit of moving the controls unnecessarily.
When practicing this fundamental flight maneuver, the pilot should trim the
airplane so it will fly straight and level without assistance. This is called
"hands-off flight." The trim controls, when correctly used, are aids to smooth
and precise flying. Improper trim technique usually results in flying that is
physically tiring, particularly in prolonged straight-and-level flight. By using
the trim tabs to relieve all control pressures, the pilot will find that it is much
easier to hold a given altitude and heading. The airplane should be trimmed by
first applying control pressure to establish the desired attitude, and then
adjusting the trim so that the airplane will maintain that attitude without control
pressure in "hands-off flight."
Your instructor will introduce straight-and-level flight in normal cruise.
Corrections In Straight-And-Level Flight
There are several methods for correcting a deviation from desired altitude/airspeed
when maintaining level flight. These consist of a power correction, or a power and
attitude correction with a continual need for retrimming.
6-10 FLIGHT PROCEDURES