STRAIGHT AND LEVEL FLIGHT
Description. Maintain a constant altitude, airspeed and heading using the horizon as the
General. Straight and level flight is a balanced flight condition while maintaining a
constant heading and altitude. It is flown at a constant airspeed, most commonly at normal
cruise. Keeping the aircraft in straight and level flight will be a matter of maintaining a good
scan, quick interpretation of errors, and constant control adjustments.
A scan pattern is a systematic and thorough procedure for both controlling your own aircraft and
seeing and avoiding other aircraft. Your scan pattern will involve dividing your attention
between the outside environment and the cockpit instruments. Though experienced pilots may
utilize scan patterns that vary immensely, you should learn and practice the integrated scan
pattern discussed in paragraph 406. With experience, you may vary this scan to fit your needs
The pitch attitude for level flight (constant altitude) is usually obtained by selecting some portion
of the airplane's nose as a reference point, then keeping that point in a fixed position relative to
the horizon. In the T-34C, the horizon should intercept the canopy approximately one-half the
way up the windscreen for normal cruise. That position should be cross-checked against the
altimeter to determine whether or not the pitch attitude is correct. If altitude is being gained or
lost, the pitch attitude should be readjusted in relation to the horizon and then the altimeter
rechecked to determine if altitude is being maintained. The application of forward or back
pressure on the stick is used to control this attitude (Figure 61).
Pitch information obtained from the attitude indicator also will show the position of the nose
relative to the horizon and will indicate whether or not elevator pressure is necessary to change
the pitch attitude to return to level flight.
To achieve straight flight (constant heading)
VISUAL: The pilot selects two or more outside visual reference points directly
ahead of the airplane (such as fields, towns, lakes, or distant clouds, to form
points along an imaginary line) and keeps the airplane's nose headed along that
line. Roads and section lines on the ground also offer excellent references. A
straight flight can be maintained by flying parallel or perpendicular to them.
Straight flight (constant wings level attitude) may also be accomplished by
visually checking the relationship of the airplane's wingtips with the horizon.
Both wingtips should be equidistant below the horizon, and any necessary
adjustments should be made with the ailerons, noting the relationship of control
pressure and the airplane's attitude.
INSTRUMENT: An occasional check of the heading indicator should be made
to determine that the airplane is actually maintaining flight in a constant
FLIGHT PROCEDURES 6-9