INTRODUCTION TO BASIC INSTRUMENTS
The Basic Instrument Procedures and Patterns are intended to provide the student with a sound
basis for progressing to Radio Instrument navigation. The ability of the naval aviator to perform
proper instrument flight will transform periods of bad weather and low visibility from a liability
to an asset for the successful completion of military missions, especially when used in
combination with radio, radar, and target recognition devices.
To achieve the proficiency necessary for "all weather" flying, the student must acquire
knowledge and skill in three major areas.
Attitude Instrument Flight
Instrument Navigational Procedures
The Basic Instrument curriculum will provide the requisite skill in the first area, attitude
ATTITUDE INSTRUMENT FLIGHT
All flight is based on attitude flying. When flying contact (with visual reference to the horizon),
we control the complete performance of our aircraft by applying a specific amount of power and
placing the aircraft's nose and wings in a precise position or "attitude" relative to the horizon.
However, when operating in the clouds or during periods of low visibility, this external attitude
reference line disappears and reliable contact attitude flight cannot be continued. With the
advent of the first flight indicator instrument, pilots no longer needed to depend on visual contact
with the actual earth horizon to aid in "setting" and maintaining desired nose and wing attitudes.
Attitude flight could still be accomplished during "instrument" conditions by replacing the actual
horizon with the artificial horizon in the attitude gyro. Thus, the attitude concept of flight does
not change as a transition is made to instrument flight. In fact, this attitude depicted by the
gyro's miniature aircraft and horizon bar is in most cases more precise than the contact
When flying contact, the basic attitude outside the aircraft is verified by crosschecking certain
instruments in the cockpit; for example, in straight and level normal cruise flight, the wings are
leveled and the nose is set on the horizon, then the radio magnetic indicator (RMI) is checked for
proper heading, the altimeter for current altitude, and the vertical speed indicator (VSI) for the
earliest indication of a trend and rate of departure from level flight. Obviously, the same
principle is true for attitude instrument flight. The pilot establishes an attitude on the gyro, and
after smoothly introducing trim to support the desired attitude, confirms the attitude by
systematically crosschecking other instruments. Thus, even though there are obviously
contrasting elements between contact and instrument flight, none of the fundamentals change.
INTRODUCTION TO BASIC INSTRUMENTS 1-1