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CHAPTER ONE
LOW-LEVEL NAVIGATION
100. INTRODUCTION
This Flight Training Instruction (FTI) presents an overview of Low-Level (LL) Navigation. The
purpose of LL navigation is to fly a selected ground track and arrive over a designated target
drop zone (DZ) at a coordinated "Time Over Target" (TOT) or at a landing zone (LZ) at a "Time
of Arrival" (TOA). Low-Level flight utilizing dead-reckoning procedures (holding a constant
heading and airspeed for a predetermined amount of time), with location substantiated by
reference to geographic checkpoints, may be the only method of navigation available to avoid
detection in a combat environment. Our target will either be a drop zone and simulated airdrop
procedures will be performed or a landing zone with a random tactical approach. Regardless of
the objective, these techniques and procedures will provide the foundation needed to be a
successful tactical pilot.
101. LOW-LEVEL TASK MANAGEMENT
The most crucial aspect of LL is proper task management. Many accidents are attributed to
pilots flying into the ground because they did not prioritize tasks properly. The ever-important
concept of Aviate, Navigate, Communicate, becomes even more crucial when flying in the low-
level environment. Keeping the aircraft flying is always the number one priority. All the
preflight planning, route study, chart reading, and timing control will not help a pilot complete
his mission if he places those tasks before flying the aircraft and thus impacts the ground or other
obstacles. Ensure that terrain clearance is always met first and then accomplish other duties
(e.g., the navigate and communicate tasks). All tasks related to weather, enemy defenses,
formation, navigation, cockpit switches, drop zone acquisition, aerial delivery, etc., collectively
represent successful mission accomplishment. However, to successfully perform your mission,
you must first survive. If you permit your priorities to break down, you may have just completed
the enemy's work. NEVER allow complacency or task overload to let you forget that the ground
is DEADLY - and close at hand.
Comfort Level (CL) is the lowest altitude at which an aircrew can accommodate LL task loading
and maintain safe terrain clearance. CL will vary according to terrain, aircrew skill, and
currency. Flying requires sound judgment. If you exceed your CL, you probably are not getting
anything out of the mission. The solution is to climb to a more comfortable altitude where you
can once again begin learning.
102. EMERGENCY ACTIONS
Always be prepared for an emergency. Your actions in such a situation should have been
thoroughly prebriefed; crew coordination is vital. Your first priority is an immediate climb away
from the ground. Once at a safe altitude, MSA during training, handle the emergency as you
head towards the nearest suitable airfield. Do not be complacent with a minor malfunction. For
example, it might seem easy to troubleshoot a suspected float switch malfunction while you are
LOW-LEVEL NAVIGATION 1-1


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