LOW-LEVEL AND TACTICAL FORMATION
Now that you are clearing, the navigating should be easy. After your thorough route study, you
should not have to spend much time determining that the little squiggly line is really a railroad.
Instead, you will be navigating by DR and position identification. Initially, students tend to
"chart read" behind the aircraft. Your instructor will teach you how to anticipate and predict
what lies ahead. You should know the distinguishing features of landmarks ahead so you can
make a quick positive identification as they pass. This skill prevents you from watching a
feature go under the nose and then attempting to confirm it against the chart. Additionally,
timely position verification is the only basis for using all those nifty time and course correction
techniques. Do not forget clock-to-chart-to-ground navigation. This method helps you stay
ahead and prevents the normal student pilot procedure (ground-to-chart-to-ground-to-IP).
Remember, DR is what flying low-level is all about.
Slowdown. Since we will be simulating an airdrop at times, we need to slow from the enroute
groundspeed, to the drop airspeed. We also need to be stabilized at drop altitude over the DZ for
the airdrop. Drop altitude is determined by adding 1000 feet above the highest point on the DZ.
The highest point on the DZ can be found on the DZ survey. Slowdown should be planned to
allow time to stabilize on airspeed and altitude at least one minute prior to green light (TOT).
Slowdowns will be accomplished in one of the following two ways depending on the initial
Ascending Slowdown. Typically for a day low-level, we will be flying at 500 feet AGL.
This will necessitate a climb to drop altitude (1000 feet AGL) during slowdown. To execute an
ascending slowdown, notify the PAC "30 seconds to slowdown, 5 seconds to slowdown,
slowdown, slowdown, now." The PAC will reduce power to 400 ft-lbs and initiate a climb at
1000 FPM. When the airspeed is below approach flap limiting airspeed, extend flaps to
approach and continue to slow to a drop airspeed of 120 KIAS (T-44)/130 KIAS (TC-12) while
leveling at drop altitude. Maintain drop airspeed and altitude until the escape maneuver is
Descending Slowdown. For a night low-level, we will normally be at an altitude higher
than drop altitude. To execute a descending slowdown, notify the PAC as in the above
paragraph. The PAC will reduce power to idle and maintain altitude. When airspeed is below
approach flap limiting speed, extend flaps to approach and continue slowing to a drop airspeed
of 120 KIAS (T-44)/130 KIAS (TC-12) while maintaining altitude. After slowdown, when the
DZ is in sight and will remain in sight or when a positive position is identified and adequate
terrain clearance is assured, the aircraft may descend to drop altitude. Stabilize at drop airspeed
and altitude until the escape maneuver is initiated.
No timing adjustments shall be made from the slowdown to the
1-28 LOW-LEVEL NAVIGATION