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CHAPTER ONE
LOW-LEVEL AND TACTICAL FORMATION
You must know how to read a chart and interpret terrain contours. If you do not, you will end up
"thumbing the chart" - continuously referring to the chart to determine your position along the
route by attempting to identify terrain features, roads, or towns you are flying over or have
already passed. This completely contradicts the purpose of DR navigation. To avoid thumbing
the chart, identify checkpoints by the clock to chart to ground method. This technique requires
you to locate your position on the chart using elapsed time, choose a landmark confirming your
position and find it on the ground. An example of this thought process would be: "At four
minutes on this leg (clock), I should be crossing a road (chart) coming out of a town 3 miles off
my left wing. There is a road at 11 o'clock coming from a town to my left (ground)". Repeat
this process step by step, and work your way to your destination. Do not pick points too far
ahead or too far to the side. Generally, at low to medium altitudes, you should be looking for
points 2 to 5 minutes ahead - depending on your aircraft speed and altitude - and have them in
sight and identified by 1 minute out. You must have confidence that you do not need to identify
every road, river, and town along the way to arrive at the drop zone on time. Again, if you plan
and study the route correctly and do no more than fly heading, airspeed, and time, you will get to
the drop zone on time. FLY THE PLAN! Thumbing the chart keeps your head inside the
cockpit and has you looking over your shoulder at where you have already been. Not only is this
ineffective, it is also dangerous. By thumbing your chart, you have negated your crosscheck and
are not clearing your flight path.
Good LL preparation is a must. Thorough preflight study of the route (before you come in for
the brief), good knowledge of timing and tracking correction techniques, and proper chart
management will give you confidence in DR and get you to the drop zone on time.
2.
Brief the Mission. Be ready for the brief. Use approved briefing guides and visual aids,
as appropriate. Have charts ready, both enroute and run-in, stick diagrams, Form 280 (for
formations), weather, NOTAMS, and airfield information completed prior to the brief.
106. LOW-LEVEL NAVIGATION FUNDAMENTALS
Dead Reckoning and Pilotage
1.
Dead Reckoning (DR). DR navigation using airspeed, time, and heading is your primary
means of low-level navigation. It is simple, reliable, and requires only a clock, navigational
charts, and compass. Although internal and external devices are great aids to navigation, they
cannot be totally relied upon. Even with modern technology, a pilot must master the basics of
DR because other means of navigation may be lost or degraded. A NAVAID requires ground
stations and a line of sight to the station to establish a fix. The only other means of navigation
available in the T-44/TC-12 is visual. However, since lateral and forward visibility is limited
when flying near 500 feet AGL, visual checkpoints and ground references are often difficult to
locate and confirm.
Precise DR navigation requires flying an exact heading, for an exact time, at an exact airspeed
and then turning with a precise bank angle to the next heading. Heading control allows you to
navigate from one point to another. Precise airspeed control results in the correct time between
two turnpoints; if you are unable to locate your turnpoint, you must turn to the next heading at
1-18 LOW-LEVEL NAVIGATION


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