LOW-LEVEL AND TACTICAL FORMATION
When flying a VR route, squawk 4000 and report entering the route to FSS. Monitor 255.4 on
the route. While on an IR route, squawk your assigned code and monitor your assigned
frequency. Squawk 1200 and monitor 255.4 to the max extent possible while flying a SR route.
Ensure both crewmembers hack their clocks at the entry point. Carry a stopwatch as a backup to
the aircraft clock. One crewmember will give a verbal "Ready, Ready, Hack!" command over
the entry point. This will ensure both pilots are using the same timing throughout the route.
Carefully plan the exit from the MTR. Know what altitude to climb to, what heading to fly, what
frequency to be on, what NAVAID to tune, who to contact, and what to say. Be prepared to fly
your flight-planned route via the VFR map. Due to your low altitude, you may not be able to
Complete a DD Form 175. General Planning and AP/1B explain how to fill out a DD
Form 175 for a typical low-level. The format for completing the DD Form 175 differs for
different types of routes (i.e., IR vs. VR).
Obtain Weather Information. Weather conditions can have a major, and sometimes
tragic, impact on low-level operations. Before you fly, get the best weather briefing you can.
You may wish to supplement your information by phoning a FSS near your route and ask for a
local observation. Obtain all possible weather information and always keep the abort option in
105. MISSION BRIEFING
1. Perform a Route Study. Once the mission planning is complete and the charts are
constructed, it is time for a thorough route study before actually briefing the mission. The route
study itself should be a detailed examination of the LL route and its surroundings. By reviewing
the chart, note whether the area is flat, mountainous, coastal or inland. When studying the route,
consider the direction of hills in ranges, steepness of slopes, ground elevations, and valley
characteristics. If the route shows water features or coastlines, look for distinct features of lakes,
inlets or islands. Wooded areas and farmland may be good landmarks if the shapes are
distinctive. Keep in mind that some areas could easily change with increased industry or
changing seasons. Similarly, railways and roads should be examined for distinguishing features.
Note any special features (towers, power lines, etc.) and their relationship to your route. A
common route study technique, referred to as "big to little," starts by identifying the largest
terrain features, such as mountains along the route left or right of course centerline.
Systematically narrow down the terrain features to the smallest such as riverbeds. During your
route study you should interpret the contours for each leg of the route to form a mental picture of
the terrain. Identify those features that will most probably stand out, particularly those that will
help you identify your turnpoints. Note any hazards. This is also a good time to get in the habit
of using proper identification techniques. You can do this by using positions of towns and other
checkpoints instead of names. For example, use "the two o'clock town" versus the name of the
town. A good technique is to identify three checkpoints along each leg during the brief.
LOW-LEVEL NAVIGATION 1-17