Accomplish wings-level flight by visually checking the relationship of the aircraft's wingtips
with the horizon (at the same time scanning for other air traffic). Both wingtips should be
equidistant below the horizon. Periodically crosscheck the EADI to verify wings level.
When practicing this fundamental flight maneuver, trim the aircraft so it will fly straight and
level without assistance. This is called hands-off flight. The trim controls, when correctly used,
are aids to smooth and precise flying. By using the trim tabs to relieve all control pressures, it is
much easier to hold a given altitude and heading.
CORRECTING STRAIGHT AND LEVEL FLIGHT DEVIATIONS
There are several methods for correcting deviations from desired altitude and/or airspeed while
attempting to maintain straight and level flight. There never is a universal fix for these
deviations. Good coordinated use of the flight controls/trim and a diligent scan will help you
correct deviations in the least amount of time.
Off airspeed/on altitude: if you note the altitude is correct, but the airspeed is slow or fast, a
power adjustment is necessary since power controls airspeed in level flight. Remember, the
power settings in this manual are approximate. With a power adjustment, a change in pitch may
be required to maintain the level-flight attitude, and, as always, retrim.
Off airspeed/off altitude: if you are fast and low or high and slow, it is probably the fault of
your nose attitude causing the deviation. Stop the loss or gain by resetting level flight attitude
and then correct the deviation by trading the excess altitude or airspeed to return to the desired
altitude and airspeed. Retrim.
On airspeed/off altitude: if you note you are 100 feet high, yet the airspeed is correct, correct to
altitude by reducing power slightly and allowing the nose attitude to lower just slightly so the
aircraft will descend back to the desired altitude. Once returned to altitude, reset normal cruise
power setting and retrim.
Whenever an error in heading is noted, first stop the error, stabilize the aircraft, and correct back
to proper heading. As a rule of thumb, the AOB used for heading corrections should not exceed
the number of degrees you want to turn. Lead the roll-out on heading by the "one-third rule" (see
Basic transitions are used to initiate and/or level off from a climb or descent. Broken down are
the four basic transitions: climb-to-cruise, cruise-to-climb, cruise-to-descent, and descent-to-
cruise. Use the P.A.T. principle to make all transitions. Because trim is so vital to this section,
now would be a good time to review the Trim Requirements discussion in Chapter 2. When not
in radar contact, clearing turns are mandatory for climbs and descents greater than 1000 feet.