Flying The Route
would for any course line. Use your judgment when actually flying such a route; it may be better to
parallel the planned course rather than make a correction if you are not exactly sure where you are.
Course/Time Corrections at Checkpoints
If you see a checkpoint ahead and slightly off course and you know you are supposed to pass
directly over it, maneuver to fly over it. If it is too close or you see it late, maneuver to put it on your
tail as you turn to the outbound heading. Try to reach it on the planned inbound heading, if you can
pass over it, you can turn directly to the correct outbound heading. Check your time and adjust
power and airspeed as necessary to correct for being early or late at the turnpoint.
Some operational missions require a precise time over target (TOT). Obviously, when a TOT is
scheduled, the pilot must closely monitor his elapsed mission time. Speed and/or course adjust-
ments may be necessary to assure arrival at the TOT. Coordinated air/land attacks often demand
this precision. Missing a TOT may endanger friendly forces.
At other times an exact TOT is not required. Then, timing is most important for accurate navigation.
Experience shows that on lengthy routes it's often advisable to use a number of "hack points"--
points where the hack watch is reset to zero. Ideal hack points cross your course at nearly right
angles. Select prominent speed-line references, like a perpendicular river, coast line, or large
highway. Do not choose obscure references that may contribute to missing your "hack," particularly,
if you get somewhat off course. Multiple hack points help pilots avoid predictable confusion that can
occur following unexpected mission deviations: e.g., targeting revisions, circumvention of bad
weather, and avoidance of unanticipated enemy activity.
Timing is very important in operational navigation, both in locating yourself along your course line
and in correcting your position. You should consistently check your time and make an adjustment
any time you find your timing off by more than five seconds. You may be fast or slow, so be sure to
correct in the right direction. If you are supposed to be at a bridge at 10+00 but you fly over it a 9+50
then you are fast, ahead of your clock. Adjust speed to slow down and let your clock catch up.
Add or subtract 1 knot airspeed for each second slow or fast; hold the corrected airspeed
6 minutes at 360 knots. For example, if you are 20 seconds late on a 300-knot low-level, add
20 knots for 6 minutes.
If distance to your next point is short, use a larger correction and hold it for less time. Increase or
decrease airspeed by 30 knots for 2 minutes to correct for 10 seconds off time on a 360-knot route.
If timing is significantly off, a 60-knot correction may be made for one minute to adjust for
12 seconds off. The 60-knot correction should only be made if there is insufficient time or distance
to make a smaller correction. Small speed changes provide smoother, more controlled and predict-
Once you are back on time, return to your planned airspeed, incorporating any required adjustment.
Analyze the recent correction. Why were you off time? Consider wind, course corrections, your own
airspeed control, and take them into account. If you are flying into a headwind, you will need to
account for it with your indicated airspeed. How strong is it? Which direction? Which way will it
blow you on your next leg? If you corrected your course, you probably used up some time. Are you
flying the correct IAS for the temperature? You should be flying or 360 knots true airspeed in a no-
wind, standard-day condition. The key to accurate timing is precise heading and airspeed control!