Ground Reference Maneuvers

What is Ground Reference Maneuvers and Its Importance?

Becoming familiar with ground reference maneuvers is important to showcase controlled airmanship. The first step to complete it is by selecting the appropriate reference point. There are various ways to perform a ground reference maneuver such as rectangular courses, s-turns, and turns around a point.

In this article, we will learn about the importance of these maneuvers and ways to execute them in the best way possible.

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Importance of Ground Reference Maneuvers

The main objective of the ground reference maneuver is that it assists the student in understanding the relation between inputs of flight control pressure and the consequential attitudes of the aircraft. Based on external visual references, these maneuvers help pilots develop awareness.

Ground Reference Maneuvers

It enables them to estimate and account for the impact of wind drift. A ground reference maneuver also helps in activities that need a specific flightpath referenced to points on the surface. It helps understand traffic patterns, crop dusting, sightseeing, survey, and other flight profiles.

Ground reference maneuvers are directly correlated with bank angle and groundspeed. Quick ground speeds lead to steeper bank angles. These maneuvers use the flight control of the airplane to impact the progression of flight. These are essential to work in an airport traffic pattern.

A clear understanding of roll, yaw, and pitch helps understand the impact of wind direction. A student pilot should understand and execute these maneuvers in the right attitudes, and power configurations to work with aircraft that feature advanced performance features.

Ground Reference Maneuvers

Types of Ground Reference Maneuver

Turns Around a Point

This is the basic maneuver that a point learns when flying an airplane. Here the pilot should fly two consecutive circles around a fixed point. To do this maneuver, a pilot needs a few skills such as dexterity, multitasking, directional control, airspeed control, and altitude control.

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Rectangular Course

Rectangular Course

In this type of maneuver, a prepare learns how to fly an aircraft in a safe traffic pattern, and an effective landing. It requires a pilot to concentrate on maintaining the constant height and speed of the airplane while keeping a predictable and safe distance from other airplanes and the ground.

The runway can create a pattern that has the following legs:

  • Upwind Leg
  • Downwind Leg
  • Crosswind Leg
  • Base Leg

S Turns

S Turns

In the case of S turns, a pilot has to showcase certain skills such as synchronized use of airplane controls, keeping constant distance, and speed, and watching for any form of traffic, and obstacles.

S turns are half circles in the sky with respect to a straight object present on the ground. Here, a pilot has to bank at several degrees to create a semi-circle and prepare the airplane for the next semi-circle in the reverse direction.


These three-ground reference maneuvers may seem frustrating, but they are part of the practical test of a pilot. They form the fundamentals of safe aviation and prepare a pilot for complex maneuvers.

A pilot has to expert in all types of maneuvers. He should have a thorough understanding of how the maneuvers are performed and how it is executed to prevent the occurrence of common errors. The above information will help in becoming a safer, and competent pilot.

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Vivek Baghel is a Professional Blogger, Writer and likes to write on various niches as well as all about the latest news. He’s also Admin of a tech blog and shares Tech, News, SEO articles, and the Latest News.
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