Basic instrument flight


This briefing will introduce the student to basic attitude instrument flight maneuvers and the procedures used to execute them.


  • instrument cockpit check
  • straight & level flight
  • changing airspeed
  • climbs & descents
  • turns
  • intro to unusual attitudes


  • model aircraft
  • whiteboard and markers
  • Airplane Flying Handbook
  • UND standardization manual

Instructor actions

Explain and demonstrate, using the model aircraft and whiteboard, the setup, procedures, and execution of basic instrument maneuvers.

Student actions

The student should have read the Airplane Flying Handbook and Pilot’s Handbook chapters on the topic, and participate in the guided discussion by answering questions and explaining their actions in the situations posed.

Completion Standards

Student responds to questions with minimal instructor guidance, and can describe the setup and execution of basic instrument maneuvers.

Teaching outline

instrument cockpit check

  • what is normal?
  • when is the best time to run the check?
  • flow for checking instruments

Straight and level

  • instrument crosscheck and interpretation
  • fixation, omission, and emphasis
  • instruments used for pitch, bank, and power
  • usage during each phase
  • aircraft control
  • trim

Change of airspeed

Constant-airspeed climbs and descents

  • entry and level-off procedures

Constant-rate climbs and descents

  • entry and level-off procedures
  • turn entry and rollout

Turns to headings

  • turn entry and rollout
  • maintaining level

Timed turns to magnetic compass headings

  • ANDS
  • UNOS

Steep turns

Recovery from unusual flight attitudes

  • conditions and situations
  • recognition and missed clues
  • nose-high climbing turn
  • control sequence for recovery
  • nose-low diving spiral
  • control sequence for recovery
  • recognizing return to straight and level
  • problems with using ‘feel’ to sense recovery
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