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Aviation Learning Center Document How to Avoid a Mid Air Collision - P-8740-51
Author: Federal Aviation Administration Date: Unknown
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Panel Scan
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An efficient instrument scan is good practice, even if you limit your flying to VFR conditions, and being able to quickly scan the panel gives one a better chance of doing an effective job outside as well. The following panel scan system is taught by FAA and AOPA Air Safety Foundation to instrument students (figure 3).

  • Start with the attitude indicator. It will show changes in attitude the two most critical areas of flight: heading and altitude.
  • Move to the directional gyro for heading.
  • Move to altimeter.
  • Check the airspeed indicator.
  • Look at rate of climb (VSI).
  • Look at the turn and bank indicator (or turn coordinator).

It is a good idea to skim over the attitude indicator each time you move on to a new instrument, as the AI is your chief control instrument. Include your VOR and engine instruments every third scan or so, or as the flight situation dictates.

Developing an efficient time-sharing plan takes a lot of work and practice, but it is just as important as developing good landing techniques. The best way is to start on the ground, in your own airplane or the one you usually fly, and then use your scans in actual practice every chance you get.

Figure 3

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