The "Baker" Pattern
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member IJAdventures
N 39° 13.770 W 104° 41.355
13S E 526821 N 4342290
Quick Description: The Baker pattern was used by the US Navy to train pilots during WWII and is still useful today as an exercise to develop and maintain instrument proficiency.
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 1/6/2012 8:43:38 AM
Waymark Code: WMDEY2
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Team Sieni
Views: 39

Long Description:

In order for a pilot to fly through the clouds without any outside visual reference, he must master the art of flying solely by reference to the instruments. This requires a proficient understanding of basic flight principles in order to control the aircraft precisely and achieve the desired result (ultimately, finding the airport and making a safe landing even with poor visibility or low clouds).

The US Navy designed a series of patterns (Able, Baker and Charlie) designed to help pilots develop these essential skills. Each pattern includes a series of turns and straight flight, progressively getting more difficult and adding climbs, descents and power changes.

The instructions for the Baker Pattern are relatively simple:

  1. Start pattern on cardinal heading
  2. All legs two minutes
  3. Standard Rate Turns
  4. Make heading corrections on legs

Text and photo description from 1945 Naval Aviation Handbook: Flight Thru Instruments available to view here.

As a flight instructor, I routinely use this pattern as tool to help the pilot improve instrument scan techniques and build a habit of thinking ahead to where the aircraft will be at a certain time. Mastering this pattern provides an easy transition into other instrument maneuvers such as holding patterns and procedure turns.

The GPS track does not exactly match the diagram due to wind drift. In this example, there was a significant wind from the south-west, affecting the turns and straight legs. All legs were 2 minutes and all turns a constant 3 degrees per second.

Track Length: 32.6

Track Length Units: Miles

Uploaded Track: Not listed

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