Flying tips and tricks

How to use a “whizz wheel” to calculate wind drift?

“Wind Down” Method

  1. Download the latest UK spot wind chart which provides wind speed, direction and temperature from the Met Office. It is provided on Form F214 – UK spot winds.
  2. Set the slide to zero on the centre dot
  3. Set the rotating window to the current wind direction
  4. Mark a arrow on the bottom scale to indicate the current wind speed
  5. Set the slide to the cruise speed (90kts in a Cessna 152)
  6. Set the rotating window to the track
  7. Read the drift by identifying the “T” on the drift lines which run top to bottom
    – If the arrow is out to the right, then you will be blown to the right by the wind
    – If the arrow is out to the left, then you will be blown to the left by the wind
  8. Calculate your magnetic heading by adding or subtracting the drift from the track
  9. Calculate your actual heading ?? by X from the magnetic heading
  10. Set the rotating window to the actual heading
  11. Read the ground speed by identifying the “T” on the speed arcs which run from left to right

Speed = Distance / Time


  • (F)uel – Check sufficient fuel and being consumed at expected rate
  • (R)adio – Check tuned to the correct frequency
  • (E)ngine – Check oil temperature and pressure
  • (D)irection Indicator – Check compass and gyroscope
  • (A)ttitude – Check altimeter shows correct altitude


  • (P)ower – Adjust the power
  • (A)ttitude – Set the correct attitude for straight and level flight
  • (T)rim – Trim the aircraft to relieve control pressure


  • (D)irection Indicator – Check compass and gyroscope
  • (A)ttitude – Set the correct attitude
  • (B)alance
  • (L)ookout
  • (E)ngine – Check oil temperature and pressure


  • (B)rakes
  • (U)ndercarriage
  • (M)ixture
  • (F)uel
  • (I)nstruments
  • (C)arb Heat
  • (H)atches & Harnesses
  • (L)anding Light


  1. Draw line
  2. Use VOR to estimate track
  3. Allow for drift 2/3?
  4. Fly heading
  5. Estimate g/s
  6. Work out ETA
  7. Threats
  8. 1/2 way fix