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Analog and proud of it

Using an E6B to solve a calculation

What tool helps you calculate fuel burn, determine wind correction angles, true course heading, density altitude, and even Mach speed (for when you start flying jets)?

Illustration by Charles Floyd
Zoomed image
Illustration by Charles Floyd

All can be computed with the manual E6B. It’s basically a slide rule, so if you learned to use a slide rule in school, you’re already ahead. For the rest of us, performing these calculations manually rather than using an app or an electronic flight bag is akin to navigating by dead reckoning—a tried-and-true method that can be used if computers crap out because they overheat or run out of battery power. (And we hear designated pilot examiners have been known to announce, “Your EFB has died” during a checkride, so there’s another reason to learn how to use the manual one.)

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Jill W. Tallman
Jill W. Tallman
AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who is part-owner of a Cessna 182Q.

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