E6B Wind Side: Computing Ground speed and Heading

Using wind direction and velocity, compute ground speed and heading using the wind side of an E6B.  This is required on the private pilot knowledge test, and is useful during preflight planning when creating a nav log.

Think of your E6B wind side as having 2 configurations or modes: Wind mode, and Aircraft mode.  Work problems simply by setting it up in one mode, and then rotating the wheel into the other mode.

Wind Modee6b_wind_mode

  1. Wind Direction at the top
  2. Wind speed dot, aligned with the vertical, center line, indicates amount of speed, as measured up from the grommet.








Aircraft Modee6b_airplane_mode

  1. RED ARROWS: What the airplane is doing in relation to the ground.
    1. Course is at the top, and represents the track over the ground.  You can also think of this as the direction to fly a line written on a sectional chart.
    2. Groundspeed is under the grommet
  2. GREEN ARROWS: What the airplane is doing in relation to the air
    1. Airspeed is represented as an arc that spans the whole card, and is underneath the wind/heading dot.
    2. Heading is a dot, represented as an amount of degrees from the center line.  If your heading is 5 degrees left of your course (i.e. heading is 300 while course is 305) then you are holding 5 degrees left, and the dot would be on the 5 degree left line.


To determine the order in which you set up airplane mode, just look at the information provided in the problem.  In this type of problem, you will typically get Course and Airspeed.  Set the course at the top, and slide the card until the wind dot is over the airpspeed arc.


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