CONDITIONS: In an OH-58D helicopter, or academically.
STANDARDS: Appropriate common standards plus the following:
Perform map, photo, or visual reconnaissance of the assigned area.
Determine that the LZ/PZ/HA is suitable for mission (size, number of aircraft, type cargo).
Provide accurate and detailed information to organic or supported unit.
Confirm suitability of a holding area.
The crew will confirm location of plotted hazards and call out the location of unplotted hazards. They will perform the reconnaissance using the appropriate aircraft sensors or visual means. The PC will confirm suitability of the area.
The P* will remain focused outside the aircraft to avoid obstacles and will remain oriented on the proposed holding area or landing zone. He is responsible for clearing the aircraft and obstacle avoidance.
The P will assist in reconnaissance of the LZ/PZ/HA, aircraft orientation, and obstacle avoidance. The P will announce when his attention is focused inside the aircraft. He will operate the AVTR, MMS, and take notes as necessary to accomplish the reconnaissance.
Procedures. Landing zone. The initial selection or reconnaissance of an LZ/PZ/HA begins with the analysis of maps (AMPS or paper), photos, and intelligence (IPB). If maps or photos are unreliable, in accordance with METT-T, a fly-by may be performed while using the video recorder to allow for a detailed analysis of the area. When a fly-by is executed, the aircrew should not loiter or make more than one pass over the area. Determine the suitability of the LZ/PZ/HA by considering applicable tactical, technical, and meteorological elements. The fly-by video and aircrew debrief can be used to strengthen the premission analysis. The reconnaissance data should be recorded on a worksheet. Target store can be used to record primary and secondary routes for approach and departure.
Tactical. Mission. Determine if the mission can be accomplished from the selected LZ/PZ/HA. Consider flight time, fuel, number of sorties, and access routes.
Location. If conducting a reconnaissance for an insertion mission, consider distance of LZ/PZ/HA from supported unit or objective, and supported unit's mission, equipment, and method of travel to and from the LZ/PZ/HA.
Security. Consider size and proximity of threat elements versus availability of security forces. Consider cover and concealment, key terrain, and avenues of approach and departure. The area should be large enough to provide dispersion.
Technical. Number of aircraft. Determine if the size of the LZ/PZ/HA will support the type and amount of aircraft that will be landing to the ground or hovering, as part of multiship operations. It may be necessary to provide an additional LZ nearby, or land aircraft at the same site in successive flights.
Landing formation. Determine if the shape and size of the LZ/PZ/HA is suitable for the formation to be flown.
When high DA/gross weight operations are conducted, determine if the LZ/PZ/HA shape, size, vertical obstacles, and actual landing area surface condition will support operations by aircraft at/near their MAX operational gross weight.
Surface conditions.Consider slopes, and blowing sand, snow, or dust. Be aware that vegetation may conceal surface hazards (for example, large rocks, ruts, or stumps). Areas selected should also be free of sources of rotor wash signature. If the area is wet consider the effects of mud and aircraft weight.
Size of landing zone or holding area. The area around the LZ/PZ/HA should be clear of obstacles that could cause aircraft damage. Situation depending, consideration should be given to plotting obstacles. Target locate, and target store may be used to determine the size of the LZ/PZ/HA.
Obstacles. Hazards within the LZ that cannot be eliminated must be plotted.
Approach or departure direction. The direction of approach or departure should be over the lowest obstacles and generally into the wind with METT-T considered.
Vulnerability. Consideration must be given to the vulnerability of ground troops in the LZ during air assault operations, and to helicopters in the HA.
Meteorological. Ceiling and visibility. Must be considered in order to prevent inadvertent IMC.
Holding area. Holding areas are usually selected primarily by the map reconnaissance and it may not be feasible to conduct a reconnaissance by aircraft prior to arrival. If it determined to be unsuitable to land in the holding area after arrival, an alternate area may be chosen nearby if the aircraft need to be landed. Aircraft may hover at the location depending on time available and fuel requirements. All the following items will be considered when selecting a holding area.
Avoid planning approach or departure routes into a rising or setting sun or moon.
NIGHT OR NVG CONSIDERATIONS: Unimproved and unlit areas are more difficult to evaluate at night because of low contrast. Knowledge of the various methods for determining the height of obstacles is critical to successfully completing this task. Visual obstacles should be treated the same as physical obstacles. LZ/PZ/HA will require a larger area at night. Details of the landing area will be more difficult to see.