E6B Instructions – How To Use An E6B

e6bOk so I bought an E6B now what? That’s the subject line of an email I received today! Rather than writing a huge email what better way then to make a video! How to use an e6b is a tough subject so I’ve organized this into a two video quiz. The first video poses the question and the second shows the explanation. As always if you have questions or comments leave them below the videos. Enjoy! – Jason

How Did You Do? Leave Me A Comment Below!

Many Blessings To PJ a great fan of MzeroA and personal friend who took time to help fellow pilots check out his videos…

Text Transcript

Hey everyone. Jason Schappert of MzeroA.com. This week I wanna give you guys some E6B instruction or, technically, how to use an E6B or flight computer. First off, let’s start with the real basics. What is an E6B?

All an E6B is… a flight computer. Take a look at this guys. This is the E6B. On the front, you can see it has its calculator side, on the back is the wind side. You can see it works like a slide rule. There’s more than just the E6B, though.

There’s also this little guy. The CR5, calculator side, wind side. I like this one a lot because it’s easy to put in a shirt pocket and then forget about it, and have it for quick calculations. And, of course, everyone’s favorite: the electronic flight computer. Students love this one because it’s so easy. You just punch in, and it works great. The only problem is, this has a funny tendency to have the batteries die at the day of the checkride.

I’ve seen more students go, “Sure, Mr. Checkride Examiner, I’d love to calculate that for you” and the battery’s dead. Good thing they had their manual flight computers to fall back on and it’s a good thing they learn how to use it. That’s what we’ll go through in this video, some E6B instructions.

So, this is the scenario: the winds are 300 at 10. Your true course is 360. I want you to calculate our true heading and calculate our ground speed. I’m not gonna tell you the answer. In fact, you’re not gonna find the explanation or answer in Part 2 because I don’t wanna give it way. I want you to pause this video, and go ahead and try it, and then we’ll watch Part 2 for the explanation. You guys on MzeroA.com right now, all you have to do is scroll down a little bit and part 2 is right beneath this video. You can watch me run through this problem and I’ll show you guys exactly how to do it on the E6B flight computer.

I’ll see you guys in Part 2 and remember, a good pilot is always learning. See you guys in Part 2 of this video.


Hey there, everybody. Jason Schappert of MzeroA.com back here with you and welcome to Part 2 of our E6B instructional video.

If you guys haven’t watched part 1, you really need to go back so we’re all in the same page in everything because I’m gonna dive right into showing you a little bit more about our E6B flight computer. So, the question I asked you guys in Part 1 was,I want you to find the true heading and the ground speed if the winds were 300 at 10 and the true course we’re flying was 360.

So, for this, we go over to the wind side of things. Now, I want you guys to take really good notes. If you see anything pop up on the screen, be sure to write them down. These are the 6 steps you need to commit into memory to knock this one out on the fly, no pun intended, on the checkride or anytime while you’re flying through your certificates.

So the first thing we need to do is, number 1, place our wind direction under the True Index. Place the wind direction under that True Index. Alright? So our wind direction is what? 300 at 10. Okay?

Next thing we need to do is mark our wind velocity up from this center hole here. So that’s step 2, mark our wind velocity up from the center hole. So take a look. There’s our center hole. Okay? I like to put this center hole down here, on the 100 mark. Now that’s just because I’m a bad counter, I can’t count up very well but you can see we got, 10, 20, 30.. it’ll be a lot easier that way.

So we’re going to mark our wind velocity… notice too that I use a dry erase marker. I’ve torn this thing up with pens before, it doesn’t come off so dry erase marker.. keep it in your flight bag. Alright, so marking our wind velocity up from center, I make my little dot there up 10 knots so we got that. So, we put our wind direction on the True Index and mark its velocity up from the center hole.

Number 3 is to place our true course under the true index. When we set our true course, it was a northerly heading, that 360. So there we go, we put it right on North.

Step number 4 is to slide our wind mark to the true airspeed line. Our wind mark is the blue dot we just made. We want to slide that wind mark to our true airspeed line. So what’s our true airspeed? Let’s say our true airspeed today is 80, alright? So I’m going to slide that wind mark we made over the 80 arc. There is our wind mark on the 80. That was step 4.

Step 5, is to read our ground speed under the center hole. Under the actual center hole that we made, we can now read our ground speed which is what… 72, 74, 75. It looks like it’s kinda dead in the center there. So looks like obviously we’re gonna have a head wind, and that’s gonna take our true airspeed of 80 into an actual ground speed of 75. That makes sense?

Next thing we need to figure out is our wind correction angle. Look at this. It’s obviously off a little bit, it’s off to our left. Watch. 1,2,3, almost 4 degrees to our left. What we do is we’re gonna minus to our left. So we will take our 360 heading and we would effectively substract 4 from it to get our true heading.

Does that make sense? We’re taking this wind correction, we’re gonna correct to the left, crabbing into the wind, subtracting the left, adding to the right… to get our true heading. Pretty darn neat stuff too.

So, for those that are doing your calculations with me, we’re going to be a 356 heading, somewhere around there… if you guys are close, a degree off or so, pretty darn accurate, okay? And our ground speed is going to be around 75.

Pretty cool stuff! I hope you guys got it, I hope you guys got down those six steps. The sixth step was to read the wind correction angle. I may not have clearly stated that.. but that was to read the wind correction angle. Write those down, keep them in your flight bag so you have them.

So now you know how to calculate your ground speed and your wind correction angle. It’s such an important part of your cross-country flight planning and, hopefully, you now have a better understanding or a better grasp of your E6B flight computer and what it can do for you in flight.

So guys, right now, I want you to go ahead and tell me what you thought. What answers did you get? Where did you need help and what do you think about the E6B? Any questions for me or anything you’d like to see me do on the E6B? Leave me a comment below this video at MzeroA.com. You know you guys will get a reply if you’re in MzeroA.com.

Hey, another thing too, think about sharing this video with 3 of your friends. Submit it to your Facebook or to your Twitter and show your other pilot friends how they can benefit from a video like this. So go ahead and share that with your friends as well as leave me a comment below.

Thank you for being such a blessing to myself and my business, I love creating these videos for you guys and just thank you for all you do. Hey guys, with that, I wanna get on with my day. Most importantly, guys, remember, a good pilot is always learning. Hey, have a great day, guys, I’ll see you all later.

  • Will

    Jason, good refresher video. I use a Post-It Note ‘flag’, like the ones that say ‘sign here’, to mark my wind. I use blank ones that are available at office supply stores. It keeps the E6B clean and gives you a great visual reference for learning wind effect. I use the same flags to mark my sectional with waypoints or progress locations. When your done with your flight you strip them off and store them on the border for the next flight! Will, Richmond, VA

  • Anonymous


    Man Oh Man! Smart thinking i’m going to have to use that one!

    Thanks for sharing,

  • http://twitter.com/bradc314 Brad Cleghorn

    I liked the video. Of course, that’s the easier side of the E6B, in my opinion……

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Brad!

    I plan on doing one on the computer side soon


  • Timl

    thank you it was a good refresher. I would like to see. air speed side. calculating true airspeed. Using it with ETE and ATA. Calculating example from one point to another while in the plane. This is hard for me as some time I have to work the problem backwards. I know the time and distance and some time I know the speed and distance. I find this hard to remember while I am in the plane.

  • http://twitter.com/t0r0nad0 PJ Gustafson

    Don’t you need to supply us with a True Airspeed in order for us to calculate Ground Speed and Wind Correction Angle? I haven’t watched the second video yet because I wanted to try my own. I guess I’ll give it a look – maybe you’ll give it to us there.

  • http://twitter.com/t0r0nad0 PJ Gustafson

    Ah, 80ktas. Would have been helpful for you to give that to us in the first video buddy… 😉

  • Anonymous

    Sorry PJ!

    I screwed up :)


  • Rpbrevik

    Thanks for the instruction on the E6B. I have been trying to do the wind part by using the instructions at the bottom of the wind side. Where it says: TC= -L+R WCA=TH-E+W VAR=MH -E+W DEV=CH. It’s been driving me nuts but now I see I’m not even looking in the right spot. What is that all about?

  • http://twitter.com/t0r0nad0 PJ Gustafson

    In the formula, you take the True Course of your flight, and you subtract a Left OR add a Right Wind Correction Angle, like Jason exhibited in the video. That gives you your True Heading.

    To convert your True Heading to your Magnetic Heading, you need to subtract an East or add a West Variation. You find the Variation for the area you are flying on the VFR Sectional Chart – it is represented by a magenta segmented line running from the top of the chart to the bottom. The angle off of vertical the line is varies based on where you are. As an example, go to http://www.skyvector.com and search for KPSO – Pagosa Springs, CO. You will see a magenta segmented line just west of that airport. If you follow that line north, you will see “10*30′ E”. That is your magnetic variation (which is the difference in degrees between Magnetic North and True North). According to your formula, if you were flying in this area, you would add 10.5 degrees (I’d just round up to 11) to your True Heading to get your Magnetic Heading.

    To convert your Magnetic Heading to your Compass Heading (what you’ll actually fly in the airplane), you need to subtract an East Deviation or add a West Deviation. In most single-engine airplanes, there is a giant hunk of iron sitting within 2-3 feet in front of where the compass is located. Iron is a ferrous, or magnetic, metal. Since a compass is a magnetic device, this hunk of metal (or engine, in layman’s terms) can cause some interference. So, right below the compass will be a card showing at each point on the compass how much it deviates from the actual magnetic heading. So, if you’re flying a Magnetic Heading of 356*, and your compass card indicates a 1*E deviation at 360*, then you would fly 355*. In all actuality, you only really need to take this last part into account for your checkride – in real flight planning, this step gets ignored. It’s only usually a matter of 1 or 2 degrees, and I have yet to meet a pilot or autopilot that can keep an airplane on that accurate a heading.

    So, back to your formula and the example that Jason gave:

    True Course (TC) = 360*
    Wind Correction Angle (WCA) = 4* Left
    Variation (VAR) = 11*E (let’s just say we’re flying near KPSO)
    Deviation (DEV) = 1*E (in the fictitious airplane I referenced above)

    TC -L/+R WCA = TH -E/+W VAR = MH -E/+W DEV = CH
    360* -4* = 356* – 11* = 345* – 1* = 344*

    So, if we fly a Compass Heading of 344* at 80ktas we will be flying on a 360* True Course over the ground.

    Hope this helps!

    PJ Gustafson

  • Anonymous


    Where do I make the check payable to for my awesome freelance writer! :)

    Dude you rock!!!


  • Anonymous

    PJ beat me too it and left an AWESOME answer below man check it out!

    He’s the man!


  • Jim

    Outstanding! I’m currently trying figure the E6B out for my ground traing. This has to be the best example I’ve seen. I’d like to see some more examples!

  • Anonymous


    Glad you liked it! More examples to come for sure!


  • Andy

    I come up with correction angle 6.5 °W, so:

    True Heading = 360°-6.5°= 353.5°
    Grd Spd = 74 kt, assuming 80 kt TAS

    This on my Dad’s E6B he used to fly B-24s around the Pacific!

    Ooh, yeah, more examples please

  • Anonymous


    Awesome work man! You’re spot on!

    The ole B-24 E6B Still reads true :)

    Great work!


  • PJ Gustafson

    Okay, those of you looking for some other examples, try these on for size:

    Ex. 1:
    True Course: 250*
    Winds:180* at 12kts
    True Air Speed: 105kts
    Magnetic Variation: 4*W

    Ex. 2:
    TC: 130*
    Winds: 330* at 7kts
    TAS: 95kts
    VAR: 9*W

    Find the Magnetic Heading and Ground Speed for each example. I’ll give a detailed explanation on Friday.

  • Anonymous

    OHHHH I Know! Pick me pick me!

    Can’t wait to see your explanation!


  • Jim

    Okay, it’s Friday…waiting to see the answers so I can see how far off my answers are?

  • http://twitter.com/t0r0nad0 PJ Gustafson

    Ooops!!! Sorry about that guys! I actually made a video for Jason over the weekend (not related to these examples) and completely forgot about this! Sorry to leave you hanging. Here are the answers:

    Ex. 1:
    Start by turning your disc so that 180* is under the true index. Slide the ruler until the grommet in the middle is on 100kts. Count up 12 (keeping in mind your scale – some E6-B’s are 1 kt per line, some are 2) and make a mark. Turn the disc until 250* is under the true index. Now slide the rule until your wind mark is on 105kts, our True Air Speed. The grommet is right between 100 and 101kts, which is our ground speed. If you count the degrees (again, paying attention to the scale) over to your wind mark from center, you will see that it is about 6* left of center.

    Now, let’s look at our formula:

    TC -L/+R WCA = TH -E/+W VAR = MH -E/+W DEV = CH

    Since the Wind Correction Angle is 6* Left, we’ll subtract that and plug in our numbers:

    250* – 6* = 244* -E/+W VAR = MH -E/+W DEV = CH

    Since the Variation is 4* W, we’ll add that in to get our Magnetic Heading.

    250* – 6* = 244* + 4* = 248* -E/+W DEV = CH

    So, our Magnetic Heading is 248* and our Ground Speed is 100 or 101kts.

    Ex. 2:

    Use the same procedure as above and you’ll get a Wind Correction Angle of 1* Left and a Ground Speed of 101 or 102kts. Using the formula you see:

    130* – 1* = 129* + 9* = 138* -E/+W DEV = CH

    Magnetic Heading: 138*
    Ground Speed: 101 or 102 kts.

    What did you guys get?

  • Markbrvs
  • Anonymous

    Awesome! Saw your book order. I’ll make sure my shipping guy get’s it out today!

    I dropped you an email about flight instruction…

    Be sure to checkout my online ground school as well! I bet you could really benefit from the videos and LIVE coaching.



  • Wingsaseagles6

    Jason…it was great to see you respond to the requests like this, you’ve done it quite a few times now. Great way to give details. Just like Mr. Gustafson did below, a list of practice examples to work through repetitively for a variety of scenarios, would be an extremely great teaching/learning tool. For me, the “always learnin'” thing is repetitiveness. Maybe everyone could contribute a few to this for you to compile and make available through your teaching resources. I’ve been searching for this for a good long time now……thank you

    Grant Johnson
    Dover Delaware

  • Anonymous

    Grant my brother!

    You know i’m always looking out for you! :)

    Glad to have helped! I’m already planning a second series of this for mid December.

    It’s going to be sweet!

    Keep Learning!


  • http://twitter.com/t0r0nad0 PJ Gustafson


    Glad I could help out too in my own small way. You can create your own examples too – just make up some wind speeds and directions, true courses, and true air speeds, then figure it out! Make it practical too – plot a course from your airport to another one nearby, use your plotter to get the True Course, then check the local winds aloft on http://aviationweather.gov and use the True Air Speed from the plane you fly to run a few test examples! Good luck and feel free to ping me on Twitter @t0r0nad0 (oh’s are zero’s) if you need any help!

  • Jim

    Okay, let’s see how good my memory is? Without going back to the video to remind me…

    Ex1 247/100 – Ex2 136/93

    Let me know how bad I messed this up?

  • http://twitter.com/t0r0nad0 PJ Gustafson

    The first one is close enough! People are always going to be 1 or 2 kts or * off from each other due to interpretation. The second one is close enough on the heading, but I got 101 or 102 kts for the ground speed. I could be wrong too, so please share how you got 93!

  • Fly-bman2006

    Jason, thanks for the E6B video. I am trying to get all of my simming buds on board to practice with it.

    Question, you counted 3.5-4 degrees to the left. Just so I understand, this scale is actually 2 degrees per line = 7 degrees WCA, correct? I just want to make sure I wasn’t missing something on this side of the scale.

    Thanks again for your videos! Keep them coming!
    Off to FB as you noted!


  • Harry P

    Benj:  I got the same result as you

  • Matt Dolan

    Are we allowed to use the electronic E6B for the written test as well as the check ride?

    Airmet Z

  • Anonymous


    That’s correct you can use your electronic E6B on the written test and the checkride. However be ready to use the old fashioned one just incase :)


  • Anonymous

    Hey, Jason I would just like to say thanks for following me on twitter @pilotian24 and am glad to see other pilots sharing the wealth of information flight training has to offer. I hope someday to get my http://www.pilotian.com blog up to a caliber of which you do here. Thanks again and Happy Landings

    Until Next Time,

  • Anonymous


    I appreciate the compliment and look forward to following your progress


  • http://twitter.com/t0r0nad0 PJ Gustafson

    Hey Everyone,

    With Jason’s permission, I made a “guest-contribution” video of my own to dive a little deeper into this and give some more background on the context in which you’d be doing this. The focus is a little off in parts of it, but I hope it helps. I wound up having to split it in two due to length, but I think it works out well. Check it out and let me know what you think!

    Part I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHF-LHJKino

    Part II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRJR2yqi5zc

  • Anonymous

    PJ You’re the man!

    I embedded the videos! Hope that’s cool!

    Spread the word time now!


  • Murarilal

    Thank you it is very interesting

  • Anonymous

    Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it


  • Charles Earl

    I am a Canadian Pilot Wannabe and I love these Videos. They are allowing me to sample the material I will be expected to know and I really appreciate it.

    I understand the lesson and it leaves me with a question as a non pilot in training.

    If there is no ASOS or ATIS within 15 miles of you, how do you determine windspeed and direction to gather the numbers needed for this whole proceedure to work while in the air?


  • Anonymous


    There may not be any aviation weather around but you always use local weather sources for a town or nearby areas.


  • Kline

    Can you make a video on how to figure out gallons used and estimated time?

  • Abatti

    Training in An LSA soon to solo, soon to do FAA test soon to checkride.  The e6-b is killin me.  No confidence in my ability it the examiner asks me to compute something other than GS and Th thanks to you.  Too many formulas, too many variables.  I don’t want to bomb because of this thing , I came too far. Art.

  • Tumbleweed1951

    what is MAGNETIC wind speed

  • Abeato

    I am a student pilot about to do the written test and it help me a lot.
    I will share with mu colleagues at American Flyers Trainning School at  Santa Monica Airport, CA

  • Lauren

    Thanks for posting! Your videos were all very helpful. 

  • Aj

    Hey PJ, great stuff…helps me really get it by example. Thanks.

    What about the other side if the E6B, the “flight computer”? any t raining videos on this available? AJ N85RW

  • Joeily01

    Love the videos very very helpfull

  • Bob

    Thank you Jason!  It has been a long time since I used
     a flight calculator and this vido was very helpful in getting me back to basics.  Jason, could you do a vido showing how to calculate winds aloft with a E6B?

  • Dankarla

    On your video e6b you say 4 degrees to the left but the scale is 0 to 10 would not each line be 2 degrees to the so it would be 8 degrees to the left.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=587008687 Jaeho Lee

    Hi, thanks for the awesome video of the E6B calculator. I have a question about finding the flight time using the back part of the E6B. 
    By the way, thanks for posting videos specially with crosswind landing. It was a great help.

  • Erick 5

    what’s that crazy noise in the background of the E-6B video?

  • V-11huk

    Can you please repost the videos, first two are not working but other two were amazing. Thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/arjun.kolhatkar Arjun Kolhatkar

    Just a reminder for those of you who are studying for your JAA exams. This method will always give you the wrong answer because JAA ATPL/CPL exams ask for “track made good” instead of true heading. The difference in technique is in these examples, (anything FAA, or when asked to find True Heading) you mark wind velocity UP from the grommet (center point), whereas doing things the JAA way, you have to mark wind velocity DOWN from the grommet. This essentially sets up a wind triangle for you on the E6B, and shows you the number of degrees to add or subtract (left or right) to get your “track made good”. This is the direction your airplane will track over the ground WITHOUT changing your course, basically NO WIND CORRECTION. You in the JAA examples are calculating where the wind will push you. The FAA exams ask for True Heading, so changing from a course to a heading, you add or subtract your wind correction angle. The “track made good” for the above question using 80KTAS is 004 True.

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