This page contains the US Army Field Manual on Pathfinder Operations. FM In daylight operations, pathfinders are not inserted into an LZ before the initial assault echelon unless the LZ requires extensive improvement or. HEADQUARTERS. FIELD MANUAL. DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. No. (FM ). PATHFINDER OPERATIONS. OCTOBER

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Pilots will not attempt a normal lift-off in a sandstorm.

Full text of “Pathfinder Operations FM 57 38”

He sets up his initial call-up sequence to an aircraft as follows: This ensures that landing aircraft have sufficient clearance. Pathfinders can make field-expedient visual aids for day or night. As a guide, a helicopter requires a relatively level, cleared, circular area from 25 to meters in diameter for landing.

Planned artillery fires and air strikes as well as the need to maintain ground security pathcinder the last minute require that ground controllers control supporting aircraft throughout the extraction. He may use a reaction force or a direction-finding fix. Markings for obstacles only on request of flight commander.

So, the pathfinder leader considers obstacle height on the approach and departure ends. Pathfinders use 57-8 aids to help aviators find and identify an exact area. The fifth light can go 7 meters from last stem light or 10 meters below right flank light. The pathfinder who is knowledgeable regarding these procedures can better advise and assist aviators and the supported ground unit.

ALO 6 Pathfinder transportation and time available for briefing. Place two vehicles about 35 meters apart and 35 meters downwind of the landing poin t with their h psthfinder beams intersecting at the center of the landing point Figure ].


When pilots are wearing NVGs, pathfinders must either avoid shining the light directly at the aircraft. The final decision concerning minimum landing requirements rests with the aviation unit commander. This is done to check that the sling legs are not fouled on the load. If time permits, they rehearse. It helps him make sure pilots align correctly on the required landing direction. Each load exhibits different characteristics in flight.

During the offense, air assault operations may be conducted to infiltrate forces into the enemy’s rear area and to bypass or envelop his defenses. If ground obstructions cannot be cleared, some helicopter operations can be performed without the helicopter landing. The minimum capacity for external operations is determined by the aviation unit. The situation dictates the extent of security requirements.

The enemy can also see them.

Pathfinder Operations FM 57 38

Re- gardless of the type lighting device used, a minimum of operafions lights will be used to identify the touchdown point. If communications are limited in range, pathfinders These include radios and homing devices that work by radio signal.

CAUTION During preparation for the operation, pathfinders carefully arrange and pad all essential items of operational equipment into appropriate containers.

When they do ALO 7 Pathfinder transportation station time. After rigging the load with any nylon air item, put cotton buffers in place to prevent any nylon-to-nylon or nylon-to-metal contact: They both move to their assigned locations and take up security positions, or they help set up and operate navigation aids and communications equipment.

Since ground effects reduce the aircraft’s lift efficiency, the 573-8 hovers as low pathfinddr possible and lingers no longer than necessary.

FM – Pathfinder Operations –

Pathfindder is normally furnished by selected personnel within the supported unit using organic and improvised equipment. Strong winds naturally raise dense clouds of dust and sand, and rapid temperature changes often follow strong winds. To avoid the buildup of a snow cloud, apthfinder pilot puts the load on the ground as quickly as possible. Consideration should be given to the time of day when the landing site will be operational.


The ACL depends on the type of aircraft, the age of the airframe, the altitude above sea level, the patfhinder, the humidity, and the aviation unit’s SOP. Then, he decides if the terrain or situation pathfinddr any change to the planned landing formation.

Pathfinders may mark initial assembly points for troops, equipment, and supplies if required by the supported unit. Sling length should be added to obstacle height for computation of the distance required for departure clearance. Pathfinders survey all visible air traffic operating within and around the airspace of the LZ, DZ, or airfield. Climatic and terrain environments include cold weather, jungle, desert, and mountainous terrain. For the establishment and operation of one helicopter LZ, the pathfinder element is organized in two working parties–a control center and a landing site party also called the marking party.

(e Book – English – Military) US Army – Field Manual FM 3 21 38 – Pathfinder Operations Oct2002

The same considerations apply to departures from landing sites. They provide pilots with air control points. Base leg of traffic pattern.