Every pilot will use a variation of the E-6B flight computer for flight planning calculations. The traditional E-6B is primarily used during flight training, as many pilots opt to use online flight planning apps post training. While some students use electronic E-6B computers, the manual E-6B flight computer has some significant advantages, including lower cost and reliability without power. The manual E-6B can also help pilots visualize the relationships between the variables when making inputs, thus providing a better understanding of the factors affecting performance.
Learning how to use a manual E-6B takes some practice, especially if you’re used to an electronic interface. To help students and CFIs that have never used a manual E-6B, Gleim Aviation has a convenient online instructions page that covers all the common, and some less common, calculations. We’ve now added a fully interactive manual E-6B flight computer that you can use right here in your browser for FREE. The online E-6B includes both the calculator side and the wind side, just like the physical E-6B.
How To Use the Online E-6B
Navigate to the Gleim E-6B Flight Computer Instructions under the Resources tab on our website. Below the table of contents, you will see two images – Computer Side and Wind Side. Select the side you would like to practice with. A tab will open with the fully interactive online E-6B shown.
To use the calculator side, point and click or use your finger on a mobile device to rotate the inner wheel of the E-6B.
On the wind side, you may first set the grommet to the desired airspeed by clicking and dragging the underlying card beneath the wheel. Once the card is set, click inside of the white wheel to mark a point (just like how you would on a physical E-6B). To remove the marking, simply click on the point again. Lastly, you may click and drag the circumference of the white wheel to set your True Index to the required value. The wind correction card can be moved at any time.
Note that the underlying card also includes instructions to determine groundspeed and wind correction angles for your reference.
For more information on how to use a manual E-6B, follow the instructions for speed, distance, and time computations, fuel computations, off-course corrections, and more on the E6B Flight Computer Instructions page. There are also a number of practice problems you can try out. Once you get used to the online E-6B, you can get your own physical flight computer to take on your flights and use on your FAA knowledge test at the Gleim Online Store.
Did you know that the E-6B turned 80 years old in 2020? Learn more about the history of the device here.
Written by: Ryan Jeff (CFI, AGI), Aviation Research Assistant