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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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Pathfinders are responsible for surveillance of all visible air traffic operating within and around the airspace of the LZ, DZ, or airfield. The commander decides exactly how to transport the equipment into the objective area. Pathfinder ATC Communication 3- 1.

FM Table of Contents

In-flight emergencies have top priority to land, followed by medical evacuation aircraft. However, the charge rapidly builds up again. They paint sandbags a bright color or mark them using some fj quick method. Smoke is employed sparingly because it marks a location 57–38 only for friendly forces, but for enemy observers as well. All signal equipment that radiates electromagnetic energy such as radios, radars, and electro-optical devices is vulnerable to enemy interception, analysis, direction finding, and exploitation.

Aviation and ground commanders inform pathfinders of all changes to plans and landing sites, and about any emergencies. The Army’s inventory includes a variety of equipment adapted or designated for use in sling-load operations. The landing site party should also try to determine the degree of ground slope and whether or not there are any obstacles beneath the snow cover at each landing point.

Utility helicopter night landing site, diamond formations.

The aircraft may terminate at a hover to off-load troops and supplies if the slope is too great to permit a landing. Even moderate wind 11 to 20 knots can produce significant turbulence over mountain ridges. Recommended minimum distances between landing points within a landing site are measured from center to center as follows: When flight altitude is restricted by the air defense threat to altitudes below those established by AR for standard instrument flightthen a minimum clearance of 1, feet over mountainous terrain and feet over flat terrain is possible.


Size 1 landing point. Aircraft Load Limitations Extreme cold and blowing snow pose special problems in ground operations and flight. To ensure mission success, aviation and ground commanders must consider all possibilities. This beacon allows the party to offer long-range guidance. Pause for a few seconds; or, prepare to drop personnel or equipment.

Pathfinder Operations FM 57 38

If ground obstructions cannot be cleared, some helicopter operations can be performed without the helicopter landing. Each area requires special procedures on the part of the pilot. For special situations, the pathfinder may elect to require the pilot to circle left or right in lieu of placement in the traffic pattern, and then he issues final landing instructions.

Large utility and cargo aircraft will be given an advisory operaions ground-slope is be- tween 5 degrees. The helicopter is the principal vehicle for rapidly moving forces in the mountains. During patbfinder air-assault operation, pathfinders cross load before entering an LZ with the initial assault elements.

To achieve speed and clarity of transmission, pathfinders and aviators practice radio discipline. A signalman should be used to direct the landing of the lead helicopter. If they are fouled, the signalman motions the pilot downward and then instmcts him to cutaway the load.

Except when the crosswind velocity exceeds 9 knots during a landing, the prevailing wind requires operatioons attention than it does on the approach and departure routes. Check the tie-downs for serviceability. When pathfinders are awaiting further missions, the command post of the parent or supported unit may task them to assist in aviation unit base airfield control, in minor demolition work, or in staff sections by performing map and aerial photographic work.

Tension variations on siing iegs.

FM Chptr 4 – Helicopter Landing Zones

To ensure understanding, pathfinders must closely coordinate the use of visual assembly aids. Aircraft are carefully controlled to ensure they land at specific points within the extraction site covered hy ground security. Helicopters also can create turbulence that could result in harm to light aircraft.

Because of this, most air movements require the establishment of a CCP to ensure a common point from which patnfinder pathfinders and the aircraft can reference their relative positions and provide each other time to adjust to any additional changes.


The distance between aircraft and landing point size are increased in desert operations meters between aircraft, meter-diameter landing points. They include panels, smoke, and armbands for day operations; and lanterns, flashlights, light beacons, strobe lights, chemical lights, and pyrotechnics for night operations. This prevents helicopters from bogging down, creating excessive dust, or blowing snow.

Many of the conditions experienced in cold weather operations are similar to desert operations. Pilots fly in one of two altitude modes: Pathfinddr for cuts and tears in the nylon-urethane plastic sheath on each loop.

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

For this reason, whenever it seems pathfindder if the aircraft is having trouble, all of the ground crew should move to the designated location coordinated with the aviation unit to try to clear the slingload point Once far enough away, they should take up a prone position or seek cover until the aircraft is on the ground.

He selects the location of the landing point of the lead helicopter of each flight and determines if the terrain or situation dictates any change to the planned landing formation. The same considerations apply to departures from landing sites. Sling length should be added to obstacle height opwrations computation of the distance required for departure clearance.

If necessary, supported ground unit personnel accompany the pathfinders to reconnoiter and mark the unit assembly areas, establish assembly aids, act as guides, and assist in landing and unloading operations.

It has a rated capacity of 12, pounds pendant ; 7, pounds sling to lifting provision point of attachment.