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This can be solved mathematically using the trigonometry we learned in high school.

Modern electronic flight computers do exactly that behind the scenes.

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Computers not allowed in dating

The arrow tail is on our right, so our wind correction will be to the right, meaning we have to add the 11.5° to our desired 240° course, giving a 251.5° heading (this is a heading, so don’t forget to correct for magnetic variation before setting off).

The arc appearing within the grommet gives our ground speed.

Solving the wind triangle is the only non-trivial math needed by the private pilot.

Unlike weight-and-balance or speed-time-distance calculations which are just simple arithmetic, the wind triangle requires trigonometry.

After graduating with Private Pilot License in hand, I soon discovered there was a different type of non-electronic flight computer available, the Jeppesen CR-3 (and its smaller cousins, the CR-2 and CR-5).

The front side of the CR-3 is similar to that of the E6-B, albeit with quite a few additional features not normally used by the private pilot, such as pressure pattern navigation and Mach number.

This has a circular slide rule for speed-time-distance and density altitude calculations on one side, and a graphical wind triangle solution on the other side.

This style of computer is manufactured by several companies, including Aero Products Research and Jeppesen.

At least it would require trigonometry if you didn’t use some sort of flight computer, either electronic or one of the traditional “whiz-wheels”.

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