Sunday, 7 December 2008

The importance of LEADERSHIP.

Hello from the flight deck. Here is a question for you. Is good leadership important?

Answer: Of course it is. Good, effective leadership is vital in any organisation. If one is part of a team, that team has to have leadership. The leader (captain, chief pilot, chief instructor) must possess the qualities necessary to run a safe, motivated, dedicated team. The leader must set an example to his crew or his team. He should command respect. This respect has to be earned. Respect does not just 'happen' by virtue of appointment or badges. He has to be honest, be an effective communicator, a motivator and an example. His skill and knowledge, his manners and demeanor, should be beyond reproach. He should set 'the standard'. He should not court popularity, but should display those traits of character and personality that motivate his team members and those who report to him. The team should 'want' to work for him, and look up to him. Compassion and also a sense of humour are desirable traits. These characteristics do not only apply to the flight deck or cockpit of an aircraft, they are relevant in any environment or organisation. As far as flying training is concerned, learning how to 'pole' an aircraft is only one aspect of aviation. The development and demonstration of leadership qualities is vitally important and particularly relevant to Flying Training Organisations (FTOs) and Flying Schools - the crucibles for future professional pilots and private pilots.

But what do I know?

Saturday, 6 December 2008

PPL Ex 18 (xix): Navigation: "WIND UP" or "WIND DOWN" Method?

Please forgive me but I could not resist the temptation to put in this old picture of my Royal Air Force days in the 1960s flying Jet Provosts over the snowy North York Moors. I have been feeling nostalgic lately.

This may be a good time to remind all pilots that it is very EASY to access any page. Just go to the "green" Blog Archive index on the right. Click on the WHITE TRIANGULAR ARROW to open any month or year, and point and click on the underlined subject or PPL exercise that you want to look at >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Today, in Navigation class, the question was asked, "Which method should I use? Wind UP or Wind DOWN on the Dalton computer?"

The answer is use either method, BUT know the characteristics (or quirks) of each method.

The "quirk" of the WIND DOWN method is that initially with TRACK at the INDEX, the TAS is placed on the centre line under the centre bore. We know that we cannot mix TAS with TRACK, because TAS goes with HEADING. Ground Speed (GS) goes with TRACK. But don't worry, it gets sorted out in the final movement of the plotting disc.

The "quirk" of the WIND UP method is that the "DRIFT LEFT" and "DRIFT RIGHT" stamped on the top of the fixed outer disc have to be read the opposite way round. Provided that this is remembered, I would favour the "WIND UP" method, because TAS is NOT placed on the centre line with TRACK. TAS is placed under the "X" at the end of the wind "vector" on the curved speed line. GS is now read under the centre bore.

The R.A.F. taught the "WIND DOWN" method. Why? Beause it is logical. On the "Wind Triangle" or "Triangle of Velocities" the aircraft is "downwind" of the HEADING VECTOR. The wind blows the aircraft from the HEADING to the TRACK. This whole methodology is explained in PPL Ex 18(i): NAVIGATION: The "Dalton" Dead Reckoning Computer. Nowadays I favour the WIND-UP method.

With BOTH methods we start with given information. This "given" information is: 1.)True Air Speed* (*See previous AEROfile entry for arriving at TAS). 2.) True Track (TRK T) and 3.) Wind Velocity (WV). Here is an example: TAS = 110. True Track = 050. W/V = 360/30

First the "WIND DOWN" method:

The wind direction (remember the wind is always FROM) is placed under the INDEX at the top of the instrument by rotating the plotting disc. The wind is 360/30. Rotate the disc until 360 (or "N") is under the "INDEX". Now, from the CENTRE BORE, measure "30" DOWNwards. Make a mark (a dot or a cross) at this point. Now rotate the disc to align the True Track 050 with the "INDEX" AND slide the disc to place the CENTRE BORE over the TAS 110. Observe the angle of the DRIFT LINE. It is 15 degrees on the RIGHT hand side of the plotting disc. (Note: The top right and left of the outer fixed disc states "DRIFT LEFT" and "DRIFT RIGHT" respectively). Here the drift is RIGHT therefore the heading is to the LEFT of the TRACK (the aircraft drifts towards the track!) Rotate the disc 15 degrees LESS than the TRACK value of 050 i.e. 035 under the INDEX. OBSERVE the DRIFT ANGLE NOW. It is now only 12 degrees. RE-ADJUST the figure under the INDEX to read 038. NOW THE DRIFT ANGLE (12 degrees) AGREES WITH THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TRACK AND THE HEADING (050 and 038 = 12). AND the plotting disc has "apples" and "apples" together and "pears" and "pears" together, i.e. TRACK with GS and HDG with TAS. The HDG and TAS have ended up on the centre-line. The Ground Speed (GS) is now read at the curved speed line under the "X" . It is 89. Bingo! We have True Heading (038) and Gound Speed (89).

Now the WIND -UP method:

The wind direction (remember the wind is always FROM) is placed under the INDEX at the top of the instrument by rotating the plotting disc. The wind is 360/30. Rotate the disc until 360 (or "N") is under the "INDEX". Now, from the CENTRE BORE, measure "30" UPwards. Make a mark (a dot or a cross) at this point.

Now rotate the disc to align the True Track 050 with the "INDEX" AND place the "X" of the wind vector over the TAS curved line at 110. Observe the angle of the DRIFT LINE. It is 12 degrees on the LEFT hand side of the plotting disc. (Note: The top left and right of the outer fixed disc states "DRIFT LEFT" and "DRIFT RIGHT" respectively). Here the drift is RIGHT therefore the heading is to the LEFT of the TRACK (the aircraft drifts towards the track!). THE "QUIRK" WITH THIS METHOD IS THAT ALTHOUGH THE INSTRUMENT HAS "DRIFT LEFT" STAMPED ON THE TOP (ON THE SIDE OF THE DRIFT LINE) WE HAVE TO REVERSE THIS. THE DRIFT IS ACTUALLY RIGHT! Other than this little quirk everything is fine and dandy. There is no adjusting to do. Simply subtract 12 degrees of drift from the TRUE TRACK of 050 = TRUE HEADING of 038 degrees, and read the Groundspeed under the centre bore = 89 knots. Bingo again!!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

PPL: Ex 18 Navex Debrief

This is a "debrief" with regards to the Navex flown today. It was a very good exercise and very well planned. What impressed me most was your progress in general and your R/T in particular. This "entry" is very much experimental, so I would expect some feedback - by whatever means! Today we were flying a Cessna 172 Skyhawk:

The planning was good. Weather and NOTAMS downloaded. Accurate track angles and distance measurements. Correct calculation of TAS (+06 deg C at 2000 PRESS ALT in the AIR SPEED window gives 102kts TAS opposite 100 KIAS). My old eyes don't help with that tiny AIR SPEED window!.
Correct application of the Wind Vectors to True Tracks which resulted in correct True Headings.
Correct application of VARiation (3-deg W) to obtain Magnetic Headings (HDG M). DEViation and therefore Compass Heading (HDG C) to be read from the Deviation Card on the instrument panel.
The Weight & Balance Form was filled out correctly. 116 litres of fuel confirmed in the tanks. Using the flight computer (wizz wheel - Ltr. opposite 116 gave 25.5 opposite IMP.GAL.) 25.5 IMP.GAL* = 183.6 lbs @ 7.2 lbs/Imp. Gal. (*Note: 25.5 IMP.GAL would equate to 30.6 U.S.GAL. - just look at the figure under the U.S.GAL mark on the computer! In Europe we have to get used to working with Lbs., Kilogrammes, Imp. Gals., U.S.Gals., Litres, Feet, Statute miles, Nautical miles, Kilometres, and Metres. An aircraft manufactured in the U.S.A will probably be quoting performance figures in Lbs. and U.S. Gallons, Feet and Inches, and, on older aircraft MPH in the POH/FM.)
The Weight & Balance Form (or Loadsheet) for our Cessna 172s uses the units Lbs. and IMP. GALs. (Note: Airliners in Europe are normally operated in Kgs. for both Aircraft Mass and Fuel Mass, but the fuel bowsers usually deliver fuel in Litres. Fuel energy is measured in mass. It is therefore important to ensure that enough volume is uplifted to equate to the mass required!)

Having calculated the Total Weight (2290 lbs.) the Short Field Performance (10 Flap) was calculated using ISA Temperature and Pressure Altitude of 200. Ground Roll = 240m. TODR = 410m. Both X 1.25 (+25%) for Wet Grass = 300m and 512m resp. TORA at EGBD = 453m. TODA 585m.

It was good to see that "Off Chocks" (or Brakes Off) time was recorded on the PLOG with a space left for "On Chocks" above. This makes it easy to subtract one from the other for "Total Chocks Time". Same for "Take-off" and "Landing Times".

Passenger Briefing, Start-Up, Taxy Checks and Power Checks all completed to a good standard. This was an unfamiliar aircraft with a different engine instrument layout. Nothing was missed. The technique of Think - Delay - Act worked well. There is never a case for rushing in an aircraft. A cool, deliberate, measured and considered approach to everything pays dividends. In fact it normally saves you time, and certainly can spare you embarrassment.

The take-off time was mentally noted. The take-off was smooth with aileron into wind and effective use of rudder to keep straight during the ground run. When elevator authority was felt through the control wheel, the nosewheel was lifted just clear of the grass. At 53KIAS the aircarft was rotated to the correct initial ATTitude for a Vx climb. Enough right rudder was applied to keep the aircraft balanced (ball in centre). You obviously understand the translation of the rudder function from ground to flight.

When the obstacles were cleared you adjusted the ATTitude by pitching down slightly in order to accelerate. Flaps 0 and attitude re-adjusted: Vy climb speed of 75KIAS. ATTITUDE - POWER - TRIM - excellent!

Using LOOKOUT - ATTITUDE - INSTRUMENTS and POWER - ATTITUDE - TRIM you climbed towards the first waypoint and called the aerodrome AGCS (Air Ground Communication Service - "Callsign" + "Radio") and advised that you were changing to "XXX Radar on" your en route frequency. Your R/T is progressing very well. Obviously you are applying THINK - DELAY* - SPEAK to good effect too. (*DELAY only for a second or two.)

I would like you to work a little more on cockpit organisation. Here are some pointers:
One of the important points when flying is correct prioritisation. Flying is about prioritising correctly and effectively. Ask yourself, "What is important NOW?" The priority list has to be re-shuffled as required, and tasks or functions that have been pushed down the priority stack must be re-visited when conditions allow.
Obviously the priorities, as always, are AVIATE - NAVIGATE - COMMUNICATE, but within these tenets are sub-priorities. A major priority is LOOKOUT. In order to facilitate good lookout it is important not to spend much time looking in at stuff on your lap or kneeboard (in fact I recommend getting rid of the kneeboard), but to be well organised in the cockpit. Keep it simple. Organise all the information that you require in a simple & retrievable form. I recommend making up an A5 Handy Dandy Clearview Folder with all the information that you may need for the trip and tucked behind the seat. Simply use your chart folded to the standard 16 X 26 cm (or 7 X 10 inches). Clear & uncluttered thin black track lines drawn with 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 distance marks on each leg. The only black on the ICAO 1:500,000 Aeronautical Chart is the printed names of towns and railway lines + grid lines of course. Tucked into a sleeve of the chart, or placed underneath the chart, would be the PLOG. The A4 size plog would be folded in half (A5 size) so as to fit neatly into the sleeve with the priority side UP. This is so that when the plog is slid out from under the chart the higher priority information is immediately visible. Of course all the information on your plog (your flight plan) is important, but I would suggest the side of the plog with MAG HDG, DIST, TIME and FUEL REQD are the immediately required values for each leg. Organise any notes, frequencies, radio aid information/idents etc. on this same side. Other priorities, of course, are accurate heading (HDG) and accurate time keeping (CHRONO).

Keep a green standard chart marker "lumocolor" pen in your shirt pocket for writing en route in a convenient, unimportant place on the chart. Green is a good colour because the only markings on an ICAO 1:500,000 Aeronautical Chart in green are forests and woods. Some pilots also use green for track lines. I like the clarity of black track lines and the contrast with green for "other" information, like Take-off Time, Squawk Codes, Frequencies, Revisions, etc. However, try to really listen and absorb information such as squawk codes, clearances and frequency changes so that you don't have to write them down! Mentally: Note - Repeat - Apply as you did today.

Avoid cluttering your chart with "drift" lines. From the index at the right of this page go to PPL Ex 18 (xiii): Navigation: (Off-Track Correction) to revise how to regain your track and make it to the waypoint. Please also re-visit PPL: Ex 18 (viii): Navigation: Heading & Chrono Discipline.

The final point is about the THROTTLE in the cruise. Set the cruise RPM (say, 2200RPM), tighten up the throttle friction and, in general, leave the throttle alone. Fly straight and level by LOOKOUT - ATTITUDE - INSTRUMENTS. KEEP the aircraft in TRIM and correct any (hopefully minor) ALTitude excursions with the control wheel (elevator). The speed excursions will thus be evened out.

Approach and Landing: Textbook!

Your Planning, Take-off, Climb, Situation Awareness, Lookout, R/T, and Overall Progress is very good. The main points are to do with being organised in the cockpit and leaving CRZ POWER constant. Again, well done.

Monday, 27 October 2008


Now this picture of the Hawk 300 has got your attention, I would ask my PPL pilots to review:
1.) PPL: Ex 13: The Flapless Approach - 26 August 2008. The numbers are based on the Cessna 152. The approach speed is 60KIAS to the runway threshold. No increment is added for headwind component. See PPL: Ex 13: The Flapless Approach 26 August 2008 via the index archive in the "green" section at the top right of the page.
2.) PPL: Navigation Ex 18 (viii) (HEADING & CHRONO DISCIPLINE) - 27 August 2008. The importance of maintaining the disciplines of accurate heading and time - HEADING and CHRONO. If an accurate heading is not maintained and the chrono was not started, navigation becomes very haphazard. Check out (again) Colonel Don Blakeslee at PPL: Navigation Ex 18 (viii) 27 August 2008 via the index archive in the "green" section at the top right of the page for more on the effectiveness of a map and a watch. Here is a cutting and his picture from the Daily Telegraph:

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

This Is Why We Fly

Remember that your 'comments' are welcome. Standby for more Aerofile pages soon. Meanwhile, click here for an interesting site.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

PPL Ex 18 (xviii): R/T. RTF. Radio Telephony. Using the Radio. Communications. R/T Practise.

Before launching into these Radio Practice Routes here is a reminder of the recent amendment to CAP413 the UK Safety Regulation Group (CAA) Radiotelephony Manual (Click here for the link to CAP413):
If YOU want to be PROFESSIONAL then conform to this amendment (above).
It says: Changes to indication of VHF channels in line with ICAO's change to Annex 10.

All six figures shall be used when identifying frequencies irrespective of whether they are 25kHz or 8.33 kHz spaced. Exceptionally, when the final two digits are both zero, only the first four digits need be given

Here are some examples:
  • 118.350
  • 134.175
  • 122.125
  • 130.550
  • 124.075
  • 121.5
  • 120.9
  • 118.050
  • 125.2
REMEMBER: Think - Delay (1 or 2 seconds) - Speak! (or ACT!!) See "Correct R/T Phraseology ? Any Feedback?" August 2008 for "Comments!"
Be Professional. When using an abbreviated callsign permitted by ATC's response to your initial call of e.g. "G-DACF" the correct response is "G-CF". It is never acceptable to use just "CF". Always, always start with the National Registration Letter , Letters or Number: "G", "F", "EI", "OO","N", "R", "ZS", "A2" etc. "Golf Charlie Foxtrot" NOT "Charlie Foxtrot". (Editor's note: Sorry, the words "Grandmother", "Suck", "Eggs" and "Teach" are coming into mind!)
Here are some Practice Radio Exercises:
Note: An Aerodrome Air/Ground Station can only offer an Aerodrome/Ground Communication Service (AGCS). For ATC and FIS see CAP413.

Aircraft: XXXX Radio Golf Oscar Delta Alpha Charlie (GOLF OSS CAH DELL TAH AL FAH CHAR LEE) request radio check on 118.350 (WUN WUN AIT DAYSEEMAL TREE FIFE ZERO) and information.
Ground: Golf Alpha Charlie XXXX reading you strength five. Runway for departure 17 left hand. QFE 1010. QNH 1016.
Aircraft: Runway 17 left hand. QFE 1010. QNH 1016. Golf Alpha Charlie.

Aircraft: G-AC crossing runway 05.
Ground: G-AC roger. No known traffic to affect. Be advised, one aircraft on short final.

Aircraft: G-AC ready for departure.
Ground: G-AC roger. Surface wind 080˚ 6 knots.

Aircraft: G-AC downwind (05 to land/low approach and go-around/glide approach/flapless approach).

Ground: G-AC roger. Advise final.
Aircraft: Advise final G-AC.

Aircraft: G-AC final.
Ground: G-AC roger. Surface wind 080˚ 6 knots.

Aircraft: G-AC going around.
Ground: G-AC roger, advise downwind.


Aircraft: G-AC overhead Church Broughton. Departing the circuit to the west. Remaining on frequency/changing to East Midlands 134.175.
Ground: G-AC roger. Advise on rejoin.
Aircraft: Advise on rejoin G-AC.

Aircraft: G-AC approaching Church Broughton from the west for rejoin.
Ground: G-AC roger. Runway for landing 05LH. QFE 1010.
Aircraft: Runway 05LH. QFE 1010. G-AC.
Ground: G-AC roger. Advise downwind.
Aircraft: Advise downwind G-AC.


Aircraft: G-AC overhead Church Broughton departing the circuit to the west changing to East midlands 134.175.
Ground: G-AC roger. Advise on rejoin.
Aircraft: Wilco G-AC.

Aircraft: East Midlands Approach G-ODAC for Flight Information Service.
Ground: G-AC pass your message/G-AC standby.
Aircraft: G-AC Cessna 152 XXXX to XXXX on a (solo) navex turning overhead Newport Lake and Stoke Services. Currently overhead Church Broughton 2,400 feet. Request flight information service.
Ground: G-AC roger. Flight information service you have. QNH 1016. Report changing frequency.
Aircraft: Flight information service. QNH 1016. Wilco G-AC.

Aircraft: G-AC overhead Hixon disused airfield. Request frequency change to Shawbury 120.775.
Ground: G-AC roger frequency change approved.
Aircraft: G-AC

Aircraft: Shawbury Radar G-ODAC for flight information service.
Ground: G-AC pass you details.
Aircraft: G-AC Cessna 152 XXXX to XXXX on a (solo) navex turning overhad Newport Lake and Stoke Services. Currently overhead Hixon 2,400 feet. request flight information service.
Ground: G-AC roger. Flight information service. Barnsley 1012. Report turning at Newport Lake.
Aircraft: Flight information service. barnsley 1012. Wilco G-AC.
Ground: G-AC roger. For conspicuity squawk 0240.
Aircraft: Squawk 0240 G-AC.

Aircraft: G-AC turning overhead Newport Lake. setting course for Stoke Services on the M6.
Ground: G-AC roger. Report changing frquency.
Aircraft: Wilco G-AC.

Aircraft: G-AC turning overhead Stoke Services. request frequency change to East Midlands 134.175.
Ground: G-AC roger. Squawk 7000. free call East Midlands 134.175.
Aircraft: Squawk 7000. Free call East Midlands G-AC.

Aircraft: East Midlands Approach G-ODAC for flight information service.
Ground: G-AC East Midlands pass your message.
Aircraft: G-AC C152 XXXX to XXXX on a (solo) navex turning overhead Newport Lake and Stoke Services. Currently overhead Stoke services 2,400 feet. Request flight information service.
Ground: G-AC roger. Flight information service. East Midlands QNH 1016.
Aircraft: Flight information service. QNH 1016. G-AC.

Aircraft: G-AC 3 miles west of Church Broughton. Request frequency change to XXXX on 118.350.
Ground: G-AC roger frequency change approved.
Aircraft: G-AC.

(To be continued)

Meanwhile, here are some pages extracted from CAP413:

Work-in-progress. More to come. Watch this space.....................................

Sunday, 14 September 2008

PPL Ex 18 (xvii): Navigation Planning: Example: EGBD - EGTK - (Part 4: The Navigation Plan - Pilot's Log - PLOG + Load Sheet)

Two good aviation sites are here and here.

(Click on an image to ENLARGE.)
Let's continue with the EGBD - EGTK - EGBD practise flight. The UK Low-Level Spot Wind Chart (Form 214) has been downloaded from and the winds appropriate to our flight applied to the pilot log.
Having interpolated the wind and temperature information from the Met Office Chart (F214) it is now possible to calculate True Airspeed (TAS), True Headings (TRU HDG) and Ground Speeds (GND SPD). The TAS is calculated from the AIR SPEED window on the airspeed side of the flight computer. At 2,600ft the temperature is +08-deg C (average over the route). See (Illustration A.). The IAS will be 100 kts (See TAS in the Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) or the Pilots Operating Handbook (POH)).

On the Flight Computer: Opposite 100 on the inner scale, read 103.5 knots on the outer scale. See (Illustration B). This is the TAS, and it concurs with the AFM (see both pictures below). The Ground Speed information allows the Time calculations (TIME MINS) and also, therefore, the Fuel Required - from the AFM or POH the fuel consumption is calculated as 6.6 Imp. Galls. per Hour. The Magnetic Headings (MAG HDG) are calculated by applying the chart VARIATION (VAR).

(Illustraion A above.)
Note: Do not confuse a meridian of Longitude for the degrees of variation. E.g. 3 deg W Longitude, but 3.5 deg W of Variation.

By applying the DEVIATION (DEV) the Compass Headings (COMP HDG) are calculated. (Note: The DEVIATION is not normally known at this stage of the planning process. The aircraft will have a Compass Deviation Card near the compass. This will give a For (Magnetic Heading) and Steer (Compass Heading) table.)
(Illustration B.)

Deviation Card >>>>>>>>>>

All the information is now available to complete the navigation plan or Pilot's Log - sometimes known as the PLOG.

On this PLOG the Estimated Remaining Fuel after holding for 45 minutes and having used all of the 10% Contingency, is 3.4 Imp. Galls. This equates to 31 minutes at 6.6 Imp. Galls. per Hour.

Note 1: The legs from EGBD to CB VRP and from EGTK to Charlbury VRP and from CB VRP to EGBD are VARIABLE in terms of TAS and TRU TRK. This is for two reasons: 1.) The aircraft will be climbing or desecending, and 2.) The departure runways are not yet established so the initial/final track is not fixed.

Note 2: No allowance has been made for the descent into EGTK because: 1.) the leg from BITTESWELL VRP is relatively long and 2.) to keep the PLOG reasonably straight forward.

Corrrection: In the above Pilot Log the Contingency should be 1.2 not 1.8.

Finally, it is necessary to complete the Weight and Balance Table. See below:

Note: It is a good idea to start the whole process of flight planning with a calculation of how much FUEL it is possible to load. Therefore, the Passenger and Baggage weights must be estimated accurately. The sum of these values, added to the Basic Empty Weight (Mass), are subtracted from the Maximum Allowable Take-off Weight (Mass) (MTW) for the Runway, Density Altitude & Wind Velocity values. This will be the maximum weight of fuel possible. The Weight and Balance Table also allows the calculation to be made in order to ensure that the aircraft is correctly loaded within the Centre Of Gravity Moment Envelope. See below:

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

PPL Ex 18 (xvi): Navigation Planning: Example: EGBD - EGTK - EGBD (Part 3: OXFORD AIRPORT - COSFORD T/P - EGBD)

(Click on an image to ENLARGE.)
Before departing OXFORD KIDLINGTON study the AERODROME CHART - ICAO. Aerodrome Index- Specific Oxford/Kidlington EGTK. Note where Twy A, Twy B and the Eastern Link Taxiways are. Runway 21/03 (880m) is grass. Runways 19/01 (1319m) and 29/11 (760m) are asphalt. All distances quoted are "balanced field" i.e. TORA = TODA = ASDA = LDA. Note the Magnetic Tracks of the runways from the chart: 206/026, 193/013 and 293/113-degrees respectively. We will assume that the ATIS has been received on 136.225 and that we will be taking off from RW 21. The expected taxi instructions on 121.950 are: "G-BJXZ cleared to taxi to B2 via taxiway Bravo and call Oxford Tower on 133.425."

Before take-off expect another frequency change to Oxford Approach 125.325 or Brize Radar 124.275. Remember to start the CHRONO at take-off. After take-off climb straight ahead to 750ft QFE (1,000ft QNH) before turning on course. (Note: It would be practical to depart with QNH set as the altimeter subscale setting.) It is important to remain clear of Brize Norton CTR. The Track(T)/Distance to CHARLBURY VRP is 289-deg/7nm. BUT after take-off to the southwest the track will be closer to 300-deg and the distance approximately 10nm. In other words the track/distance is variable depending on the runway for departure (as it was departing Derby Airfield).
The ICAO Chart clearly shows CHARLBURY VRP on the river (Stour) and railway line 3nm NW of Blenheim Palace. The river turns quite sharply SW approximately 1nm after CHARLBURY VRP, as does the railway line. Approaching CHARLBURY VRP reset the CHRONO to zero ready for starting overhead the VRP. Run through the FREDA checks. Brize Zone would probably appreciate a radio call at this point. "Brize Zone G-BJXZ for Flight Information Service." Steer accurately by LOOKING OUT!
Zero the CHRONO and turn NW onto the appropriate heading (HDG) to make good the Track(T) of 327-degress. Distance to COSFORD is 54.5nm. In approximately 7nm (4.3 minutes) the aircraft will be leaving the Brize Zone AIAA where we will be requesting a frequency change to Birmingham Approach 118.050. "Birmingham Approach G-BJXZ request Flight Information Service." "G-BJXZ pass your message." "G-BJXZ Cessna 172 Oxford to Derby via CHARLBURY VRP, COSFORD and CHURCH BROUGHTON VRP. Position abeam MORETON-IN-MARSH. 2,600ft. Request Flight Information Service." "G-XZ Flight Information Service. Birmingham QNH 1002." "Flight Information Service. QNH 1002. G-XZ"

Fly the HDG accurately by LOOKING OUT! The disused airfield at Moreton-in-Marsh should be visible at about 2nm left of track at approximately Chrono + 6.3 minutes from CHARLBURY VRP (3/4 of 1/4). As the aircraft approaches the R.Avon there is a Microlight Flying Site at Long Marston on our track and a Glider Launching Site at Bidford just left of track. It would be prudent to advise Birmingham Approach that you wish to leave their frequency for a short time in order to contact LONG MARSTON on 129.825. Keep a very good LOOKOUT for microlights and gliders. Note that we are crossing back into the Barnsley ASR.

Stratford-Upon-Avon should now be visible on the right side of the aircraft. The abeam position would be at approximately Chrono + 13 minutes with Alcester and then Redditch almost directly ahead. When clear of Long Marston re-contact Birmingham Approach. The southern outskirts of Redditch should be at Chrono + 18.0 minutes. Note the small lake between the major roads on the east side of the town. The aircraft is very close to the western boundary of the Birmingham CTA (2500' - FL145). Do NOT stray east of your intended track. It may be a good idea to dog-leg west of Redditch town (Rule 5), east of Bromsgrove and head for WOLVERHAMPTON HALFPENNY GREEN; a Track(T) of about 320-degrees. This will also keep the aircraft clear of the built-up area of Stourbridge (Rule 5!). At Chrono + 25 minutes (3/4 distance) the aircraft should cross the railway line from Stourbridge to Kidderminster. WOLVERHAMPTON HALFPENNY GREEN is 6.6nm ahead. Call HALFPENNY GREEN on 123.0 for clearance through the ATZ. From overhead HALFPENNY GREEN the Track(T)/Distance is 350-degrees/7nm to COSFORD. Call COSFORD on 138.875 for clearance through that ATZ. FREDA checks approaching COSFORD and remember the CHRONO.
Turn onto the HDG for CHURCH BROUGHTON. The Track(T)/Distance is 055-degrees/26nm. Steer accurately by LOOKING OUT! Re-contact Birmingham Approach. Looking ahead the track takes us very close to a Microlight Flying Sight at 1/4 distance which is adjacent to the M6 Motorway. A good LOOKOUT is essential. At 1/2 distance + 2nm the aircraft will cross road/river/railway line abeam Rugely Power Station (825ft AMSL). HIXON disused airfield on the left side. Of course the BIG FEATURE on this leg is the distinctive Blithfield Reservoir. The track will cross directly over the barrage wall. Keep a good lookout as the aircraft will be very close to the TATENHILL ATZ. If you have the capacity to call Tatenhill Radio, then do so on 124.075. At this point you should be descending towards the CHURCH BROUGHTON VRP and when clear of Tatenhill ATZ call DERBY RADIO on 118.350 for joining instructions: "Derby Radio G-BJXZ 4nm west of Church Broughton descending to 1,000ft for re-join." I think you are familiar with the re-join procedure!
Please do not hesitate to ask questions and give feedback on any Exercise covered so far.
Go to Part 4 ........

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

PPL Ex 18 (xv): Navigation Planning: Example: EGBD - Oxford EGTK - Derby EGBD (Part 2: BITTESWELL VRP - OXFORD AIRPORT)

Click on an image to ENLARGE.

The next leg is BITTESWELL VRP to OXFORD AIRPORT. The Track(T) is 184-degrees and the Distance is 37nm. For the time being we will remain in radio contact with Coventry Approach (118.250). Obviously the same disciplines apply as before. CHRONO & HEADING.

The first ground feature of note is: The M6 Motorway crossing the track at 90-degrees. There is also a gas venting station (GVS) a mile west of track. Note the masts just east of Rugby town. These are 1,188ft AMSL. At 2,600ft AMSL we are SAFE as far as terrain & obstacles are concerned. Flying over Rugby town at 2,600ft AMSL we are approximately 2,200ft AGL - this may not be high enough to land clear in the event of engine failure (Rule 5). It may be necessary to dog-leg around the town.
The next features after Rugby are the M45 Motorway and then DRAYCOTT WATER VRP which is just to the right of the track just before 1/4 distance. (Click on the image to ENLARGE.)
You will notice that ahead - just after Banbury town - is the OXFORD AIAA (Area of Intense Aerial Activity - see picture above). Thinking ahead it is therefore necessary to leave Coventry Approach and call BRIZE ZONE on 124.275 for a Flight Information Service OR Radar Information Service. "Brize Zone this is G-BJXZ for Flight Information Service." "G-BJXZ pass your message." "G-BJXZ Cessna 172 from Derby to Oxford via Chipping Warden VRP. Position abeam Daventry VOR. 2,600ft. Request Flight Information Service." Brize Norton will give you the information, weather and assistance that they can. Think ahead because you may be asked for your ETA at Chipping Warden VRP and at Oxford Airport. Also think about the next frequency change - Oxford Approach 125.325. The OXFORD ATIS is broadcast on 136.225. Note: At OXFORD circuits are variable in direction and the circuit height for fixed wing aircraft is 1,200ft QFE.

Okay - back to the navigation. You will notice that DTY VOR is just east of the track. This can be used to aid our position fixes as required (but more of this at the radio navigation stage of the PPL course.)

CHIPPING WARDEN VRP (which happens to be on route) is at the 1/2 distance. 1.5nm before CHIPPING WARDEN VRP is a lake which should be a good feature to associate with the VRP. Notice that the ASR (Altimeter Setting Region) changes at CHIPPING WARDEN to COTSWOLD ASR.

The M40 Motorway and Banbury town are now just ahead and right of our track. Keep the aircraft just to the east of Banbury and keep a VERY GOOD LOOKOUT for free-fall parachuting and gliders at HINTON IN THE HEDGES and thereafter WESTON ON THE GREEN (a Danger Area D129/FL120 extensively used for Military Parachute Training which features in the LEGEND NOTES.)

The Banbury to Oxford railway line more or less leads us into Oxford Kidlington. We should, by now, have been released by Brize Zone and be in contact with Oxford Approach on 125.325. "Oxford Approach G-BJXZ for joining instructions." "G-BJXZ pass your message." "G-BJXZ Cessna 172 Derby to Oxford via CHIPPING WARDEN VRP. Position east abeam Banbury. 2,600ft. Request joining and landing instructions." Oxford Approach will pass you the RW (runway) in use, QFE, the W/V (wind direction & speed) and any other relevant information including traffic information. You may be asked for your ETA at OX. (Note: Oxford Airport is strictly PPR. Download all the information that you need from which should take you to the link Look at Aerodrome Index - Specific.
Go To: Part 3

Sunday, 7 September 2008

PPL Ex 18 (xiv): Navigation Planning: Example: EGBD - EGTK - EGBD (Part 1: CBVRP - LICVRP - BITTESWELL VRP)

The Plan is a flight from EGBD to Oxford Kidlington EGTK via CHURCH BROUGHTON VRP, LICHFIELD VRP and BITTESWELL VRP. Land at Oxford for lunch. Then depart Oxford and fly via CHARLBURY VRP, COSFORD AERODROME & CHURCH BROUGHTON VRP to EGBD.
(Click on any image to ENLARGE.) The first image is an OVERVIEW of the planned route. Note: No Winds have been applied in these examples. The assumption is that we are always 'on track'. See other Navigation Exercises for explanations & examples of TAS/HDG/VAR/DEV/GS/MAX DRIFT/TWC/HWC/XWC/HA/1:60 rule etc.

The first leg is to CBVRP - this is a variable depending on the runway in use. The second leg is CBVRP - LICVRP which is 197-deg (T)/10.5nm. Having zeroed the CHRONO over CBVRP continue the en route climb to 2,600ft AMSL (QNH) and advise Derby Radio: "G-BJXZ overhead Church Broughton departing the circuit to the southwest and changing to Tatenhill Radio 124.075." Make contact with Tatenhill Radio: "Tatenhill Radio G-BJXZ." "G-XZ pass your message." "G-XZ a Cessna 172 from Derby to Oxford via Church Broughton & LICVRP. Position 2nm SW CBVRP at 2400ft climbing to 2600ft. Overflying your ATZ. Request traffic information" If the radio is manned, Tatenhill will acknowledge your call & give you the QFE, the RW in use and information about any known traffic. When clear of Tatenhill ATZ advise Tatenhill Radio that you are changing to Birmingham Approach. Contact Birmingham Approach on frequency 118.050: "Birmingham Approach G-BJXZ request Flight Information Service." "G-BJXZ pass your message." "G-BJXZ Cessna 172 from Derby to Oxford via LICVRP & Bitteswell VRP. 2nm NE LICVRP at 2600ft. Request Flight Information Service." Birmingham will acknowledge your radio call and give you the Birmingham QNH. You may also be asked to Sqwark a code other than 7000. You may also be asked for an ETA at Bitteswell.
Keep a good lookout. Fly your HDG (heading) accurately and keep good CHRONO discipline. As you approach LICVRP do the FREDA checks. Note 1: The 1501ft AMSL mast just to the left of the extended track. The MEF  (Maximum Elevation Figure) here is 1.6 (thousand feet) so we are safe at 2,600ft on Birmingham QNH. Note 2: The proximity of Birmingham CTA on the right of track and East Midlands CTA on the left.

Note the GVS just north of LICVRP. Over LICVRP turn onto the next HDG and make sure that the CHRONO is running. The Track(T) is 127-degrees and the Distance to Bitteswell VRP is 25nm.

The ground features to look for on this leg are (in order): The lake just NE of Tamworth town. The M42 Motorway just after 1/4 leg distance. Nuneaton VRP just after 1/2 distance. Hinckley town and Railway Line at 3/4 distance then M69 Motorway. Then Bitteswell VRP. Note 3: Birmingham may ask you to contact Coventry Approach on 119.250 because you will be flying through the extended ILS (Instrument Landing System) approach. It is probably prudent to call Coventry Approach anyway!

Go To Part 2 ..............

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Your Flight Planning Has Been Done - Now enjoy the VIEW: A friend in Johannesburg - from way back.

Weather & NOTAMs? CHECKED.
Flight planning? COMPLETED.

Weight & Balance? CALCULATED.
Aircraft? CHECKED.

Fuel & Oil? CHECKED A/R.
Passengers? BRIEFED.

OK - Let's GO!