Monday, 1 September 2008


(Click on an image to ENLARGE! )

Use the 'BIG' features en route.

  • Blithfield reservoir is a good feature to look ahead for , and is very distinctive.

In Flight:

Having planned your flight accurately with the best information available, and having checked the NOTAMS at you are now ready to fly the flight.

From my experience here are some GOOD PRACTICE points:

  • Remember your CHRONO discipline
  • Orientate your chart to the direction of your TRACK
  • Learn the meaning of the Chart Symbols
    It is not practical to unfold your chart in flight in order to check a legend symbol
    See a previous AEROfile entry re cutting & pasting the LEGEND into an A5 ClearView folder
  • Fly the calculated Compass Heading as accurately as possible – HEADING discipline
    Use the Direction Indicator to turn onto the required heading, THEN use an aiming point near the horizon
  • Same principle with ALTITUDE – use the VISUAL HORIZON. Ex 6 Straight & Level Flight
  • Resynchronise the DI with the Compass at least every 15 minutes
  • Keep a very good LOOKOUT for other aircraft
  • Identify the ‘Big Features’ en route
    E.g. Reservoirs, Lakes, Dams, Cities, VRPs etc. on or either side of the track
    Rivers, Canals, Railway Lines, Motorways etc; which cross your track
  • Lookout for Aerials, Masts, High Ground which you will also have identified during the flight planning stage
  • Read from the Ground to the Chart
  • Keep aware of the terrain and obstacles close to your planned route
  • Always know what the MAXIMUM ELEVATION FIGURE (MEF) is and add a safe increment to it.
    NB: The MEF is NOT a safety altitude
  • Keep the SITUATION AWARENESS mode going
    Danger Areas, Restricted Areas, AIAAs, CTRs, CTZs, ATZs, Gliding Sites etc
    Gross Error Checks: Does It Look Right?
  • Try to assess what the W/V is actually doing with regards to HEADING and GROUNDSPEED
    If the clouds are FEW or SCATTERED (FEW or SCT) and the sun is shining, you may be able to assess the wind direction and speed from the cloud shadows!
  • Use [(60/D1) X d1] + [(60/D2) X d1] = HA as described in Navigation 18 (xiii) above. WHY? Because it is easier to estimate distance off than angle off.
  • Beware: Do not mistake large areas of plastic sheeting, or greenhouses, for water features. At a distance, light reflection can be very deceptive!
  • Always think ahead of the aircraft
  • Anticipate the radio calls to the ATSUs that you have to contact
    The frequencies are printed on the chart
    See R/T Phraseology previous AEROfile entry
  • Get weather reports as required en route
    If the weather deteriorates to less than your required minima:
    Divert, or turn back
    Ask for assistance

    Navigation is a big subject. Do not just rely on the GPS. Use a GPS wisely AND also apply the principles of Pilot Navigation as discussed here in AEROfile and from your PPL Navigation Manual.

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