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ILSFREAK

Own Flight Planning

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Very good day

I just want to know what real pilots do in flight planning over unknown terrain  for  longish distances, IF you have to fly WITHOUT Gps, using only compass, VOR, and  NDB'S (Not talking about the official side flight planning)

Do you use only sectional charts

Do you make your "own" map with airports near or along the route with ILS data, Comms freq. distances from planned route.

Do you beforehand take maybe Vor's / ILS beacons along the route and use them with their radials and distances to use as cross check for your own position

How far do you space your alternate airports from each other, and do you write all their info on a separate place or will you only use the sectional in an emergency

Might be some stupid questions, but really would like to know how you guys approach such situations, as i would also like to sometimes go through the whole drill when simming

Thank you

 

 

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16 minutes ago, ILSFREAK said:

would like to know how you guys approach such situations

flight school ...........

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for now, cheers

john martin

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7 minutes ago, vadriver said:

flight school ...........

That honestly made me chuckle. Not subtle, so direct, two words! :biggrin:

 

To the OP - are you going to be flying VFR or IFR? Either way sectional charts would be good, but with VFR then you have the opportunity to look out for and use local landmarks and terrain features. Google Maps with satellite and street view (where available) is very useful in this day and age IMHO because you may be able clearly see such features in relation to local airports and beacons.

Speaking of beacons - YES! use them and their radials and Distance Measuring Equipment - that's why your plane comes equipped with a radio navigation suite (hopefully!). 

As to how far apart to space your alternate airports I suppose that would depend upon the minimum fuel to take on board to divert to the alternate: If you have to carry enough fuel for a minimum 30 minutes flying time etc. etc. You may not be required to take on board any additional fuel, nor might there be an alternate airport in the vicinity of your destination. In that case you might elect to cut the flight short and land at an airport somewhere along your flightpath (which you planned to fly close to obviously :tongue:)

YES - make notes of pertinent airports and their data along your route.

Some pilots (real world) either fold up sectional charts so that their route is visible, or indeed they cut up the charts and tape them together to follow their route, and often write on the chart too .This could get quite expensive given that you're only doing this in a flight sim and would not want to go out and buy loads of paper sectional maps to play origami with.:wink:

I was oging to post a link to an old video about an RAF student pilot doing some flight planning prior to a sortie, but I cannot seem to find it. 

 

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Mark Robinson

Part-time Ferroequinologist

Author of FLIGHT: A near-future short story (ebook available on amazon)

I made the baby cry - A2A Simulations L-049 Constellation

Sky Simulations MD-11 V2.2 Pilot. The best "lite" MD-11 money can buy (well, it's not freeware!)

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4 hours ago, ILSFREAK said:

I just want to know what real pilots do in flight planning over unknown terrain  for  longish distances, IF you have to fly WITHOUT Gps, using only compass, VOR, and  NDB'S (Not talking about the official side flight planning)

Do you use only sectional charts

Do you make your "own" map with airports near or along the route with ILS data, Comms freq. distances from planned route.

Do you beforehand take maybe Vor's / ILS beacons along the route and use them with their radials and distances to use as cross check for your own position

Yes. Charts. Yes, develop a plan with each VOR/NDB, and even interim intersects.  Radial in, radial out. Distance.  Expected winds.  Ground speed. Expected times between enroute waypoints. 

I used an erasable clipboard card (some form of plastic composition), and I still have it.  I also created a better model for my purposes as a pdf file and would print a copy for each flight.  That was a number of years back and I doubt I can come up with the pdf at this time.

And use of an E6B flight computer....

There are a number of online sites you can use today to view digital charts for your planning purposes.  Skyvector.com and Fltplan.com are two that I use routinely.  If you learn to use the Windows Key + Shift key +S key combination to capture portions of your computer screen you can paste the captured image into various Windows apps and print them for your clipboard.  I just used that routine to capture and past the images below.

Today, however, is quite a different day and age in this regard of flight planning....

image.png.a8559887bf18e1be980669bf67b1201c.png          image.png.d21c82c9e280c10c0eabaab7e771b548.png

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Frank Patton
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5 hours ago, HighBypass said:

That honestly made me chuckle. Not subtle, so direct, two words! :biggrin:

 

To the OP - are you going to be flying VFR or IFR? Either way sectional charts would be good, but with VFR then you have the opportunity to look out for and use local landmarks and terrain features. Google Maps with satellite and street view (where available) is very useful in this day and age IMHO because you may be able clearly see such features in relation to local airports and beacons.

Speaking of beacons - YES! use them and their radials and Distance Measuring Equipment - that's why your plane comes equipped with a radio navigation suite (hopefully!). 

As to how far apart to space your alternate airports I suppose that would depend upon the minimum fuel to take on board to divert to the alternate: If you have to carry enough fuel for a minimum 30 minutes flying time etc. etc. You may not be required to take on board any additional fuel, nor might there be an alternate airport in the vicinity of your destination. In that case you might elect to cut the flight short and land at an airport somewhere along your flightpath (which you planned to fly close to obviously :tongue:)

YES - make notes of pertinent airports and their data along your route.

Some pilots (real world) either fold up sectional charts so that their route is visible, or indeed they cut up the charts and tape them together to follow their route, and often write on the chart too .This could get quite expensive given that you're only doing this in a flight sim and would not want to go out and buy loads of paper sectional maps to play origami with.:wink:

I was oging to post a link to an old video about an RAF student pilot doing some flight planning prior to a sortie, but I cannot seem to find it. 

 

Superb reply to help the OP out, Mark. And a Happy New Year to you as a fellow Lancastrian.

Hope to return to flightsimming latter in the year once the despondency of MSFS, etc has settled.

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Thank you for the kind words, Rick! Back at you re: 2021 🍻


Mark Robinson

Part-time Ferroequinologist

Author of FLIGHT: A near-future short story (ebook available on amazon)

I made the baby cry - A2A Simulations L-049 Constellation

Sky Simulations MD-11 V2.2 Pilot. The best "lite" MD-11 money can buy (well, it's not freeware!)

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As far as real life (or your sim if you like) is concerned, the gist of it is that you look up and record as much information as you require/think you'll need at the pre-flight planning stage, so that the terrain you are flying over isn't 'unknown' to you at least in regard to what you plan to do to successfully navigate it.

You can call up a flight info service for weather, or look at an online forecast site (in your sim, if you use real weather, look at the website windy.com). You'd obviously check NOTAMS for the route too, since you don't want to inadvertently fly through somewhere there's a military exercise taking place and end up with a missile up the wazoo, or find that a nav aid you had planned to use will be switched off that day for maintenance or some such (not likely in a sim, but this kind of thing happens in the real world).

For the routing plan, you could use charts, or an app for a tablet or such (quite common these days), or both. It's not a good idea to rely solely on something like an iPad (they can crash, or get coffee spilled on them and break etc), whereas there has never in the entire history of aviation, ever been a recorded instance of a paper chart running out of battery power. Be aware that for long-range navigation, flat paper charts cannot completely accurately depict the ground you are passing over, since they cannot properly project the curved surface of the earth onto the two dimensional surface of a map, so this is where modern apps and GPS screens do a better job, as they really do use a sphere for their depiction.

It is a good idea to write down stuff on a kneeboard, or a notepad or some such, even a page of A4 blutacked to a side panel will do; with frequencies and headings for nav aids, frequencies for ATC, planned headings, triangulated directions to other beacons for position checks, points where you cross airspace boundaries, what your expected fuel burn at various points will be, what your approximate time at a location will be, what would be good diversion airports along the route, visual terrain features along your route which you could recognise and such. Basically as much info as you can get, but in a well organised fashion which you are sure you will be able to comprehend whilst flying, since it means you can do things such as cueing up the next expected frequency on your nav and comms radios. 

If it is at night, it's also a good idea to have one of those head-mounted torch things, since flying a plane in the dark manually whilst holding a torch, and a chart, and a pen, and an E6B, and a cup of coffee, requires five hands, although in a sim you can cheat with a flashlight toggle and the pause button.

A convenient thing you can use to note things down such as a frequency ATC might give you or a series of turns or some such, is a grease pencil; you write the information on a cockpit side window, since this is easily to hand, big enough to write quite a lot on, and you can see the writing against the sky. You can wipe it clean with your sleeve (or a tissue if you are posh), rather than faffing about trying to look for a notepad or kneeboard or whatever. You can note this down permanently in a notebook or on a kneeboard when you have time and then wipe the window clean, although in a sim, you'd obviously just scribble it on a bit of paper or a spiral-bound notebook (useful for your flight sim stuff, since it will lie flat and stay on the page you turn to).

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Alan Bradbury

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34 minutes ago, Chock said:

so that the terrain you are flying over isn't 'unknown' to you at least in regard to what you plan to do to successfully navigate it.

to add / amplify ........... in 3 dimensions (& the 4th of day vs night)


for now, cheers

john martin

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23 hours ago, ILSFREAK said:

Do you use only sectional charts

VFR flying with no use of Ipad/ tablets:

For longer flights I sometimes combine the larger 1:250 000 scale (more detailed map, standard for our sectionals) with smaller 1:500 000 scale (ICAO sectional, less detail but covers larger area). Also I have a big binder with every airport in my country and their relevant VFR charts. I use 5 min marks on the route of the 1:250 000 sectionals so I can easily follow up my fuel situation and actual time over WPT in the pilot log.

 

23 hours ago, ILSFREAK said:

Do you make your "own" map with airports near or along the route with ILS data, Comms freq. distances from planned route

No I use  sectionals and also bring out every airport chart on to my chart clip relevant for the route, which has most data you need. On my pilog log I have a "Radio COM/NAV" section where all expected ATC frequencies and Navaids are listed

 

23 hours ago, ILSFREAK said:

Do you beforehand take maybe Vor's / ILS beacons along the route and use them with their radials and distances to use as cross check for your own position

Yes, I always keep a VOR active on NAV 1 and in my DME. But you'd be surprised how accurate you can fly in remote terrain by just maintaining the planned heading for x amount of minutes.

 

23 hours ago, ILSFREAK said:

How far do you space your alternate airports from each other, and do you write all their info on a separate place or will you only use the sectional in an emergency

I don't have a fixed NM criteria for alternates. But I am aware of where suitable airports (or any area that I could land on) are located on my charts.

As I wrote earlier, I have a clip of those  suitable airports along my route with visual approach chart + airport information. Sectionals are very poor in describing airports cabapilities (is it even open? Can I re-fuel there? Is the surface maintained in winter times? Can rescue vehicles - or any vehicles-  reach this airport easily, it may sound dumb but around here many smaller fields are located in remote areas where the only road to the field is secured by a locked gate or steel bar.)

Obviously check/do before flight:

  • Phone number to any Tower along your route (very handy if you have COM-failure)
  • Aircraft docs
  • Weather
  • NOTAM (any navaids inop? Are the all controlled areas open? Restriction areas?)
  • PPR/PN (this is more and more becoming compulsory, TWR wants to know when you depart and expect to arrive, even if you have filed a valid flightplan)
  • ATS flightplan

We all have our own procedures for flightplanning. There are some great information in this thread already

Edited by SAS443
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EASA PPL SEPL ( NQ , EFIS, Variable Pitch, SLPC, Retractable undercarriage)
B23 / PA32R / PA28 / DA40 / C172S 

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