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VFR Flight Planning Notes

1. Ensure that you have the current sectional and Airport/Facilities Directory (AFD) 2. Draw a course line, or route, on the sectional from your departure point to your destination a. You can chose to go direct from point to point or non-direct with multiple segments i. As an example, a non-direct route may provide better check points or the ability to navigate using VOR b. Place and label tic-marks in 10 mile increments going from departure to destination i. One side of the line depicts miles traveled, the other side depicts miles to go, for example:
3 13 23 Miles to go 43 53 63 73 20 10 Departure 30 40 Miles traveled 50 33 70 60 80 83 Destination

c. As you conduct your flight, keep your thumb moving along your course line i. At a glance you will know how far to go 1. You will also know how far to get back in case of bad weather, etc. ii. This aids in providing situational awareness 3. Conduct a map recon a. Survey the type of terrain over which you will be flying i. Is it suitable for an off-airport emergency landing? ii. If necessary, plan a suitable survival kit for cold weather, inaccessible terrain, etc. b. Determine the minimum safe altitude for the route i. Look for towers, hill tops, etc. c. Determine the type of airspace being traversed, for example (but not limited to): i. Any prohibited areas? ii. Any restricted areas? 1. If so, when are they active? iii. Any MOAs? 1. If so, when are they active? iv. Any National Security Areas? v. Any MTRs? vi. Any parachute jump areas?

vii. Any class B, C, or D airspace? 1. Are you prepared to fly through that airspace? 2. Is your aircraft equipped to fly through that airspace? d. Look for alternate airports along the route should they be needed for any unforeseen problems or weather 4. Select checkpoints along the route a. Pick checkpoints with distinctive features that can be easily identified from the air i. Checkpoints used to verify your location along your course are useful only if they can be positively identified b. Avoid using single common landmarks, such as water towers, since these can look the same for different locations c. Avoid using small towns whenever possible since they all look similar from the air d. Intersecting lines provide good landmarks, such as a combination of intersecting roads, railroad tracks, rivers, pipelines, and/or power lines e. Parts of rivers can be good landmarks if they exhibit truly distinguishing characteristics i. For example, if a fairly straight river has a definite bend, that can be useful but do not use river bends as landmarks if the river has many bends in it f. Fill out checkpoints in the navigation log as indicated below:

Power plant Pumping station

5. If a VOR is to be used for navigation, list its identifier and frequency on the navigation log 6. Use the plotter to determine the route of flight. This is also known as the true course (TC) and will be carried over to another column of the navigation log. a. Place the small hole of the plotter over a line of longitude and then align the long edge of the plotter along your route b. Make sure that you use the appropriate scale for your direction of flight c. Fill out accordingly in the navigation log as indicated below: as indicated below

Power plant Pumping station 060

7. Determine the best altitude for the course a. When above 3,000 AGL fly: i. 0 to 179 - Odd thousands MSL plus 500 feet ii. 180 to 359 - Even thousands MSL plus 500 feet b. Fill out accordingly in the navigation log as indicated below:

Power plant Pumping station 060 5500

8. Obtain a good weather briefing before moving on to the next steps a. Call 1-800-WX BRIEF b. Read the How to Obtain a Good Weather Briefing handout for complete guidance on: i. How to request a weather briefing ii. What type of briefing to request iii. What is contained in a weather briefing 9. From the weather briefing, fill in the winds and temperatures as indicated below:

Power plant Pumping station 060 5500

020 18 04

10. Compute and fill in the true airspeed (TAS) for the route segment being flown a. Fill in the flight planed calibrated airspeed (CAS) i. Remember that CAS is indicated airspeed (IAS) corrected for installation and position error ii. CAS can be found in the POH/AFM iii. A different CAS may be necessary for climbs and descents b. Use the E6-B to compute TAS based on the altitude selected and the reported temperature c. Fill out CAS and TAS accordingly in the navigation log as indicated below:
110

Power plant Pumping station 060 5500

020 18 04

119

11. Compute the true heading (TH) a. True heading (TH) is true course (TC) corrected for winds Bring the course as derived using your plotter to this column b. Correct the true course for the winds and note the wind correction angle (WCA), or the direction in which you will turn into the wind to establish your crab angle i. TH = TC Left cross wind component as derived from the E6-B or ii. TH = TC + Right cross wind component as derived from the E6-B c. Fill out accordingly in the navigation log as indicated below: i. Notice how the math works: the true course of 060 minus a left WCA of 6 equals the true heading of 054
110

Power plant Pumping station 060 5500

020 18 04

119

060 -6

054

12. Compute the magnetic heading (MH) a. Magnetic heading (MH) is true heading (TH) corrected for variation b. MH = TH + West Variation, or, MC = TC East Variation c. Magnetic variation is found by locating the closes isogonic line to your route i. Isogonic lines are the dashed magenta lines on the sectional 1. Will depict the degrees of magnetic variation (i.e. 4E, 6W, etc.) a. Add westerly variation to true course b. Subtract easterly variation from true course d. Fill in the magnetic variation in the navigation log, compute the magnetic heading, and note it in the navigation log as indicated below:
110

Power plant Pumping station 060 5500

020 18 04

119

060 -6

054 -5

49

13. Compute the compass heading (CH) a. Compass heading (CH) is magnetic heading (MH) corrected for magnetic deviation b. Obtain the deviation from the specific aircraft you will be flying and add or subtract as appropriate c. Fill in the magnetic deviation in the navigation log, compute the compass heading, and note it in the navigation log as indicated below:
110

Power plant Pumping station 060 5500

020 18 04

119

060 -6

054 -5

49 +2

51

14. Use the plotter to measure distance a. Measure each segment as well as the total route b. Make sure that you use the appropriate scale and mileage i. Scale needs to be 1:500,000 for sectional c. Note the distance on the navigation log according to the next few steps: i. Note the total distance at the top of the column as a beginning point ii. Note the leg distance for the next leg on the next line down iii. Subtract that leg distance from the distance above it to derive the distance remaining and note it on the next line down iv. Repeat steps ii iii for all remaining legs v. Note accordingly in the navigation log as indicated below:
110 128 060 5500 020 18 04 119 060 -6 054 -5 49 +2 51 16 112

Power plant Pumping station

15. Compute your estimated ground speed (GS) and note it on the navigation log a. The top box of the leg is for the estimate i. Fill it out during flight planning b. The bottom box of the leg is for the actual ground speed computed during flight i. Fill it out during flight and compare to your estimate for that leg 1. Make any speed adjustments and/or notifications that may be necessary c. Fill out each legs estimated GS on the navigation log as indicated below:
110 128 060 5500 020 18 04 119 060 -6 054 -5 49 +2 51 16 112 105

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16. Compute the estimated time enroute (ETE) and estimated time of arrival (ETA) for each leg a. Compute the ETE in minutes and seconds for each leg using the E6-B b. Add the ETE to your estimated time of departure for the first ETA c. Add the ETE to the preceding ETA for the remaining legs d. Note each legs ETE and ETA on the navigation log as indicated below:
110 128 060 5500 020 18 04 119 060 -6 054 -5 49 +2 51 16 112 105 9:09 1:09:09

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17. Compute fuel burn a. Note the number of gallons on board at the top of the column b. Compute the fuel burned on each leg using the E6-B and note in the top box of the leg c. For the first leg, subtract the fuel burned on the leg from the number of gallons on board and note the difference in the bottom box of the leg to derive the fuel remaining d. For each subsequent leg, subtract the fuel burned on the leg from the previous fuel remaining and note the difference in the bottom box of the leg to derive the fuel remaining e. Note the fuel burn on the navigation log as indicated below:
110 128 060 5500 020 18 04 119 060 -6 054 -5 49 +2 51 16 112 105 9:09 1:09:09 1.5 38.5 40

Power plant Pumping station

18. File a flight plan with the Flight Service Station (FSS) a. Call 1-800-WX BRIEF i. Notify as student or private pilot as necessary 19. Fly the cross-country by using a combination of pilotage, dead reckoning, and radio navigation (unless on type of navigation is prohibited on a dual flight to emphasize another) a. REMEMBER TO OPEN THE FLIGHT PLAN b. Remember to start a time-count both at the beginning of the flight and at the beginning of each leg c. Remember to update the navigation log after each leg i. Make adjustments to time, heading, etc. based upon your updates to the navigation log ii. Update ETA to FSS if necessary d. A common error that gets many pilots lost while flying cross-country is to make the map fit the terrain i. Dont convince yourself you are somewhere youre not e. When in the air, do not get too focused on one landmark evaluate the whole picture to ensure you have the right perspective and location f. Use the navigation log to help verify you are where you should be at a specific time 20. CLOSE THE FLIGHT PLAN!!! a. Search and Rescue (S&R) will automatically commence 30 minutes past the flight plan ETA as computed by time off plus estimated time enroute b. It has been estimated to cost approximately $40,000 per hour for S&R i. Costs incurred by the government for S&R have been levied against those persons that simply forget to close a flight plan and thus launching an unnecessary and expensive S&R 1. Remember four things a. You are required to open and close a flight plan when flying HSU aircraft on cross-countries b. S&R can cost over $40,000 per hour c. The phone call to close the flight plan is free d. The choice of paying $40,000+ or placing a free phone call is yours