The thing with learning to fly is, that no matter how long you think it is going to take you’re probably going to have to double it. Especially if you’re learning in the UK in the middle of winter. Short days and inclement weather join together to make the larger part of most days, unflyable in VFR (Visual Flight Rules) conditions. It’s just something I have learned to accept and not get frustrated over.
This time away from the clouds however has enable me to engage in a little ground-school and learn the very basics of navigation. I have to say that this, along with exams was something that was playing on my mind… all those lines, angles and calculations, heights, danger-zones, ATZ’s, MATZ and other such perils, how to tell one end of a chart from the other, how to use some of the functions of a CRP-1 flight computer and work out where in the heck one might be at any given time during a planned flight.
Sitting down with all of this information was MIND BLOWING… or was it?
I was panicing that this was going to be like going back to school… an old dog learning new tricks, but navigation, like any aspect of flying is really quite simple when you break it down into components, into smaller steps.
Much of the information you need is available from the chart, safe altitudes, ATZ’s, controlled zones etc and for the information you don’t have, such as wind speed and direction, a quick scan over the Met-Office will give you this (but remember, this is only ‘predicted’ it will invariably change when you’re in the air and enroute). The rest of the information and numbers you need, such as ‘true track’ and ‘ground speed’ you can work out with the details you have, using the CRP-1 flight computer (or whiz-wheel).
Really, it is nowhere near as daunting as you (rather I) might believe it is… so simple in-fact that i’ll soon produce a short film on “how to do basic navigation” (just let me practice a bit more first eh?)
On a side note, I am slowly studying towards another three exams. Aircraft General Knowledge, Operational Procedures and Principles of flight. I get the Principles of flight, thats basic engineering, but I keep getting caught out by the whole TORA, TODA and ASDA acronyms…
… and what equals what. But practice makes perfect right? Study Study Study… can’t wait for the next step!
Here’s the video… First Navigation and a wobbly landing!