Flight planning
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Flight Planning. Plan the flight, fly the plan. Technique. 1. Plot Course a. Get true course b. Select checkpoints (9 – 22nm) c. Start nav log 2- Weather briefing a. Go/no-go decision b. Adjust route if necessary c. Select altitude 3- Performance Calculations a. Wt/Bal

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Flight Planning

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Flight planning

Flight Planning

Plan the flight, fly the plan


Technique

Technique

1. Plot Course

a. Get true course

b. Select checkpoints (9 – 22nm)

c. Start nav log

2- Weather briefing

a. Go/no-go decision

b. Adjust route if necessary

c. Select altitude

3- Performance Calculations

a. Wt/Bal

b. Takeoff/ldg dist

c. Time/fuel/dist to climb

d. Time/fuel in cruise

e. Complete nav log

4- File if desired and execute


Plot course

Plot Course

  • Using your plotter, draw a line from center of departure point to center of destination airport

    • Look for hazards along your route

      • Special Use Airspace

      • Terrain

      • Large bodies of water

    • Adjust course if necessary

  • Find your true course

    • Lay plotter down with top edge along route

    • Place center on a line of longitude

    • Read true course on East or West scale

  • Mark mileage in 5 or 10 mile intervals on your route

  • Example: SBN to SMD (Smith Field in Fort Wayne)


Checkpoint selection

Checkpoint Selection

  • What makes a good checkpoint?

    • Precision

      • An intersection of two roads is more precise than the point where your course is supposed to intersect a road

    • Visibility

      • Radio towers make poor checkpoints because they are difficult to see from the air

      • Airports make great checkpoints because they are very easy to see from the air

    • Distinctiveness

      • Using a lake as a checkpoint when flying across New Mexico makes sense

      • Using a lake as a checkpoint when flying across east Texas increases your odds of mistakenly identifying your checkpoint


Checkpoint selection1

Checkpoint Selection

  • Selecting the first checkpoint

    • Should be within 5-10 miles of departure point

      • Establishes your initial heading as correct

  • Additional checkpoints

    • Select additional checkpoints every 9 – 22 miles thereafter

  • Example:

    • I chose the following checkpoints:

      • Golden Dome / Basilica (initial point)

      • Bypass road south of Elkhart

      • Syracuse

      • Merriam


Weather briefing

Weather Briefing

  • Get a weather briefing from an official source

    • 1-800-WX-BRIEF

    • DUAT or DUATS

  • Make a go/no-go decision

    • “VFR flight not recommended”

    • Conditions beyond your ability

      • Winds

      • MVFR or IFR clouds and weather

      • Convective activity

      • Precipitation

  • Adjust route if necessary

  • Select altitude

    • Winds Aloft will inform this decision


Performance calculations

Performance Calculations

  • Weight and Balance

    • Weight information will be required for performance calculations

    • Example: Assume max gross weight

  • Takeoff / Landing distance

    • Ensure your aircraft is capable of making it out of your departure airport and in/out of your destination airport


Performance calculations1

Performance Calculations

  • Time / Fuel / Distance to Climb

    • Cessna charts make this calculation very simple

    • Take value at your cruise altitude and subtract value from departure pressure altitude

    • Make approximations as appropriate

      • There is no need calculate to a level of precision beyond what is given in the chart

      • Therefore, find:

        • Time to the nearest minute

        • Fuel to the nearest tenth gallon

        • Distance to the nearest mile


Performance calculations2

Performance Calculations

  • Time / Fuel / Distance to Climb Example

    • Climb from SBN (799 ft) to 4,500 ft

    • Weather:

      • SBN 07010G15 10SM CLR 13/M02 A2997

    • Approximations

      • Difference between pressure alt. & true alt is 50 feet, negligible

      • Difference between SBN elevation and 1000 foot entries is negligible

    • Values for 4,500 feet (by interpolation)

      • Time: 7 min

      • Fuel: 1.7 (conservative estimates dictate rounding up)

      • Distance: 10 miles (only valid in zero wind)

    • Values for 1,000 feet

      • Time: 1 min

      • Fuel: 0.4 gal

      • Distance: 2 miles

    • Climb totals

      • Time: (7 – 1) = 6 minutes

      • Fuel (1.7 - .4 ) = 1.3 (+ 1.1 for tax & takeoff) = 2.4 gal

      • Wind is nonzero, so note avg climb speed: 76 knots


Performance calculations3

Performance Calculations

  • Before we can complete nav log, we need to find our top of climb (TOC) & top of descent (TOD) points

  • Procedure

    • Use Winds Aloft to find groundspeed

    • Use time-to-climb to find distance

  • Example

    • Winds Aloft

      30006000

      FWA04163615

    • For climb, use winds at 3000

    • Interpolate: winds at cruise altitude (4,500) are 020 at 16


Performance calculations4

Performance Calculations

  • E6-B

    • Turn to wind side

    • Set wind direction (040) opposite true index

    • Mark wind velocity (16) up from grommet

    • Set true course (123) opposite true index

    • Slide the TAS arc (76) under the wind dot

    • Read ground speed under grommet (72)

    • Read wind correction angle at wind dot (12 deg left)


Performance calculations5

Performance Calculations

  • Top of Climb point

    • Turn to computer side of E6-B

      • First question: How fast?

        • 72 (our calculated groundspeed for the climb)

      • Earlier, we computed the climb would take 6 minutes

      • Read distance (7.2) above minute (6) scale

        • For the mathematically astute, 6 minutes is 1/10 of an hour, so the TOC distance is a tenth of our groundspeed


Performance calculations6

Performance Calculations

  • Top of Descent point

    • Figure a 500 foot per minute descent

      • From 4500 to 1800 (Traffic Pattern Altitude at SMD) is a 2700 foot descent, or 5.4 minutes

    • 130 knots is a good descent airspeed in the 172

    • Use same winds (040 at 16)

    • Flip to wind side of E6-B

      • Wind dot is still valid; slide up to 130 knot TAS arc

      • Read groundspeed under grommet (127)

      • Read WCA under wind dot (7 deg left)

    • Flip to computer side of E6-B

      • How fast?

        • 127 knots

      • Read descent distance (11.5 miles) over descent time (5.4 minutes)


Performance calculations7

Performance Calculations

  • Check cruise performance to find TAS and GPH en route

  • Plan on max continuous power setting (75% BHP)

  • Temperature is standard

  • 500 foot difference on performance chart is negligible

  • Use 4000 foot data

    • KTAS is 114 knots

    • GPH is 8.6


Complete nav log

Complete Nav Log

  • Measure distances between each checkpoint

    • Don’t forget to factor in your TOC and TOD points

  • Fill in each checkpoint and leg distance

  • Compute cruising groundspeed

  • Find cruising wind correction angle

  • Apply magnetic variation

  • Find ETE between checkpoints

  • Find fuel consumption between checkpoints


Complete nav log1

Complete Nav Log

  • Example: Find cruising ground speed

    • (Previously interpolated) winds are 020 at 16

    • Go to wind side of E6-B

      • Set wind direction (020) opposite true index

      • Mark wind velocity (16) up from grommet

      • Set true course (123) opposite true index

      • Slide TAS arc (114) under wind dot

      • Read groundspeed under grommet (116)

      • Read WCA under wind dot (8 deg left)


Complete nav log2

Complete Nav Log

  • Apply WCA to True Course

    • -L, +R

  • Apply magnetic variation

    • A check of the sectional indicates one isogonic line along route of flight, +5 deg W

    • -E, +W (East is least, West is best)

  • Result is magnetic heading

    • This is as far as we can go until we look at the compass card in the aircraft


Complete nav log3

Complete Nav Log

  • Example (cont)

    • Find ETE between checkpoints

      • Already computed ETE (6 min) and fuel consumption (2.4 gal) to TOC point

        • Fill values in on nav log

      • Flip to computer side of E6-B

        • How fast? 116 knots

        • Read ETE underneath distance

          • Round off to nearest minute

    • Find fuel consumption between checkpoints

      • E6-B

        • How fast? 8.6 GPH

        • Read fuel consumed over minutes scale

        • Round to nearest tenth gallon

      • Subtract en route fuel from total

      • Assume a full fuel load (53 gal)


File flight plan

File Flight Plan


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