Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21

Thread: cross country troubles

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    16

    cross country troubles

    I am working on my private rating right now, and having cross country troubles. i pretty much got flight planning down, im getting used to multi-tasking during the flight, taking off, getting on my heading and communicating with ATC. However, i cant seem to find these airports, i dont start my descent in a timely fashion, therefore overshooting the airport (that i cant seem to find). then i am in a sweat about getting to pattern altitude, entering the pattern the right way where i dont piss anyone else off, and landing the plane. Seems like these airports come up a lot quicker than i think. i am completely frustrated and looking for any advice possible to help me out.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    MCAS MIRAMAR
    Posts
    49
    It's gonna take some math and trust in your instruments and time hacks. Figure out what you want your descent rate to be and your cruise altitude. Using those you should be able to figure out where in your flight plan you want to start your descent to get to pattern altitude before you reach your airport.

    Having an app like Foreflight on you smartphone (if you have one) helps immensely but it's obviously not something you want to be totally dependent on. I love to navigate with VOR but have been trying out just using my compass and time hacks lately and I've found that if I do my part on the pre-flight planning all I have to do is follow my compass headings and time hacks and I wind up over or very close to the proper airport.
    Hy-Tek Hurricane 103



  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,423
    What kind of plane are you flying and how fast does it cruise?
    The majority of the flying that I have done over 34 years has been in good vmc weather.. Therefore, the first level of my basic navigation is simple pilotage. I know where I start and look out the window and find the next point along the way. DON'T LET YOURSELF GET LOST IN THE FIRST PLACE, ALWAYS KNOW WHERE YOU JUST PASSED.
    If you look on the sectional , there is really a lot of detail and info. For instance,while 2 towns may be similar, perhaps one has the railroad north of the highway or river and one it is south, one has a tower or lake and one doesn't.

    The next level is dead ( from the word deduced) reckoning. You draw you course line on the chart, use a plotter to find you compass heading, correct it from true to magnetic by adding or subtracting the deviation, to get your magnetic heading. Now the best thing to do it get a wind estimate, even the night before from FSS and use the back of the E-6b to figure the wind corredtion angle and plus or minus groundspeed. Obviously wind can change by the time you do your flgith, but most likely the direction will be the same. So you make your 5 or 10 degree correction into the wind, and evaluate your ground track as you go along. The last part of ded rec is D= R x T. So if you fly a 200 mile leg in a C150 at 100k, then in an hour you should be half way, and so on. Precise navigation is great as well as fun to do, but the main thing is fuel needed and reserve. Now us great pilots never get lost, but believe it or not, we sometimes become a little unsure of our exact location. Given plenty of fuel remaining, and therefore flight time, we can find where we are and where we are going.

    By the way, each year when I go from Colo to Oshkosh or to Sun N Fun in Florida, I have sectionals with course lines and time and distance figures on them, just as I did when I began in 1984. I was doing my planning at the FBO in July when another pilot walks by and says, "Who uses charts and course lines anymore?"
    I would regard anyone who tells you that you don't need a chart like I would a rat in my kitchen.

    The 3rd level is Vor or even GPS navigation by electronic means. It can be great, AS A BACKUP or sort of overview, but not a substitue for all else. Batteries can run down, you can program it wrong, etc.How is ir to try to push the right little button if you get in strong turbulence? Don't bet your life soley on a gadget.
    And as far as having a cell phone with an app on it, maybe so, I have never used one, and Lindbergh found Paris without one. I may get an I pad this year, if I can figure out the use. They are very useful for flying when it is less than great vmc like above a cloud layer.

    It is not that big a deal if you arrive and are still too high, I still find myself doing it. You can see better from a little ways up and can circle as needed to descend. There is formula for the descent, but really I do it more by feel,and 20 miles or so out I come down.

    Good luck, AND JUST DON'T GIVE UP. By the way, women sometimes make better pilots than men because they follow the rules.
    Last edited by Bill Greenwood; 09-26-2013 at 08:53 AM.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    FA40
    Posts
    395
    Quote Originally Posted by pilotgirlbuf View Post
    I am working on my private rating right now, and having cross country troubles. i pretty much got flight planning down, im getting used to multi-tasking during the flight, taking off, getting on my heading and communicating with ATC. However, i cant seem to find these airports, i dont start my descent in a timely fashion, therefore overshooting the airport (that i cant seem to find). then i am in a sweat about getting to pattern altitude, entering the pattern the right way where i dont piss anyone else off, and landing the plane. Seems like these airports come up a lot quicker than i think. i am completely frustrated and looking for any advice possible to help me out.
    Your concerns are absolutely normal. The more you do it, the easier it will get. So do more of it, relax, and enjoy learning. Yep, you asked for hints and tips and gouge points and an easier way. Well, forget that. What works for some doesn't for others. You are an individual with talent, brains, perseverence, and ingenuity - how do i know that? You want to become an accomplished aviatrix. Would you rather be looking in your lap at your notes on how other people do it, or be looking out the window doing it? Yep, i thought so. So go fly!

  5. #5
    bigdog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    16
    Don't sweat it, it's called experience and will come in time. Airports are harder to spot at lower altitudes so just plan to overfly the airport 1000 ft over pattern altitude. Check the wind sock and look for pattern direction indicators. We used to have to do that in the days before AWOS & Metars or when flying NORDO. Then fly outbound for a 45 deg entry and let down 3-5 miles out, turn around and enter the pattern. It takes a few minutes longer but you get a chance to check for traffic, figure out your entry and organize your thoughts. Plus you want to build time anyway.
    Regards,
    Greg Young

    "I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you."
    -- Charlie Winn

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    30
    Hang in there, Pilotgirlbuf. After you fly awhile, you will learn to spot airports from a ways out. You just develop a "feel" for how they look when you are approaching them. In the meantime, overfly the airport and just announce "student pilot" when you are trying to get in the pattern. Any other aviators worth their salt will cut you some slack and you won't piss them off. Cut yourself a little slack and just keep you finger on the chart for your position so you won't get lost.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    22
    I agree with the Trust your Navigation... I started using that as a Student and it always worked.

    I have flown over airports and had to enter on the upwind leg, but 99.9% of the time I can spot them before flying through the pattern

    A tip I always pass on to my students is that the airport will be the one out there that looks the least like an airport

    And it will be within your windshield as you approach, never out of your side windows and miles away. (notice how your checkpoints appear along your way)

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,423
    When to Start Descent?
    You can figure this in advance llke this, and it may help.

    Feet to lose. Say you are cruising at 7500 and want to be at pattern altitude which is 1000 feet above your destination airport which is at 1500 feet. So you want to go down from 7500 to 2500, or 5000 feet to lose.
    Chose a descent rate, say 500 fpm to be very comfortable, usually not more than 1000 fpm.
    So 5000 feet at 500 fpm takes 10 minutes. So start descent 10 minutes out from destination
    How far is that in miles?
    If you are cruising in your Diamond DA 20 and ground speed with the nose slightly down is 120 knots, then you are going 2 miles per minute.
    So 10 minutes out is 20 miles distance.
    You will develop a sense for this as you fly a little more.
    Now if you are cruising in your P-51 at 280 knot groundspeed over the mountains at 16,500 and want to land at Death Valley it gets a little more complex.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    16
    I am training in a cherokee warrior. low wing makes it harder to see out the sides. i am getting better with checkpoints, heading and keeping altitude, so i guess now i have the problem of trying to find the airport first then start to descend and i think thats my mistake. i dont feel comfortable without finding the aiport, high altitude = safe altitude, i dont want to get distracted and run into a cell tower lol. however i feel if i descend to the listed altitude on the sectional i wont have to worry about towers or obstructions.
    i appreciate all of your thoughts and input!!! this truly helps, hearing that this is normal and stuff like that haha. no pilots never get lost, but make flying 'more exciting' haha. i have had instructors that i have learned nothing from then i have others where every dim lightbulb in my head becomes bright. i like the way some pilots do things and i know i will find my own way.
    for now i have made a personal checklist on how to prepare for a cross country flight, a before flight, during flight and after checklist for myself. i hope thats a good start.

    thanks everyone i really enjoy this forum and really take in a lot from here!!!

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Athens, GA
    Posts
    5
    pilotgirlbuf,

    Have you tried planning a short cross country and letting someone else fly while you solely navigate? It takes the stress of flying out and allows you to work on your navigating skills. Also, use natural landmarks along the route to complement your dead reckoning and update your heading needed to remain on course. If you are heading north and you are supposed to be paralleling the left side of a river, but you find yourself paralleling the right side of a river, the wind is blowing you, so make corrections. Also, give yourself what I refer to as a limit of advance. For instance, if you are supposed to turn over a certain town and that town has an expressway just beyond, if you don't quite see the town, don't cross the expressway, because you will have gone too far if you do. It limits you from getting WAAAY off course.
    One last thing. Trust your flight planning. Plan your flight and fly your plan.
    Semper Fidelis,

    Terry L. Hand

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •