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Top Gun Jabiru

RPC X-Country - What to study in Winter

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Hi Guys!

I got my RPC at the end of April. Only managed a few hours since then despite my best efforts. The weather in Melbourne is often pretty rubbish at the weekend.
Anyway, my next adventure will be my X-Country endorsement, just wondering what books I should be studying in place of doing actual flying in the winter months to prepare and ahead of the curve.

Thanks a lot!

 

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Your instructor should answer that question specifically regarding your nav training so I'll just note some free material online. The USA FAA has excellent handbooks:

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/phak/

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/airplane_handbook/

 

This may also interest you: http://www.dylanaviation.com/

 

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Read the manual that came with your whizz wheel

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Study up on meteorology. Not just how to read reports (TAFs etc), but what weather actually is and how it can affect you. 

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Posted (edited)

Get your WAC chart, your whizz wheel, access to current weather,  your aircrafts' POH and start planning flights of fancy. If you have an electronic flight planner, leave it in a drawer. You won't understand what navigation is all about if you begin with using crutches.

 

Start off with a simple out-and-back in Nil wind, 15C air temperature and QNH 1013. Work out flight time, fuel requirments, ETA at checkpoints. LSALT Cruise altitude. Runway heading at departure, outbound destination and return destination

 

After you have done a a few of these, start using the MET data over the same routes.

You could go crazy and do some TAS -v- IAS calculations and see how they affect your section timings.

 

Repeat for longer flights to include change of direction over checkpoints. Don't forget to do Beginning and End of Daylight calculations.

 

Then you could start doing some en route diversions and ETA calculations to an airfield you divert to.

 

After that you could into the real nitty-gritty and start doing route planning that includes time to reach top-of-climb, what you should be over at TOC. Where you should begin your descent  to destination circuit height.

 

Then after you have a hand on all that, do some flight planning hangar to hanger to include fuel use for taxying, and run up.

 

Your motto when flying cross country should be: "Always on track. Always on time."

 

 

Edited by old man emu
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One of the most disappointing aspects of cross-country instruction is that pilots are not up to scratch with their whiz-wheel use, are unable to construct a basic flight plan, and once in flight, find that all the 'navigation' tasks overwhelm them. The result is usually quite inaccurate headings and altitudes, with the pilot losing it very quickly.  It requires several hours of briefing, (read theory lecturing), to get them up to any standard. Happens in GA too. Pilots have come to expect they will be 'taught' the endorsement. It's only after they exceed the minimum 12 hrs that they appreciate the necessity to be prepared.

 

happy days,

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Look at the maps. WAC and VNC, to learn all about what you should expect to see.

I recently read an American article on map reading and they stated that electricity transmission lines are of little use as navigation guides. I find that in Qld the power lines stand out from miles away and are a great aid to knowing your location. You could probably learn a lot from comparing the charts to Google Earth.

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Power lines are a good guide where they are available and you positively identify them. You are actually CHEATING  but how silly not to use something that's not moving. I've Used the Yass-Dapto frequently, and there's another useful one SE of Bendigo.

   The 1 in 60 rule is basic in track adjustments.. Make sure you apply corrections in the correct sense. No good getting a figure to a decimal place and applying it the wrong way.. Google earth done properly is like being there before.. Indispensible for new to you, aerodromes especially. Nev

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Was flying across NW Mexico with a Yank mate in his 206, (many moons back), with me LHS and he desperately trying to get a LORAN fix. It's pretty mountainous country, and we were trying to avoid a Mex Govt AFB, which had a bad reputation for confiscating aberrant US aircraft.  After much pushing and pulling knobs, he swore at it, turned it off, and said to me - "guess you know how to use pilotage to navigate - hope you do, because we're in the S unless we get a fix"

 

I'd actually been reading a 'sectional' chart since we left Nogales, and with my trusty 1963 model CR-3, gave him a fix immediately. He couldn't believe that there 'pilotaaage ' had saved the day.  Aussie cred was raised considerably.

 

happy days,

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On 23/07/2019 at 4:24 PM, poteroo said:

One of the most disappointing aspects of cross-country instruction is that pilots are not up to scratch with their whiz-wheel use, are unable to construct a basic flight plan, and once in flight, find that all the 'navigation' tasks overwhelm them. The result is usually quite inaccurate headings and altitudes, with the pilot losing it very quickly.  It requires several hours of briefing, (read theory lecturing), to get them up to any standard. Happens in GA too. Pilots have come to expect they will be 'taught' the endorsement. It's only after they exceed the minimum 12 hrs that they appreciate the necessity to be prepared.

 

happy days,

I suspect Nav is not being taught in RAA, and if that is the situation it needs to be introduced. It wasn't all that critical in the days of rag and tube, but it is now. I was lucky enough to have a flying school where the instructors worked together and poole their students into a night course which went on for several weeks. A couple of hours a night with about ten in the class (Melbourne), and there was always someone putting his/her hand up asking a question, which the rest of us didn't know.  After getting the basic theory we went into high pressure flight planning exercises where the instructor would give us a difficult route with various weather and we have to plan the track, W&B, fuel burn, and times. In doing it all together we could stop and he would explain how to solve a difficult issue, so by the time we were qualiflied to fly we knew what was important to do before the flight and we knew how to replan in midflight, which I've had to do on a number of occasions, and we could do it without stress. The books are good, but that instructor there finding the various mistakes made by the students and telling us all how to correct them made it routine.

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As suggested by my CFI, You can always prep a plan for your NAV , sit in your armchair with a watch and all your gear and fly the nav in your head, fillowing the map, doing your clearoff checks following 10 minute/10 mile makers etc. Throw in some diversions etc. Helps to get the process burned into your brain a bit and will help you when you start doing the actual navs.  Or...

 

Instead of the armchair, I fired up Flight Sim X, which had all the  OZx scenery loaded for my local area, input the weather and flew that Nav on the sim, much more fun, and surprisingly accurate too.  I think if you can get familiar with the basic process it will save you some time instead of learning it for the first time on the actual nav flight... 

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Posted (edited)

Any sort of sim is good for procedures. X country included. if it's happening a bit slow speed it up or give your self an off track diversion and rejoin. (cut a corner and achieve  (rejoin) track and have reporting points and ETA changes.. Keep a fuel log.  Nev

Edited by facthunter
error corrected
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Posted (edited)

Yes, I like to hook up my X-Plane sim to OzRunways. Once the connection (over a network) is made between the iPad and the Desktop, OZRWYS (in Sim mode) behaves exactly as it would on a real flight. So it's a great way to learn how to make best use of your EFB. To speed things up I usually choose to fly the Cirrus Vision Jet.  Quick but with handling much like a piston single in the circuit.  Though I usually avoid circuit work and settle for straight-ins because swivelling my virtual head is too difficult with my basic set up. You can set up the autopilot to fly the longer legs while you go for lunch.

 

But Navs are a lot of fun and the accuracy of the scenery depiction is astonishing - at least as far as the natural landform goes. 

 

You can use real-time, real-weather or you can set up a particular wind vector and practice triangles with the E6B (whiz-wheel).  You can even choose to look straight down on your aircraft from above and observe the effect of drift as its happening.  

Edited by Garfly
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Posted (edited)

For anyone interested, here is a link to a YT video review of a third party C152 model for X-Plane11. 

 

X-Plane 11 - Just Flight C152

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd471phwT5s

 

 

STILL SCREEN SHOT ONLY:

1713144429_X-PLANEJFC152.thumb.png.ca2a4ba0a17f205db5b9a7b8a41c2158.png

 

It's quite long and detailed so drag through as required. I think the take-off happens at about 15:00!  Truly real-time simming!

But I think it's a good example of how "home" sims have advanced in recent years and just how useful they can be for real training.

 

And it shows what can be done with head-tracking technology that allows you to look around as needed in a more natural way.

In this case the guy is using "TrackIR".  The idea is that you wear some infrared targets on the peak of a cap on your head so that the device is able to alter the view according to how your head moves. 

Of course, the obvious question arises: but if I move my head to the left, how can I keep looking at my monitor?! 

That issue is solved by having one or two degrees of side movement translate as something like ten or twenty degrees of view change. (Up and down, I think, uses a lesser factor.)

 

 

In my view, a downside to the latest X-Plane, though, is that it places very high demands on computers; especially Graphic Processing Units (GPUs).

Even though I have a recent, top-specced, MacBook Pro which does a good job on heavy duty video editing, I've found that it struggles to keep up a smooth frame rate in the sim.

So I've dropped back to X-Plane 10 until I graduate to some faster hardware (or at least, an external GPU).

 

 

Edited by Garfly

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Backing up what others have said...  When it comes to Nav, you need to think about how your aircraft performs.  Understanding Density Altitude could save your bacon if you fly into somewhere you are not familiar with.  For example.... A hot day, an AD that is high, and a heavy aircraft.  A recipe for disaster if you don't understand it.

 

Understanding how to nav is awesome!  I love being able to go places with a map, a compass and a watch - But understanding how your aircraft performs along the way is really important.

 

My advice, is the advice my instructor gave me.  Don't be scared to turn back.  If there is doubt, then there is no doubt!

 

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Posted (edited)

Make a decision based on  safety and "be there" to fly another day.  Fly as if your wife and kids are on board and there's no real urgency to "Get there".  Better to be a live coward than a dead hero especially when dealing with weather.  Density altitude effects . Better to understand them than "feel" them.  when you hit the trees at the end.  The plane does not have to be heavy. High and hot makes it behave as if it's very heavy and your indicated speed is well below your actual  so you are using up space. Nev

Edited by facthunter
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Yes they are indeed. The charts tell the story but there are other ways. If your plane has trouble REACHING those levels you are thinking of taking off from you are  already in strife . Some of the closest shaves I've ever been in relate to DH considerations. Consult the charts and don't fake any figures then pace out the strip noting the surface slope and surface and DECIDE on a point on the runway where the wheels must unstick without any hesitation. in a not unduly nose high attitude. This is your decision point (on the runway) not a speed. IF it's NOT happening, pull the Power and stop.  No Iffs or buts..That fella had plenty of time to do that. IF your plane will JUST fly in ground effect, it won't fly when out of it (like at treetop height) .Nev

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What really makes for interesting decisions on go/whoa is if the strip is quite sloping and there is precious little over-run at the lower end. It makes your decision point quite close to the top end of the strip because you must take into account the poor braking on sloping wet grass strips. Especially those of > 7-8%  slope. What we tend to forget in performance calcs is that the (unsupercharged) engine output is significantly reduced with altitude, plus the coeffic of lift is lower than 1.0 and so the v2 of the equation must be faster to create lift. Probably why PNG has its' own 'P' charts, and I'd be sure that other high altitude countries like parts of Africa, Nepal, the Vietnam highlands, European Alps, and the Rockies and Andes of the Americas all have modified P charts for each and every aircraft type.

 

happy days,

PNG - Simbai.jpg PNG -Tapini, 70s.jpg PNG   Guwasa - note person about to walk accross!.jpg PNG  Keglsugl - highest commercial strip - 8250 amsl.jpg
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 Yes the PK charts allowed more take off weight as it was considered a "developmental situation"  What a con act. Newtons laws don't change just because of some bureaucrats piece of paper. Downs slopes often means decision time coincides with brakes  RELEASE time. You just gotta be flexible and analyse the situation or get another job.. Nev

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