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A NAVEX for Matt...without the gadgets


Kaz
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The plan was simple, test Matt's navigation capabilities without relying on the 2 GPS's and ADF, using only a stopwatch and compass (well 2 really, the CT4 has a remote flux compass as well as a standby compass).

 

Flight planning also had to be done the "old fashion way" with maps, rulers, pencils, whiz wheels etc...no Command Flight Planner plan for this trip...for him anyway :)

 

The route: A circuit to the north and west of Canberra, YSCB-YGLB-RUG-YYNG-YCTM-YSWG-YTMU-YSCB. The trip should take just over 2 hours with legs just long enough to test the basic skills of heading and time with enough distance to have to correct if off course.

 

I had the route programmed into both GPSs which Matt couldn't see from the pilot seat as well as the plan from Command Flight Planner so I could track our (his) progress.

 

We leave early to make sure we're back before the storms planned for this afternoon (which are pretty impressive...even if we're not actually getting any rain in Canberra...everywhere but!).

 

Departing Canberra, Matt sets the heading for Goulburn and starts the stopwatch. Cross checking the GPS I note we're a little left of track but only by about 2 degrees, a variation a bit too small to pick up on the compass. Approaching Goulburn Matt makes his 10 mile call (which is actually at about 9 miles) and notes our position a little left of track and corrects to ensure we're overhead the airfield before turning for our next waypoint. Actual time for the leg is within a minute of planned.

 

Overhead Goulburn airfield we turn to track for Rugby NDB and climb to 6500'. Again we're a little left of track and as we pass Rugby township we struggle to identify the NDB which is supposed to be our right...time for the leg is just about spot on though. Lesson 1 - pick very distinguishable landmarks for waypoints :).

 

Matt sets course for Young, again it's left of track as we weren't directly overhead the NDB when we turned, this course error would remain constant as we near Young and the distance we were off course at Rugby (about 2nm) is the same

 

as we approach Young airfield. We track to overfly Young and set course for our next waypoint which is Cootamundra.

 

This time we're a little right of track and at 10nm from the airfield we again track to overfly the airfield, time for this leg was only 11 minutes which was again spot on. As we leave Cootamundra I note on the GPS that we're a bit off the heading we're supposed to be flying and Matt picks this up pretty quickly as we track to the left of a landmark that's supposed to be on the right...an error in setting the heading bug on the compass...exactly 10 degrees out. With that error fixed we're on our way to Wagga.

 

To make things a bit interesting (and because I wanted to get back for a cup of tea) I decide to throw in a diversion, we can't continue to Wagga due weather and will divert to Tumut then onto Canberra. Matt identifies our position and estimates a heading, distance and time to Tumut...to my surprise he's spot on the heading (dammit!!), within a mile on the distance and within a minute on the ETE...smart a__! 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif

 

15 minutes later we're overhead Tumut and on our last leg home to Canberra. I offer to let Matt use the GPS for the last leg but he wants to complete the exercise. So off we head home to Canberra, where 35 of the last 40 miles are under controller so not a lot of navigation required...fly the heading and altitude you're told, how hard can that be 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif.

 

NAVEX18NOV07.jpg.a148c299ade720fb53ecdd8bb1749292.jpg

 

 

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now thats my kind of nav, nothing but map, compass and wristwatch. occasionally i will do a nav using nothing but VOR or NDBs, just to keep up to speed. also following a gps arrow all day gets kind of boring, especially at 80 kts cruise.

 

 

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You leave the computer alone for a few hours and look what happens :)

 

Must admit to being a bit nervous before the trip, it had been a while since I'd done all the planning manually and flying with reference to only map, compass and stopwatch...about 5 years if truth be known. It turned out to be great fun and a good challenge. The biggest thing I noted was the difference in "in cockpit" time compared to using the GPS as the primary means of navigation, nothing significant, but there is a noticable amount of time spent cross checking map, flight plan, landmarks, time etc. compared to following the GPS track and verifying at regular intervals.

 

It was a great experience and something I'll be doing more regularly, for fun, the challenge and to keep me on my toes and ensure that I've not forgotten those fundamental skills. I recommend doing a similar exercise if it's been a while since you've used and relied only on the basic navigation aids of time, map and compass.

 

Cheers,

 

Matt.

 

 

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Not sure the last time the compass was swung, I don't have the maintenance doco available at the moment (with LAME in Merimbula). In general there's little if any variance in the GPS heading compared to the remote compass heading. I'd hazard to say that my track variations (as they were reasonably minor, 1nm in 30nm on average) were due to forecast winds being different to the actual wind and my not making any allowance or track changes for the actual wind conditions...just a guess.

 

 

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Sounds like a good idea and a nice little update to your skills. If I could find a suitably qualified observer I would try one of those myself. Would be good to do a bit of VOR work as well, but these days I seem to never have enough time and just zoom off where I'm going, straight there. A refresher 'under the hood' wouldn't go astray either.

 

 

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