21st Jun 2012, 12:33
Sorry for the basic question but for your normal traffic from the likes of Edinburgh and Glasgow etc... Easyjet, BA, BMI etc... to down South, France, Spain etc... how do these planes navigate?
Do they only use radio navigation from point to point?
What would a typical navigation routine be for example for a Easyjet flying from Edinburgh to Stanstead?
21st Jun 2012, 12:58
The flights are flight planned using the normal airways system (as you say, point to point - we use GPS/IRS on our Airbus), but in reality a flight from London to Scotland, through busy UK airspace, involves a lot of radar vectoring by ATC.
We will often leave Stansted, and after the first turn of the departure proceedure, we will be vectored by ATC for the majority, if not all of the rest of the flight.
21st Jun 2012, 13:04
Ah so they will just say fly heading xxx, now fly heading xxx, now heading xxx all the way to the approach?
I presume you could then fall back to radio navigation if you lost comms with the controllers.
22nd Jun 2012, 09:23
There are lost comms procedures laid down which involve flying the filed route, and commencing an approach within a defined time.
22nd Jun 2012, 18:13
Daverb: has this left you with the understanding that a modern jet transport aircraft - such as an A319 or B737-800 - is navigated across the United Kingom by a system which primarily relies upon radio beacons on the ground? Is that what you mean by 'radio navigation?'
27th Jun 2012, 14:39
Yes thanks Georgeablelovehowindia.
I was slightly suprised to be honest, thats why I wanted to check.
I am reading PPL study books just now and hope to get some experience time in a Cessna to start with soon - so it was strange to think of a a320/737 using basically the same system as a cessna/small airplane.
30th Jun 2012, 07:30
Yes Dave, I gathered that you were holding that misconception! No, they don't, apart from one important ground-based radio aid, the instrument landing system (ILS). This is used for the approach and any subsequent autolanding.
Now at this stage, I could go on about inertial reference systems (IRSs), flight mode computers (FMCs), GPS or DME/DME updating, and all the rest of the stuff. I'm not going to, because a friend of mine has written two excellent and inexpensive books on the subject.
How Airliners Fly by Julien Evans, which is the update of his earlier 1997 title Is It On Autopilot? both available on you-know-who. I've just checked.
Because we're not allowed to advertise on this site, I'll PM you with the details.
30th Jun 2012, 08:38
Thanks very much I will get them and have a read. Will hopefully explain all.