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Support / Advice / ? Throw in the towel

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Support / Advice / ? Throw in the towel

Old 14th Sep 2015, 09:49
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Oop North, UK
Posts: 3,035
A couple of points, I am sure you will have been told these by your instructor, but might be worth reiterating:-

If you start off on the right track and have made the right calculations on the ground then you will NOT be very far from the landmarks you are after - even if you are 10 degrees out you will only be just over 3 miles in error after 20 minutes and you can see that far on most VFR days. On setting heading do a "sensible heading" check - is the coast/railway/main road/runway you took off from etc. in the right place and in the correct orientation.

Do not over navigate, if you have planned correctly you will have landmarks every 6-10 minutes, put your map AWAY and fly the heading, I see a number of people get lost because they are looking at the map so much they do not see what is on the ground and lose heading, as the time approaches for the next landmark then look for it - you should know in advance what you are looking for, once you have seen it you can then pick up the map if you need to to double check it is correct, how close to track you are etc. make any adjustments for time to track and next waypoint, look at what your next checkpoint is and when, then PUT THE MAP DOWN AGAIN!

Last edited by foxmoth; 14th Sep 2015 at 13:27.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 10:19
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Glens o' Angus by way of LA
Age: 56
Posts: 1,973
Agree with Foxmouth,

Don't OVERNAVIGATE the journey,

Try and take the " big picture " view of the topography of the land and not be searching for small villages and towns, and resist the temptation to be searching for your landmarks long before you are due to be at them as that can stress you out. Even using roads can cause problems as they may change orientation for few miles and throw you off. Better to take the " 30,000" foot view with hill ranges, lochs or if near the coast large peninsulas or inlets. If you use radio towers etc, back up there location when you plan by identifying a hill range that starts or stops abeam so if you miss the tower it's not a big deal. And remember the UK is a small country your'e never going to get LOST lost as no matter where you are, even in a spam can, your'e never more than 30 minutes from landmark or body of water, coastal or otherwise, that is easily identifiable. The only time you will have to have your nav spot on is for the test, after that is trim it out, follow the magenta line, sit back and enjoy the view. Remember it's supposed to be fun !!
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 13:58
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: UK
Posts: 148
I think you would instinctively know if you were missing the mental faculty to navigate. In other words, I think you will know whether you are lacking the hands-on skill of applying conceptual knowledge or whether the conceptual knowledge itself isn't on your wavelength. It sounds like the former because you can do the work in the classroom.

Flying seems to be a bit like golf insofar as the brain can make things harder than they need to be and one bad experience seems to reinforce that tendency. You need some ways to give the brain some confidence and positive feedback instead. In short, you need some ways to make it seem easier. In addition to the suggestions already made, how about:

- picking some easy routes to get confidence. Some are harder than others.
- try flying the route using Google Earth - just to give your mind a picture of the route from the air and to spot landmarks.
- It sounds like you know when you are lost (which is good) so have a route which includes some unmistakeable landmarks which you stand a good chance of seeing for miles around, which you can fly to and re-gain your position (having checked before you depart that there aren't any no-go areas within a radius of such marks)
- Avoid routes which will take you towards the sun and in haze because VFR flying gets more difficult then at the best of times
- Have a VOR/DME configuration and practice being able to work out which radial you are on, and the distance from it. That will give you a fix if you get lost - which means you won't be lost for long, and it won't be so stressful when you are
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 14:23
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: In the boot of my car!
Posts: 6,000

Dublinpilot made a very good point about GPS and making mistakes by turning early/late. Keeping a record of your actual track will point out where exactly your problem lies. I had the exact same problem, I used a sportstracker app on my phone - not only it showed my route, it also recorded my ground speed which was handy assesing the effects of wind etc, I only needed one look at it and that fixed my problems for good
I have mixed feelings in the use of aids ! I know when I learnt to fly we were forbidden to use any navaids whatsoever
There is some truth to the statement that pilot aids should be a compliment to your flying skills and not a crutch for a lack of those skills
You cannot always rely on pilot aids you can on basic skills and it is those basic skills which need to be solid!

At some point a PPL is issued which licences you to fly people who are totally relying on your skills for their lives
If you need pilot aids to cover a lack of basic skills I petty the PAX
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 15:26
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: go west
Posts: 0

that's not what we suggested. The advice was to use aids such as GPS/Smartphone app only to confirm the track/route AFTER the flight, NOT during the flight! Turn the app on and throw it in the back of the plane if you must. This aspect of training hasn't changed since your day and any successful PPL candidate must demonstrate navigation skills without the use of any aid
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 15:43
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: The World
Posts: 1,215
@c_h: Don't worry, we all had our mentalmeltdowntimes ... You do have everything in sight already - first, for getting exam ready you have to fly more frequent. An hour every 1-2 weeks usually won't give you the training level needed to have the confidence. Try to fly at least 2-3 times a week right before having that click feeling in your head. - second, don't worry about navigation. We all get it wrong on a certain day and it is nothing to really worry (psst, just try to let this not happen on exam day).
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 15:48
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Oop North, UK
Posts: 3,035
It sounds like you know when you are lost
Not necessarily the case - many years ago, cutting a long story short, I ended up following a student round a solo cross country in another aircraft, he flew the first leg and a half perfectly and was BANG ON TRACK, and on time when he "got lost", had he he kept on his planned heading and monitored his timing I am sure he would have been fine, as it was it was surprisingly easy from close line astern to tell the second he was unsure of his position!
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 18:42
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: anywhere
Posts: 272
Originally Posted by clinique_happy View Post
Does anyone have any recommendations, thoughts, tips, advice or should I just quit now.
Try flying slower - just because the aircraft can cruise at 100 knots doesn't mean you have to fly at 100 knots. If a 70 or 80 knot cruise gives you more time to navigate while flying, do it that way. After a bit of practice you will probably be able to increase your speed without getting lost.
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 19:01
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,548
hello clinique_happy....

Trouble with going places while airborne is no road signs up there!
I learned in gliders (here she goes again!) where the first priority is just staying up, which means we spend a lot of time going around in circles in thermals. This makes it hard to get lost because you always are looking where you have been as well as where you may be intending to go.

The best way to navigate, in my opinion, is IFR - I follow roads. Or railroads.
A good trip is to follow the M40 from Wycombe Air Park to Oxford and back.
Or the M4 to Devises and back. This ancient method was the only one available to those women in the Air Transport, who delivered Spitfires etc from the factories to the active airfields.
And of course another splendid way to travel is to go by coastline. Why on earth do they insist in these contrived nav exercises to make the poor novice fly in straight lines?

Yes, study the map carefully before you go. Plan a sight seeing journey, keep it simple. We used to fly Bicester Didcot, but they kept knocking down the cooling towers....
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 21:09
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Wales
Posts: 534
One bit of wisdom I obtained whilst Foot Orienteering (and Bike Orienteering.) was not to go directly to a check-point, but to go definitely to the right of the check-point.
So for instance if the check-point is on a fence, go to the right, when you reach the fence, the CP is to your left. If you went straight to the fence, you would not know which side the CP is on, so you would be confused as to which way to turn.

This is called 'Off-Setting'.... Other tips are available....
Best of luck...
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 22:09
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Oop North, UK
Posts: 3,035
The last two posts are a bit like the ones saying "once you have your PPL you can use GPS" this poster is trying to get his PPL and needs to be able to navigate in a (reasonably) straight line, following roads or aiming to one side (though of course having something like a Motorway across your track and knowing that a certain feature on the motorway should be left or right of your track is certainly going to help) is not going to get someone through the test!
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Old 14th Sep 2015, 22:41
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Toronto
Posts: 2,189
Take a ride with another pilot and bring your map

This will be a mystery destination flight for you.

P1 gets to pick field with good restaurant and 2-3 turnpoints. You follow on map, maintain flight log, calculate winds, track and groundspeed. After lunch try one or more turnpoints. At last one, you get to supply heading and ETA to home. Actually you could do that at each turnpoint.

This will give you time to familiarise yourself with how the landscape is represented on the map.

Flying an hour every other week is an inefficient way to learn and many sporadic students take as much time. A 90 minute or 2 Hour slot can get you farther away where you have to find where you are to work out a course and ETA back.

Crease the map, move a pencil parallel to the track until over a VOR compass rose to get heading, hold pencil over longitude meridian to read off distance. 90 kt is 1.5 nm/minute; so 24 nm takes 2x24 = 48 / 3 = 16 minutes

or first divide by 3; then double

whichever is easier for you.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 08:17
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Oop North, UK
Posts: 3,035
Even easier, mark the top end of the pencil with mile spaces using a small saw, 6 minutes is 1/6th your speed - and on a Half mil chart, 6 mins is the length of your thumb at 90-95 kts, not exact, but close enough!
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 08:46
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 1,548
Offsetting track to destination

PhiggsBroadband, above, refers to offsetting and its use in orienteering navigation.

Sir Francis Chichester was the first to use it effectively in flying. He was born in the UK, emmigrated to New Zealand at the age of 18. In 1929 he bought a Gipsy Month aircraft in the UK, and flew it solo to Oz. From there, because it could not carry enough fuel to cross the Tasman sea, he shipped it to NZ, and fitted it with floats (which he did not always remember to pump dry before flying!).

He was the FIRST to use off course navigation in flying, steering to one side so you know which way the error is. In this way he was able to find tiny islands in the Pacific ocean.

After WWII he set up a map making company in the UK. And when diagnosed with cancer, retired, and sailed around the world in Gipsy Moth, the sailboat now restored and used for training young people.
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Old 15th Sep 2015, 08:58
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: In the boot of my car!
Posts: 6,000

I know you did not mean that )) I was emohasing a concern that maybe in today's age of easy navigation in the form of GPS and mapping its very hard to get lost! I can remember when it was a luxury to be able to move a distant VOR onto your track )) and that was as good as it got and then Decca ( wow)
Now jump into a Cirrus and the pilot aids are amazing but with that comes a danger
These aids should compliment pilot skills not plug holes in those skills and I sometimes wonder how much is plugging holes

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Old 15th Sep 2015, 11:58
  #36 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: GLASGOW
Posts: 1,286
The only time you will have to have your nav spot on is for the test, after that is trim it out, follow the magenta line, sit back and enjoy the view. Remember it's supposed to be fun !!
So much wrong with that statement. PB Can we assume that was an attempt at humour?
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 19:01
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: London
Posts: 59
You say that you can do the nav in the classroom, but it goes to pot in the air.

So you are capable of understanding what is required and what to do, but have a block putting it together in the aircraft.

As others have said, everyone has a block on some aspect of learning to fly. But eventually it clicks, unless you are a hopeless case. You have to weigh up how much you want to get that licence and decide for yourself whether to carry on until it clicks or give up. Obviously, if instructors were telling you that you are one of those hopeless cases, things would be different.

My stepfather started learning to fly at the age of 59. I have his logbook in front of me and it shows that he took 66 hours to solo and 120 hours to test (which he passed) at age 60. He found it tough to say the least, but he wanted it enough and persevered.

As for how to solve your particular nav "problems", there is a lot of advice on this thread on the techniques and I'm sure that much of it is good, but to be honest, you are not in the best position to judge which advice to follow and which to ignore.

Either trust your instructor or, if you have any doubts about the quality of the instruction you are getting, consider changing.
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 19:22
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Oop North, UK
Posts: 3,035
Alexa - where did your father learn? May just have been my student!
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Old 16th Sep 2015, 20:53
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: London
Posts: 59
Originally Posted by foxmoth View Post
Alexa - where did your father learn? May just have been my student!
He learned at Barton, Ringway and Liverpool, qualifying in 1993.
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Old 17th Sep 2015, 06:33
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 1,519

If you are still around, here's a slightly different take.

Life is short and where ever possible to be enjoyed. Maybe it's worth doing something you don't like for a short while to gain a reward, but in general if you are lucky/privileged enough to have choices, do the stuff that makes you happy.

Since this appears to be a hobby for you (I assume, possibly incorrectly, that you have no professional flying aspirations) it's pretty simple isn't it.

If you are enjoying your flying training and can afford it...continue.

If you are not enjoying it and/or it is too costly...stop.

One thing you should not do (in this or anything else). Make quitting something you have stopped enjoying a "failure" in your own mind.

Quite the reverse...continuing with something you don't enjoy, and don't have to do because "you want to prove something to yourself or anybody else" is emotionally weak and ultimately pointless.
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