Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Non-Airline Forums > Private Flying
Reload this Page >

Relative bearing methods

Private Flying LAA/BMAA/BGA/BPA The sheer pleasure of flight.

Relative bearing methods

Old 25th Jan 2019, 14:09
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: In the air
Posts: 174
Relative bearing methods

Am I correct that pilots universally use the clock face relative bearing system – ie traffic at 9 O’clock ?

On boats I have always used a different system (which I have an idea is a navy convention). So that 9 O’clock would be called as red 90. 3 O’clock is green 90 etc. I have to say I much prefer it, partly of course because I am familiar with it, but it also seems faster and more intuitive; as soon as you hear red or green, you know which side, then swivel your head according to the number of degrees.

Am I alone in this? Do any others use this? Perhaps navy fliers ? I guess it would not likely be easily understood by a random ATC or colleague ?
double_barrel is online now  
Old 25th Jan 2019, 17:34
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Luton
Posts: 368
but it also seems faster and more intuitive; as soon as you hear red or green, you know which side,
Arguably more people are familiar with clocks faces than red for port etc.. However, it is sometimes reported that schools are replacing analogue clocks with digital because children are unfamiliar with clock faces. (Sounds like a teaching opportunity rather than a hardware replacement opportunity to me - but then I'm familiar with a clock face,)
Jim59 is offline  
Old 26th Jan 2019, 11:18
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: EBZH
Posts: 2,363
Am I correct that pilots universally use the clock face relative bearing system – ie traffic at 9 O’clock ?
Yes. At least, it is the only terminology I learned during training, and it is the only thing I hear on the FIS over here. Then again, you seem to be in the UK, where many peculiar habits survive.
Jan Olieslagers is offline  
Old 26th Jan 2019, 11:27
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Monte Carlo
Posts: 530
as soon as you hear red or green, you know which side, then swivel your head according to the number of degrees.
True. However, best practice using the clock code is to prefix either left or right eg Traffic right 2 o'clock....
oggers is offline  
Old 26th Jan 2019, 16:12
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 5,728
The only time you use the clock code is to point out an aircraft position to another person in the aircraft. If you add colours to it, there is the possibility of confusing that with the navigation lights on another aircraft which if its coming towards you will be opposite to your own.
Whopity is offline  
Old 26th Jan 2019, 16:39
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: London
Posts: 702
Also, flying with a (non ‘marine’) passenger, asking them to look for traffic... better sticking to something that everyone understands.
paulo is online now  
Old 26th Jan 2019, 16:51
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: CYYC (Calgary)
Posts: 4,541
I suspect that if you asked the average PPL which colour was on which wingtip, you would get a significant number of wrong answers!

Always the clock system in aviation in my experience. I wonder what the Fleet Air Arm used?
India Four Two is offline  
Old 26th Jan 2019, 19:10
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Europe
Posts: 5,728
you would get a significant number of wrong answers!
Thats why there was a specific air law paper dedicated to lights!
Whopity is offline  
Old 26th Jan 2019, 21:37
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: The right side of the Pennines
Age: 68
Posts: 121
A Captain I once flew with, asked how he knew where to go, flying at night ? Well, Madam, he replied, can you see that red light on the end of the wing, out there ? ( the reflection was visible in a bit of plastic fitted for that purpose ) Yes. And can you see that green light over there ? Yes, well, I just have to fly between them !
YorkshireTyke is offline  
Old 27th Jan 2019, 03:49
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 2,508
best practice using the clock code is to prefix either left or right eg Traffic right 2 o'clock
What if he says left 2 o'clock? You would be surprised how folks can get their left/right confused in a time of stress. Did it once during ambush training. Apocryphal story has it that a fighter pilot wrote left/right on the appropriate glove to avoid confusion in a fight.
I wonder what the Fleet Air Arm used?
Always used the clock, could have used the fishheads "points" I guess, as in, "two points abaft the beam, starboard side". A point is 11.25° (one thirty second of 360°)
megan is offline  
Old 27th Jan 2019, 06:27
  #11 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: In the air
Posts: 174
Thanks! I will stick to the clock method.


A couple of minor points

Originally Posted by Whopity View Post
The only time you use the clock code is to point out an aircraft position to another person in the aircraft. If you add colours to it, there is the possibility of confusing that with the navigation lights on another aircraft which if its coming towards you will be opposite to your own.
I have in the past called coastguard helicopters from boats and said something like 'I am on your green 45'. That was certainly understood. In fact it is especially when referring to a position relative to another vessel that I find it most intuitive. I think of a boat (or aircraft) as having a green side and a red side whereas left and right are potentially confusing. To me, that also helps make collision avoidance intuitive; in both boats and planes, when crossing, if you see a red light or the red side, you need to give way, if you see green you are 'stand-on'. Red danger, green 'clear', makes sense to me.


Anyway. Not trying to be a smartarse, obviously there is no point in using an obscure personal system! I will stick with the clock!
double_barrel is online now  
Old 27th Jan 2019, 07:50
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 181
As pilot and sailor - I use green, red on the water and clock face in the air - and prey I don't hear myself using both on the same trip!
Auxtank is offline  
Old 27th Jan 2019, 08:39
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: The right side of the Pennines
Age: 68
Posts: 121
I broke an ankle last year and was provided with the modern type of elbow crutches. The handles were subtly shaped for left and right hands, but at first glance that was difficult to see, and I was forever picking up the wrong one first, so ..... I marked the handles red and green.
YorkshireTyke is offline  
Old 27th Jan 2019, 08:40
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: CYYC (Calgary)
Posts: 4,541
Apocryphal story has it that a fighter pilot wrote left/right on the appropriate glove to avoid confusion in a fight.
A UAS friend of mine wrote Port and Starboard on his flying gloves!
India Four Two is offline  
Old 27th Jan 2019, 10:21
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: A place in the sun
Age: 77
Posts: 645
A red and a green sock does it or me. So long as I remebered to put them on the correct feet!
Bergerie1 is offline  
Old 27th Jan 2019, 11:03
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: West Sussex, England
Posts: 405
Whilst Hearing Aids are oppositely coloured.
Green goes in one's left ear, red to the right.

[I always think my way out of that confusement by considering the view as seen by the eye Dr.,- then it works !]

mike hallam.

mikehallam is offline  
Old 27th Jan 2019, 11:04
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 181
Another vote for red/ green socks for sailing. They come under the list of essential items!
Auxtank is offline  
Old 27th Jan 2019, 12:05
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: UK
Age: 71
Posts: 474
Most light aircraft passengers will not understand the clock code. My practice is to brief them: "point to anything you see and call 'traffic'. If it's close, call 'traffic close'". You can assess bearing by observing the direction they're pointing in. I tell them that "close" means you can see detail.
Discorde is offline  
Old 27th Jan 2019, 12:16
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 2,374
Apocryphal story has it that a fighter pilot wrote left/right on the appropriate glove to avoid confusion in a fight.
For many years while instructing in the military, I would write LEFT on my right glove and RIGHT on the left. Not once did anyone, student or instructor, notice.
BillieBob is offline  
Old 27th Jan 2019, 19:35
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: on the ground
Posts: 155
Originally Posted by India Four Two View Post
A UAS friend of mine wrote Port and Starboard on his flying gloves!
I've seen Port and Starboard marked on the sides of the boom of yachts to help the helmsman remember which tack they're on.
For juniors I've seen this reduced to "GO FOR IT!" (starboard tack, has right of way) and "NO WAY!" (port tack).
nonsense is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.