Throwback! – January 2017 Newsletter

COLDSTREAM FLYERS CLUB NEWSLETTER – JANUARY 2017

Welcome to 2017!

The members of Coldstream Flyers have been off to all sorts of places on flying adventures over the Christmas New Year period. Jason Pigdon visited from QLD and a great BBQ get together was held at the club rooms. Some flew to SA and back along the coast, others have done lunch at Kyneton, visited Porepunkah and of course attended the Hangar lunch celebrations for Dick & Liz Gower and Jamie Mitchell.

HANGAR LUNCH / Weekend – Ray Jenkins

It was a great weekend with good friends.  Jamie did the spit roast and it was even better than his usual excellent efforts. Many friends pitched in, carved meats and made sure potatoes were cooked. Liz had already rallied her oven and troops and laid on a base feast of magnificent nibbles, with a plethora of cakes , pavlovas and desserts.

We almost had to shackle Liz to a post to stop her running around, making sure everyone was well fed.

Jamie and I were treated to a couple of night circuits with Anthony exercising his new NVFR rating, was magnificent Muzz !

We then all retired to the ‘verandah’ to listen to stories and ‘gild the lilly’ on some retelling occasions.

The Toc aero club loaned chairs and tables for the occasion and brought their monthly breakfast forward a week so the pilots overnighting could enjoy a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and grilled tomatoes before departing. Their support and help was much appreciated .

A most memorable weekend, thanks again to Liz and Dick Gower and Jamie Mitchell for a most excellent time.

 

CFC COMPETITION DAYS

It has also been announced that the Competition Days will be started again at YCEM through the Coldstream Flyers to be held at the Club Rooms. These Competition days happen every second Sunday each month with the first one on the 12th of February 2017. A BBQ breakfast will kick the competition day off at 10.00am and volunteers to run the day will be required at the start, middle and end of the day for setup, BBQ, kitchen, pack away etc. If you are a student you will need to book an instructor and a plane, if you are a PPL you will need to source a plane only. So if there is any part of the day that you are able to assist please email social@ycem.com.au . We will forward more details closer to the date, but please put it in your calendar and keep an eye out on your emails for information.

 

COMMITTEE’S NOTES

Just a note from the Committee, we have Kestrel Aviation using our club rooms over summer in the support of aerial fire bombing. So PLEASE make sure you wash your dishes, put them away, put your rubbish in the bins and keep our club rooms tidy for us the members and for our guests from Kestrel. Please say hi to them, they are a great bunch of guys. Anyone is most welcome to vacuum, sweep and tidy up. We do not have a roster for these duties so if everyone pitches in the Club can only be a better and brighter place sharing the workload.

 

ACTIVITES & EVENTS 2017

 Yarrawonga Australia Day BBQ. 26 January 2017

 

 Australia Day Inverloch Fly-in- Wooden Boat Festival

The organizers have enquired whether owners of classic or vintage planes could attend on Thursday 26th, Friday 27th or Saturday 28th January. If able to do so it would be greatly appreciated.

The program would be they fly in to Bunurong Field just west of Inverloch (ALA details and photos of Field below), do a fly over Andersons Inlet late morning, land and have a cuppa/lunch, another fly over early afternoon and then go home.

For landing, pilots are not to use runway 17, powerlines are 15 metres high on the boundary. Preferred landing runway 27 or 09. There is a white cross on the threshold of 17, the power line markers have not been installed yet, hopefully up by the end of January.

Australian International Airshow, noon Fri 3 March-Sun 5 March
We are all aware of this major airshow. Details at
https://www.airshow.com.au/airshow2017/PUBLIC/index.asp

The thrust and grunt of the latest military heavy metal will take centre stage at AIRSHOW 2017. The stars of the show will be state-of-the-art jet fighters, bombers and giant heavy lift leviathans from home and abroad. See them so close you could almost touch them. Shudder to the roar of their mighty jet turbines as they perform high octane routines and simulated combat manoeuvres. Marvel as swarms of attack helicopters join in the fray.
https://www.facebook.com/events/866217230166635/

TYABB – Every Saturday Sausage Sizzle

Every Saturday the Peninsula Aero Club have a sausage sizzle, so pop in and say hello at the Tyabb Airfield. Sausage ready to go at lunch time.

Throwback! – November 2016 Newsletter

COLDSTREAM FLYERS CLUB NEWSLETTER – NOVEMBER 2016

Well if wind and rain are your thing October and November have provided you a dream weather event. There has been some nice weather; however it happens to coincide normally with a work day leaving the weekends so so. The Cup Day weekend did give a beautiful Saturday for flying and also Tuesday was OK too to watch some Nags run around a track. We all feel for any students trying to do a NAV currently, however your weather report reading will be terrific!

The Club purchased a new (USED) ride on mower for use by club members. Please make sure that when you use the mower you return it in the same condition, and bring fuel with you. If you need help to use it Club Members are happy to help, just ask. There is also a self-propelled slasher for areas that are hard to reach and for those who like to get some exercise.

The 2016 Wings Night celebrated the achievements of the students at Yarra Valley Flight Training and also the achievements of Coldstream Flyers. A great night with over 80 people attending. It was fantastic to meet and chat to the students about their training. The excitement and memories of first solo’s, PPL nav’s etc never leaves a pilot, they are great memories and achievements for all. A big thank you to Colin and the committee at Coldstream Flyers for all the organising that went into the night and the fantastic guest speaker Scott Tabener and his wife Emma Taberner . His personal journey as a pilot was very interesting and a great motivation to all.

Coldstream Flyers participated in the SAAA/Tyabb Toy Run for charity. We had a fantastic line up of planes that flew into Tyabb and it was great to catchup with fairer halves of the pilots who came along. The Corsair started up and did a fly by that was caught on phones and posted Face Book, it never fails to bring a smile to faces. Tyabb have a wonderful collection of planes on their field and the Aero Club are always very welcoming to visitors. A big thanks to all the pilots who participated and donated toys for this event.

EVENTS

Every Friday Night – Social Pizza Night at the Club Rooms from 6.00pm.

16th December 2016

PFE – The Station Hotel (Footscray)for dinner and then a visit to CocoLea Showroom of Aviation Inspired Decorations and Furniture. CocoLea will open their showroom for our visit. So RSVP by the 11th of Dec to Leanne on Facebook or the committee email.

Temora, Pearl Harbor” Saturday 3rd December

This is the last Temora show until February 2017.

CIRCUM‐TASMANIA CHALLENGE (enroll by 24 December)

Wynyard Aero Club invites you to fly to beautiful Tasmania for the inaugural CIRCUM‐TASMANIA CHALLENGE  on 25-26 February 2017.  Fly the CHALLENGE over a prescribed 2‐day coastal course starting and finishing at Wynyard with an overnight stay at Adventure Bay on amazing Bruny Island. The set route, comprising 4 equi‐distant legs with lunch stops at St Helens on day 1 and Strahan on day 2, covers 685nm of the sensational Tasmanian coastline. The provided OzRunways flight plan requires competing aircraft to overfly numerous coastal features with actual flight paths recorded by supplied GPS trackers. Before departure, competitors will be required to estimate their flight time for each leg and then score penalties for arriving early or late. Missing waypoints or undertaking time‐wasting orbits will also be penalised. A handsome trophy awaits the winning aircraft. Entry fees are yet to be set, but will include all meals, bus transfers and cabin/caravan accommodation on Bruny Island. Competitors must cover their own fuel costs and landing fees at YWYY and YSRN.

Email: Send Email   Website: http://www.wynyardaeroclub.com.au/CTC2017/entry0.pdf
The Great Eastern Fly-In (EVANS HEAD(YEVD)  NSW 7TH JANUARY 2017) 

Website: http://www.greateasternflyin.com

Throwback! – October 2016 Newsletter

COLDSTREAM FLYERS CLUB NEWSLETTER – OCTOBER 2016

Well the September rain has played havoc with the plans of Aero Clubs and their events across several states. After all the hard work and efforts of the various members, Maryborough had to cancel their Wings and Wheels event and Kyneton has had to cancel their Air Show which a lot of flyers were really looking forward to.

The rain might have slowed aviating, but it has not stopped it. Tyabb Aero Club continue to have their Saturday BBQ and Shepparton hosted a Ladies day which was well supported for AWPA. A couple of planes headed to Oz-Kosh at Narromine and below is a first hand account from Nathan Hornsby, First Officer of Hornsby Airlines (8 years old).

NARROMINE airshow!!!

On Friday the 7th of October dad and I went to the airshow that was at Narromine airport. Dad said to me “do you want to go to school or do you want to go flying” (Narromine here we come!!) we left Coldstream at 12.30pm and flew direct to Narromine to the airshow. The weather was FANTASTIC and we set up the pop up tent under the wing, Dad and I looked at all the airplanes. We catched up with Matt Wreford at about 6.00pm and had dinner at the flying club and dad had fish n chips and I had chicken schnitzel (YUMMY) and after that we were greedy and had 8 packet of chips to share and I had a chocolate bar (and dad and matt had lots of beer and they both were tipsy.) we went back to the ten and there were a lot of stupid mosquitos everywhere.

 In the morning I woke dad up at 6.30much to his discust and we had some brekkie and had another look around. We stayed until the air display finished at 1.30pm and headed home. We landed at Coldstream Dad made three landings in one. (he needs a bit more practise)

Thanks dad and Matt for a great trip.

WINGS NIGHT!

CFC will be holding the 2016 Wings Night on 26 November 2016.

BOOK NOW by emailing committee@ycem.com.au

A partner is a non member unless the membership is a family membership

 

CASA Flight Safety Magazine article by Thomas P. Turner

Mountain Flying: Unconsidered factors

Even on the flattest continent in the world, mountains exert an influence that pilots must understand.

I’ve been fortunate to fly as a guest of Australian friends in light aeroplanes up and down Australia’s east coast from Maroochydore and Archerfield as far south as Port Macquarie, southwest to Canberra, Melbourne and Moorabbin, up to Cowra and Armidale, and out-and-back to Uluru via Longreach, Birdsville, Oodnadatta and White Cliffs. Except for the wide stretches over the desert Outback, one thing that strikes me about flying in Australia is that you are never far from the aerial influence of mountains. There are several factors to take into account when engaged in mountain and near-mountain flying. Let’s look at some of the performance effects you must consider.

Density Altitude

Barring precise pilot’s operating handbook performance data for your aeroplane at various altitudes, you may approximate the impact of density altitude on aeroplane performance by using the Koch Chart (figure 1). Substitute 1013.2 hectoPascals for the 29.92 inches of mercury altimeter setting to find the pressure altitude. Draw a line from the ambient temperature at the left to the pressure altitude at the right. This line passes through factors to multiply with sea level performance to derive aeroplane performance under the higher density altitude condition. In the illustrated example, for instance, on a 38 degrees Celsius day at an airport 6000 feet above sea level, the take-off distance will be roughly 3.3 times greater than at sea level an 15 degrees Celsius, while climb rate will be only 25 per cent of the maximum climb rate available at sea level on a standard day.

Unlike the United States, where this chart was published, Australia does not have 6000-foot MSL airports. You can see, however, that even at the elevations you can encounter in Australia, when the temperature is high, the aeroplane performance impact is striking.

We usually only think about density altitude in the context of taking off from a hot and/or high-elevation aerodrome. Consider the pilot, however, flying fairly low when encountering the need to climb to avoid terrain. The take-off distance impact of the Koch chart has no relevance in this case. But the rate-of-climb information may be vital to clearing the height of a ridge. Any time you’re flying near rising terrain, consider the density altitude impact on climb performance. Begin your climb early to avoid a condition when the hills have a steeper climb gradient than your aircraft.

True airspeed

The higher the density altitude, the less dense the atmosphere. This means that for a given rate of passage through space—your true airspeed—the fewer molecules of air will enter the aeroplane’s pitot tube per unit of time. Another way of thinking about this is to say on a normal day at sea level you may have to move forward 300 metres to hit enough air molecules to create enough pressure in the pitot system to register as 60 knots on the airspeed indicator, but that on a hot day you might have to travel 400 metres to hit enough air molecules to give you that 60 knot indication. What this means is that the higher the density altitude, the greater the true airspeed must be in order to create a given indicated airspeed.

Because you need a certain amount of air over the wings to attain desired aircraft performance, such as take-off or landing, you must fly the same indicated airspeeds regardless of altitude or temperature. At higher density altitudes, however, this means you will be at a higher true airspeed when you do so. On take-off, it will take longer to accelerate to the higher true airspeed in order to see the required indicated airspeed—you’ll use more runway to take off, and require more horizontal distance to climb. When landing, your higher true airspeed at the proper indicated final approach speed means you’ll touch down with more inertia than you have at lower density altitudes; even if you fly the correct indicated airspeed and do not float excessively during your landing flare, you’ll still use more runway in order to come to a stop.

Where this can really get a pilot into trouble is if you don’t trust the indicated airspeed, and try to fly your circuit and landing entirely by the appearance of the ground as it rushes past, and the runway as it appears to move toward you on your final approach. With a faster-than-normal true airspeed your ground references will tempt you to slow the aeroplane excessively. Because of the higher true airspeed your turns from downwind to base leg, and from base to final, will generate a wider turning radius; if you subconsciously tighten the turn to make the ground references look ‘normal’ you will add load up the wing with G-load and risk an accelerated stall.

So, fly the proper indicated airspeeds in the circuit in the mountains, but expect wider turning radiuses and the need for longer take-off and landing rolls.

Mechanical turbulence

Adapted from ATSB

Imagine wading along a shallow but fast-moving stream. Looking into the clear, rushing water, you can see how it forms eddies and turbulent flows as the water passes rocks on the stream bed. Leaves and bubbles in the stream speed up and slow down, bounce, and rapidly change direction and height as they encounter the burbles of water.

Air around rising terrain behaves just like water in a swift-flowing stream. The phenomenon is called mechanical turbulence (figure 2). Swift airflow around hills can accelerate in venturi-like canyons and valleys. It will change direction rapidly, both vertically and laterally, and may create eddies and even reverse flow patterns. Visualise the air flowing around mountains as if it was visible water flowing over rocks in a riverbed, and you’ll see how potentially hazardous flying near mountains can be when swift winds are blowing.

Mountain wave

An ATSB accident report from the helicopter crash that killed entertainer Graeme ‘Shirley’ Strachan in August 2001 includes this warning:

‘In Australia mountain waves are experienced over and on the lee side of mountain ranges in the south-east of the continent and in westerly wind flows over the east coast in late winter and early spring. It is absolutely essential that aviators are aware of the wind and its potential effects on aircraft. We hope that out of this tragedy, a greater pilot awareness of mountain waves will save lives in the future.’

Mountain waves are a unique phenomenon, different from ‘simple’ mountain-related mechanical turbulence. Mountain waves can be benign, or they may be extremely hazardous—and it may not always be possible to tell which before entering a hazardous zone.

For a mountain wave to form all three of these factors must be present:

  • The air mass over the mountains is very stable
  • The wind at the height of the ridge or mountain tops must be blowing more than about 25 knots
  • The flow of wind at the ridge or mountaintop height must be roughly perpendicular to the ridge.

When a mountain wave forms, wind hitting the ridge is deflected upward (figure 3). As it climbs the air cools, becoming denser; the heavier weight of cool air forces it downward toward the surface. The accelerating airflow warms and rebounds off the surface, rising again and repeating the cycle. Seen from the side, this looks like waves hitting a beach. Depending on the initial speed of the wind, the level of atmospheric stability, and the quality of terrain on the leeward side of the mountains, the mountain wave may extend as much as hundreds of kilometres.

The ATSB tells us: ‘If the wave amplitude is large enough, then the waves become unstable and break, similar to the breaking waves seen in the surf. Within these “breaking waves”, the atmospheric flow becomes turbulent.’ In the parts of the wave where the wind separates from the ridge, and above where it rebounds off the surface, intense vortices or ‘rotors’ can form. ‘Breaking waves and rotors associated with mountain waves are among the most hazardous phenomenon [sic] that pilots can experience,’ reports the ATSB. Upward and downward rates of airflow can exceed 8000 feet per minute, more than any light aeroplane can outclimb if caught in the downwind.

Glider pilots love mountain waves; they can ride the rising waves to remain aloft for long periods, often soaring perpendicular to mountain ridges on the leeward side to remain in the upward flow for long times, or over long distances. Pilots of powered aeroplanes can do the same thing. But powered aeroplane pilots generally do not want to go where the wind flow permits, they want to go to where the pilot wants to be. Consequently powered aeroplane pilots are not usually content to remain in the upward part of a mountain wave, and eventually find themselves in the strong downward flow or possibly a breaking wave or rotor. Generally, mountain wave conditions are to be avoided in powered aeroplanes because of the extreme hazards you are likely to encounter.

Mountain wave conditions may sometimes be identified by lens-shaped or lenticular clouds that form at the crests of the wavelike flow. Because lenticular clouds do not move over the terrain, they are sometimes called standing lenticulars. Lenticular clouds form when there is sufficient moisture in the air to reach the point of condensation when the air cools at the top of the waves. From there descending air warms until the air is no longer saturated. It’s not that the moist air is trapped in a fixed spot over the grounds; it’s that the air over that point is at the temperature of condensation, and the air is warmer at other parts of the wave. Consider a single parcel of moist air. It is vapour as it rises off the ridge, becomes visible condensation at the top of the wave, and returns to vapour as it descends. The lenticular cloud is constantly fed new, moist air that exists as visible cloud only for a short time.

Unconsidered factors

Australian pilots may not log a lot of take-offs and landings from mountain airports, but they very frequently fly over or near mountains, and in areas affected by the influence of mountains on the surrounding air. Some of the phenomena that may seem to be merely the realm of theory—density altitude, the difference between indicated and true airspeed, mechanical turbulence and mountain waves—may have very practical, real-world application to Australian flying. Consider the impact of heat and altitude on aeroplane performance, and visualise the flow of air around and above terrain, especially when the winds are strong and when the air is stable.

EVENTS:

Every Friday night – Social Pizza night at Coldstream Club Rooms

Every Saturday – Tyabb Aero Club BBQ

OCTOBER 2016

15th October 2016 – Temora Antique Celebration

16th October 2016 – Porepunkah Flyin lunch – RSVP Katrina: 0412 092 597 by the 10/10/16

23rd October 2016 – Kyneton Airshow CANCELLED

23rd October 2016 – HMAS Cerberus Open Day – to us it is this PRD zone near Tyabb. http://www.navy.gov.au/event/hmas-cerberus-open-day-2016

NOVEMBER 2016

19th November 2016 – 1.00pm AOPA will address a forum on proposed AVMED reforms at the Tyabb airfield.

14th November 2016 – 6.00pm Xmas & Wings Night Please visit the website for info on ticket bookings http://ycem.com.au

Throwback! – September 2016 Newsletter

COLDSTREAM FLYERS CLUB NEWSLETTER – SEPTEMBER 2016

 Late August delivered a new plane VH-DEY (Beechcraft Debonair) to the field for Scott and Leanne which arrived from Queensland and welcomed to its new home.  This means that VH-DWV Piper Archer PA 28 180 is for sale and looking for its next owner. The lovely sound that is unmistakably a Debonair will be a welcome addition to the field.

Big congratulations to Siobhan Melba on successfully gaining her PPL. We celebrated this great achievement with her at a Friday social Pizza night.

With the spring blossom causing hay fever and flying fever the Coldstream Flyers have been visiting Tyabb with some of the owners planes featuring in the Peninsula Aero Club Newsletter. There was a fun lunch at the Tyabb Packing House which is a great place to explore and grab lunch.

There was also a Father’s Day Fly-In to Shepparton that the Goulburn Valley Aero Club had put on in conjunction with a tractor and steam display that was really great.

Other club members made everyone jealous with a visit to a very special aeroplane in the UK. Just duck when you enter! No holiday for a pilot is complete without at least one visit to an aircraft museum or airfield. The Concorde definitely is worth a visit.

The other activity that was realised in September was the “Blues Train” weekend. 14 club members went on the weekend to Point Lonsdale and Saturday Night on the “Blues Train”.

Thank you to Caroline for the pics and weekend summary:-

The Coldstream Flyers and their partners had a fabulous weekend away at Point Lonsdale staying at a local Guest House. No planes were involved but going by the speed of some of our members on their bikes, had there been a little more wind we may have seen a few bikes flying in the sky!

A few of us walked from Point Lonsdale to Queenscliff and back, some rode and a few drove. The weather was not looking the best in the morning but by lunchtime we had plenty of sunshine.

The Blue’s Train was the highlight of the trip. The Bongo’s transported us to Queenscliff Station around 6:00 p.m. where we stocked up on beverages and had dinner served on the station platform. Once everyone had eaten dinner, we were on our way.

There were 4 carriages, each with a different Blue’s band. We began our journey in carriage B. To enable everyone to experience each band, we swapped carriages at the 4 stops, stretched our dancing legs and replenished our supplies. At the half way mark, I personally was craving some Twisties and thankfully the station store had a few packets left. Carriage D was the dance carriage with seating running along each wall allowing enough room for our members to boogie the night away. I think Simon was a standout on the dance floor! We returned to Queenscliff station around 11:30 p.m. with the Bongo’s waiting for us to take us back to the Guest House.

I personally had a fabulous weekend and on behalf of everyone that went, thank you for organizing a terrific weekend.

And before you ask, we didn’t lose anyone or leave Leanne behind!

 

ACTIVITIES:

EVERY SATURDAY – Peninsula Aero Club have a Sausage Sizzle, all are welcome so drop in and say hello.

EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT – Coldstream Flyers have a social Pizza night at the club rooms from 6.00pm.

WINGS & WHEELS MARYBOROUGH –24th September 2016 – YMBU Is hosting Wings N Wheels. Check out the details on the link to the event. A great day of cars, bikes, planes, aerobatics & racing and a bus that will take you into town from the airport and return. It is a great day and the airport is full of activity.

http://www.wingsandwheels.net.au/maryborough-swap-meet/

TUKI TROUT FISHING – 30th September 2016 – We will be flying to Tuki for some trout fishing and lunch on the AFL Grand Final Friday Public Holiday. Those who catch trout can have them prepared for lunch and there will be other items on the menu to cater for everyone. Or you can even take some home if your catch is that successful. Check out the airfield information if you are flying in. It is under 100nm from Coldstream. RSVP through the CFC Facebook Group (link below) or email jennifer@ycem.com.au. Great family day. $35pp for fishing and lunch extra you can even take your catch home.

http://retreat.tuki.com.au/about-us/airfield-information/

KYNETON AIR SHOW – 23rd October 2016 – Kyneton Air Show

http://kynetonaeroclub.org/wp/airshow/

Gone pear shaped – From the CASA Flight Safety Archives

Mar 28, 2014

Name withheld by request

Think you’ll never be seduced into relying on GPS instead of airmanship? Think again.

How much do we rely on GPS? More and more, until we are now almost entirely dependent upon its accuracy and continued operation. But it wasn’t always that way—we used to teach proper navigation skills (dead reckoning, 1 in 60 rule etc.) Once, we used to draw tracks on paper charts and mark our times and estimates with a strange-looking thing called a pencil.

I encountered an early adopter of the then-new technology while I was instructing in New Zealand in 1995. While flying a routine IFR navex with a student, I overheard the RNZAF Ohakea controller calling an unknown aircraft that had ventured into his airspace from the north without the requisite clearance. After some minutes, the pilot responded and after a few turns for identification, was asked exactly what his intentions were.

It turned out that he was lost and above cloud, after having departed an airfield somewhere north of Auckland earlier that morning, using his new GPS for navigation. His wife had bought the unit for him and encouraged him to go and use it, so that is exactly what he had set out to do. The only problem was that he hadn’t taken the instruction book with him to assist with his learning. Nor had he taken any paper charts for backup. Also, he hadn’t been keeping an accurate log, so he now found himself in military airspace, above cloud, and with an increasingly frustrated controller intent on getting him out of there. He was vectored to land at Ohakea, where he was presumably dealt with in a more formal manner. I never saw the incident mentioned in any safety magazine or other media, but I can only assume that he was eventually released and allowed to resume his trip, hopefully with some paper charts to assist.

Another incident occurred in the United States, when I was flying with a student on a two-hour, commercial navex. Let’s call her Lauren for this story. The night before, I had asked Lauren to prepare her chart and nav log for the trip, and to make any notes she felt she needed in order to be comfortable and prepared. I had also asked her to draw 10-mile hacks on each leg. However, this seems not to be something that the American system is too familiar with, as Lauren had never heard of them and I had to briefly explain their intended use. In spite of all this, she arrived for the flight with not a mark on her chart—not even her tracks! I decided to leave the subject alone for the moment and allow her to continue with her preparations.

I had flown some instrument training exercises with her, but as this was her first VFR navex with me, I thought I’d just let her do her own thing for a while and I could debrief her later and/or fix any problems as they cropped up.

Life was about to get very complicated for Lauren though, as immediately after departure I simulated a low cloud base and would not allow her above 500 feet AGL. I wasn’t intending to cause her any real problems, but Lauren’s actions at this time quickly set the scene for a great learning experience for both of us. Before we had even reached 500 feet, Lauren was manoeuvring to track via the VFR GPS fitted to the control column of the little Grumman Tiger. I reached over and turned it off, reminding her that this was to be a visual navex and she would have to find an alternative method to fix her position. She immediately dialled up the nearest VOR and attempted to navigate with that. Of course, at 500 feet, there was little accuracy in the signal anyway, but I also turned that off, attempting to make a point that she seemed determined to miss. Americans don’t like to use NDBs very much, but just in case, I also turned that off before Lauren even thought to dial it up.

After a couple of minutes, it was clear to me that Lauren had neither logged her departure time, nor calculated the ETA for her first turning point, and every additional minute saw us travelling further off track as she already had a 15-degree error in her heading. Consequently, she was lost within minutes of departure—and we would still have been within sight of our departure airport if we had turned around. It was clearly time to revisit ‘Map reading 101’ and very quickly, as I didn’t want to turn around and scrub the sortie because we had to pick up another aircraft at our destination.

I took control of the aircraft and asked Lauren to draw lines and 10-mile hacks on her chart, after which I proceeded to re-teach her how to navigate visually, using first the larger landmarks, and then progressively smaller features to confirm and fine tune her plotting. Given that she already had over 200 hours of experience, I had expected a much better start to our trip, but it was not going to be a waste of time if I could help it.

Over the next 45 minutes or so, I continued to fly the aircraft and instruct quite heavily, with little opportunity for Lauren to do anything but listen and do as I asked. After that, I let her have the aircraft again while she applied her new-found skills and knowledge to get us to the second waypoint. By the time we got to our destination a little over an hour later, she was becoming comfortable with the technique and not even missing the GPS.

More recently, I left Coober Pedy, using the GPS as primary navigation source on an IFR flight, but as I adjusted the settings the unit’s screen went blank. I now had to navigate using only the NDB, and that was quickly falling further behind me. There were no navaids in front of me on this track, but fortunately, it was a clear day and I could easily see where I was going. After a quick reboot, the unit told me we were somewhere in Europe—clearly not quite right, but at least showing it was ready to TRY and find our position. I also had an iPad with a basic navigation application, from which I was able to obtain a latitude and longitude to input into my sadly ‘dumb’ GPS unit. Finally, I had both position and track back on the GPS display, and continued to my destination without further difficulty. However, as a precaution, I remained VMC and kept a very good log of my progress in order to double check that we stayed on track.

It was one of those ‘there I was’ stories for the bar or BBQ, but had the conditions been IMC, it would have been an entirely different proposition. I too had fallen into the trap of relying too much on just one system! With the stunning accuracy of GPS and the ease with which we can get around on our typically low-stress flights, it is very easy for complacency to creep in, and suddenly, to find ourselves without that essential bit of information to keep our passengers and ourselves safe—just where the hell we are.

http://www.flightsafetyaustralia.com/2014/03/gone-pear-shaped/