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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

Charting the Course

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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge



Table of Contents

Chapter 1, Introduction To Flying
Chapter 2, Aircraft Structure
Chapter 3, Principles of Flight
Chapter 4, Aerodynamics of Flight
Chapter 5, Flight Controls
Chapter 6, Aircraft Systems
Chapter 7, Flight Instruments
Chapter 8, Flight Manuals and Other Documents
Chapter 9, Weight and Balance
Chapter 10, Aircraft Performance
Chapter 11, Weather Theory
Chapter 12, Aviation Weather Services
Chapter 13, Airport Operation
Chapter 14, Airspace
Chapter 15, Navigation
Chapter 16, Aeromedical Factors
Chapter 17, Aeronautical Decision Making




The course and areas on either side of the planned route
should be checked to determine if there is any type of airspace
with which the pilot should be concerned or which has
special operational requirements. For this trip, it should be
noted that the course passes through a segment of the Class
C airspace surrounding Will Rogers World Airport where the
floor of the airspace is 2,500 feet mean sea level (MSL) and
the ceiling is 5,300 feet MSL (point B). Also, there is Class
D airspace from the surface to 3,800 feet MSL surrounding
Wiley Post Airport (point C) during the time the control
tower is in operation.

Study the terrain and obstructions along the route. This is
necessary to determine the highest and lowest elevations
as well as the highest obstruction to be encountered so that
an appropriate altitude which conforms to 14 CFR part 91
regulations can be selected. If the flight is to be flown at an
altitude more than 3,000 feet above the terrain, conformance
to the cruising altitude appropriate to the direction of flight
is required. Check the route for particularly rugged terrain so
it can be avoided. Areas where a takeoff or landing is made
should be carefully checked for tall obstructions. Television
transmitting towers may extend to altitudes over 1,500 feet
above the surrounding terrain. It is essential that pilots be
aware of their presence and location. For this trip, it should
be noted that the tallest obstruction is part of a series of
antennas with a height of 2,749 feet MSL (point D). The
highest elevation should be located in the northeast quadrant
and is 2,900 feet MSL (point E).

Since the wind is no factor and it is desirable and within the
aircraft's capability to fly above the Class C and D airspace
to be encountered, an altitude of 5,500 feet MSL is chosen.
This altitude also gives adequate clearance of all obstructions
as well as conforms to the 14 CFR part 91 requirement to
fly at an altitude of odd thousand plus 500 feet when on a
magnetic course between 0 and 179°.

Next, the pilot should measure the total distance of the
course as well as the distance between checkpoints. The total
distance is 53 NM and the distance between checkpoints is
as noted on the flight log in Figure 15-26.

After determining the distance, the true course should be
measured. If using a plotter, follow the directions on the
plotter. The true course is 031°. Once the true heading is
established, the pilot can determine the compass heading.
This is done by following the formula given earlier in this
The formula is:
TC ± WCA = TH ± V = MH ± D = CH

The WCA can be determined by using a manual or electronic
flight computer. Using a wind of 360° at 10 knots, it is
determined the WCA is 3° left. This is subtracted from the
TC making the TH 28°. Next, the pilot should locate the
isogonic line closest to the route of the flight to determine
variation. Figure 15-25 shows the variation to be 6.30° E
(rounded to 7° E), which means it should be subtracted from
the TH, giving an MH of 21°. Next, add 2° to the MH for
the deviation correction. This gives the pilot the compass
heading which is 23°.

Now, the GS can be determined. This is done using a manual
or electronic calculator. The GS is determined to be 106
knots. Based on this information, the total trip time, as well
as time between checkpoints, and the fuel burned can be
determined. These calculations can be done mathematically
or by using a manual or electronic calculator.

For this trip, the GS is 106 knots and the total time is 35
minutes (30 minutes plus 5 minutes for climb) with a fuel
burn of 4.7 gallons. Refer to the flight log in Figure 15-26
for the time between checkpoints.

As the trip progresses, the pilot can note headings and time
and make adjustments in heading, GS, and time.

Filing a VFR Flight Plan

Filing a flight plan is not required by regulations; however, it
is a good operating practice, since the information contained
in the flight plan can be used in search and rescue in the event
of an emergency.

Flight plans can be filed in the air by radio, but it is best to
file a flight plan by phone just before departing. After takeoff,
contact the AFSS by radio and give them the takeoff time so
the flight plan can be activated.

When a VFR flight plan is .led, it is held by the AFSS until
1 hour after the proposed departure time and then canceled
unless: the actual departure time is received; a revised
proposed departure time is received; or at the time of filing,
the AFSS is informed that the proposed departure time is
met, but actual time cannot be given because of inadequate
communication. The FSS specialist who accepts the flight
plan does not inform the pilot of this procedure, however.