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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

Flight Diversion

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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




Flight Diversion

There probably comes a time when a pilot is not able to
make it to the planned destination. This can be the result of
unpredicted weather conditions, a system malfunction, or
poor preflight planning. In any case, the pilot needs to be
able to safely and efficiently divert to an alternate destination.
Before any cross-country flight., check the charts for airports
or suitable landing areas along or near the route of flight.
Also, check for navigational aids that can be used during a

Computing course, time, speed, and distance information in
flight, requires the same computations used during preflight
planning. However, because of the limited flight. deck space,
and because attention must be divided between flying the
aircraft, making calculations, and scanning for other aircraft,
take advantage of all possible shortcuts and rule-of-thumb

When in flight, it is rarely practical to actually plot a course
on a sectional chart and mark checkpoints and distances.
Furthermore, because an alternate airport is usually not
very far from your original course, actual plotting is seldom

A course to an alternate can be measured accurately with a
protractor or plotter, but can also be measured with reasonable
accuracy using a straightedge and the compass rose depicted
around VOR stations. This approximation can be made on the
basis of a radial from a nearby VOR or an airway that closely
parallels the course to your alternate. However, remember
that the magnetic heading associated with a VOR radial
or printed airway is outbound from the station. To find the
course TO the station, it may be necessary to determine the
reciprocal of that heading. It is typically easier to navigate
to an alternate airport that has a VOR or NDB facility on
the field.

After selecting the most appropriate alternate, approximate
the magnetic course to the alternate using a compass rose
or airway on the sectional chart. If time permits, try to start
the diversion over a prominent ground feature. However,
in an emergency, divert promptly toward your alternate.
Attempting to complete all plotting, measuring, and
computations involved before diverting to the alternate may
only aggravate an actual emergency.

Once established on course, note the time, and then use the
winds aloft nearest to your diversion point to calculate a
heading and GS. Once a GS has been calculated, determine
a new arrival time and fuel consumption. Give priority to
flying the aircraft while dividing attention between navigation
and planning. When determining an altitude to use while
diverting, consider cloud heights, winds, terrain, and radio

Chapter Summary

This chapter has discussed the fundamentals of VFR
navigation. Beginning with an introduction to the charts that
can be used for navigation to the more technically advanced
concept of GPS, there is one aspect of navigation that remains
the same. The pilot is responsible for proper planning and the
execution of that planning to ensure a safe flight.