Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Airborne Protocol

Now it's happened.

Like me, you've completely converted to electronic charts on some tablet device the mention of whose name would trigger a massive influx of spam.  I try to keep a WAC chart handy but you know how that goes.

But now you've had a navigation failure of some kind, and it's time to keep a dead-reckoning log.

If you're like me, you've been keeing some kind of navigation log all along, especially for a longer flight.  I wrote a while ago about one airline's practice, and that's not the only carrier whose captains write out nav logs.  I emulate it.

My protocol seems complex but with a little practice it's quite easy.

  1. Go to your favorite flight planner.  Plan. Make a screen capture of the nav log (on my tablet, that involves pressing POWER and HOME simultaneously;
  2. Open a productivity app like uPad and import the screen capture;
  3. Use uPad (or whatever) to annotate the nav log.
In the end, it looks something like the actual example below.

But what about the dead reckoning chart?  I've developed a similar protocol.

  1. Use your favorite tablet nav program and enter your flight plan;
  2. Take a screen capture;
  3. Open the screen capture in uPad (or whatever) and keep track of where you are.
A made-up example appears below. I've noted the time that each landmark was passed, and from this I can get groundspeed, correct my wind correction, note the weather, and the like.


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