September 2008 Issue

Batteries Not Required

Revisiting basic navigation skills can help enhance your situational awareness, especially when all the fancy stuff goes dark.

When was the last time you planned a flight? No, we donít mean hop in the aircraft and punch direct on the nearest GPS navigator; we mean really planned the flight the good old-fashioned way...with a pencil, a plotter, an E6-B, a sectional and a flight log. Itís been a while, hasnít it? At this point, youíre probably thinking, "Here comes another really boring article about navigation," but thatís not the case. Instead, this really is about safety and situational awareness; itís about really understanding what is happening when you fly from point A to point B. Finally, itís about remembering and utilizing the basic skills of a VFR pilot that may have some rust on them. Youíll recall the three basic forms of navigation: Pilotage, ded reckoning and electronic. (Okay, there also is celestial, but weíre making the broad assumption that there are not a lot of flight navigators out there.) Each has its own tricks and tips. But the most important lesson is never, ever to rely on just one of them.

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