Sunday, March 20, 2016

Heads will fall, tails will rise

I had a student interested in learning about the VOR. (VHF Omni Directional Radio Range). Sally was providing false sensor alerts but I felt comfortable taking her up for this kind of lesson.

I dug into my old flight bag and found a set of "Foggles" to use as a vision limiting device. I decided to use LAL and SRQ for our practice stations which would keep us clear of the Tampa Class B airspace.

First we went directly to LAL and upon station passage (cone of silence, when the VOR needle disappears on the Horizontal Situation Indicator) I told him about the 6 "T's".

  1. Time: for groundspeed calculations,not used much now that we have GPS
  2. Twist: The Course Deviation Indicator to the desired course
  3. Turn: to the Desired course
  4. Time: for outbound holding (seldom used now) or approach timing.
  5. Transition: climb, descend, change configuration for an approach.
  6. Talk: to the controlling agency (if necessary)
 Next we talked about intercepting courses. The head of the needle always falls, the tail always rises. So you pick a heading that will allow the head to fall to the desired course. The head points to the station, the tail indicates the radial you are on. Upon intercepting, the 6T's boil down to Twist and Turn.

I've always felt that the test questions were designed to be tricky and intentionally confusing. Actually seeing it used in the airplane seems to help eliminate that confusion.

  • Track: A path along which something moves; a course:  The line you draw on the sectional is the track. The magenta line the GPS depicts is a track.
  • Course: the route or direction followed by a ship, aircraft, road, or river. Course is the direction over the ground along which the plane is currently moving.
  • Heading: The heading is the direction to which the "nose" of the object is pointing, its orientation. The angle between heading and track is known as the drift angle.
  • Bearing: Angular direction measured from one position to another using geographical or celestial reference lines. Relative bearing refers to the angle between the plane's forward direction, and the location of another object (like a VOR station.)
Reference:  Training Video (Pilot Training Solutions)

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