Pre-Navigation Briefing

February 2, 2014

After completing my Private Pilot Licence Theory Test, I was anxious to get started flying again. I booked in for the first part of the next stage; pre-nav briefing. Beforehand I was supposed to get my maps under control. You had one job, Chris! Did you get it done… no. I may have under-estimated the time required just a little.

What was I supposed to do? Well, basically I had to transfer control and restricted zones from the Visual Terminal Charts (VTCs) and Visual Navigation Charts (VNCs) on to the World Aeronautical Charts (WACs). Why, you ask? The WAC is a bigger map that covers a much larger area which makes it better for flight planning. The only downfall of a WAC, though, is that it doesn’t have any terminal information which is vital for navigation. I’m not sure why Airservices Australia doesn’t produce WACs with this useful information, though I’m sure they have their reasons.

For anyone interested, I have to cut up 2 WACs (Brisbane and Armidale), join them together, draw in all of the control areas and laminate them. That way, we can draw flight paths and information on them and then just rub it out without damaging the map.

Anyway, back to the lesson at hand. I organised the briefing with Robert, which at Gil Layt’s Flying School is free, and a massive advantage over most flying schools. I turned up at about 11:00 even though I was booked for 14:00, as Robert was free for most of the day. So, we started straight away. In a nutshell, we went through planning a flight from woe to go. We started with the pre-flight stuff, which includes the planned track, times and distances and fuel requirements, which is all written on a flight briefing sheet that is downloaded from the Airservices Australia website. Then we went through cockpit organisation and management, which included having all of the relevant information readily available and checks required during flight as well as identifying your position through dead reckoning and correcting using methods, such as the 1:60 rule, if required.

All of this took about three and a half hours and was fairly intense. Malnourished and in need of a coffee, we called it a day, though not before formulating a solid schedule for my flying over the next couple of weeks. We decided it would be beneficial for me to do some time in the Cessna 172 (C172) to get me back into flying after my absence and get me used to the bigger plane, as that is what I will be flying from here on in.

Next Sunday we’ll go out into the training area and do some steep turns, stalls and glides before returning to the circuit for some landings. The week after that, we’ll start navigation training. First destination will be Maryborough. Incredibly excited!

It’s funny how perspective changes throughout your training as a pilot. Initially, all you want to do is get your hands on the controls and do a circuit, then all you want to do is break free of the circuit and into the training area, now all I want to do is leave the training area and fly to other airports. Amazing how things change!

I’m really excited to get back into it and really glad I have Robert to help me through.

We’ll next speak after I’ve been up in the C172, wish me luck and probably stay away from Archerfield on Sunday just to be safe 🙂

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