Preparing the Chart
Find the origin and the destination on your map (properly called a
"chart" for aviation, but it looks like a map to me). If part of your
route is on a smaller 1:250,000 chart, called a VTA, then use the VTA
for that portion of the route. If your route covers more than one
chart, make sure you have them all. A big table or uncarpeted floor is
Choosing a Set Heading Point
For each leg of your trip, you must choose a set heading point, a point
that you are sure you can reach regardless of which runway is in use,
and without getting lost on the way there. The point should be
something you can definitely identify on the ground while you are
flying, and something that
is localized. A highway junction, a bridge, a distinctive small lake,
or an island all mighr be good set heading points. "The highway" is not
a good set heading point, because the highway is
long, therefore you could be over the highway yet be miles off course.
The best set heading point is in the direction of your destination and
far enough from your airport that you will be at cruising altitude by
the time you reach it.
Mark your set heading point (SHP) on the chart and draw a line from the
starting airport to the SHP and from the SHP to your destination
Yes, you need to write on your maps. Most people use pencil. It's also
possible to laminate the chart and then use fine tipped markers. Use
the permanent kind, and then use windex or nail polish remover to take
the ink off. (If you use the water-soluble kind, the lines rub off on
your hands while you are flying).
... I haven't finished this page yet...
Converting to pressure altitude.
Measuring the Heading
Measuring Track Distances
Top of Descent
Reading the Climb Chart
Reading the Cruise Chart
Decoding the Upper Winds
Robyn's Flying Start Home
This page in progress as of 12 June 2004 by Robyn Stewart.
Copyright 2004 Flying Start