Resume own navigation, only horizontal navigation

Does resume own navigation refer to your horizontal navigation, or horizontal and lateral navigation?

According to John D. Collins, a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor);

RESUME OWN NAVIGATION – Used by ATC to advise a pilot to resume his/her own navigational responsibility. It is issued after completion of a radar vector or when radar contact is lost while the aircraft is being radar vectored.

Resume own navigation can be issued to a VFR aircraft that is being vectored after the vector, in which case it is not a clearance to fly a specific route, but rather an indication to the pilot that they may navigate by their chosen route.

Notice the word vectors, vectors refers to heading but does not refer to an assigned altitude. It’s not related to an altitude instruction. It becomes very complicated and mucky though if you try to apply what is used in the real world, because it is very varies from group to group in different areas of the world.

To simplify things and create uniformity, Infinite Flight has described it in the following, this from the the ATC Manual:

10.8.3 If you do issue a vector or altitude assignment, once the risk of conflict is no longer present, you should let the pilot know by sending ‘resume own navigation’ and/or ‘altitude at your discretion’ as appropriate (see 10.8.5 below for exceptions).

So, if issued an altitude and heading instruction, the controller must issue an ‘altitude at your discretion’ along with a ‘resume own navigation’, so that the pilot can climb to their intended altitude.

If only a ‘resume own navigation’ is issued, then the pilot must continue to follow the altitude issued until they receive an ‘altitude at your discretion.

References:
1. “Resume own navigation vs proceed on course” answered by John D. Collins on askacfi.com
2. 10.8.3 of the Infinite Flight ATC Manual

Send expect progressive taxi in the pushback

One thing to note with the new progressive taxi instructions is the fact that you need to send “expect progressive taxi” before you send any progressive taxi instructions.

Per the Infinite Flight ATC Manual, “Before it’s used, controllers should send ‘Expect Progressive Taxi Instructions’ to the aircraft in question (although this
may not always be possible)”.

In order to get ahead of this, a good way to be proactive is by sending the ‘expect progressive taxi” command after telling the aircraft to pushback, if you know you will need to send progressive taxi instructions to that aircraft.

If you were to wait till you needed to send them taxi instructions, you’d need to send potentially in some cases, three commands. ‘Expect progressive taxi’, ‘Taxi to runway X’ and a progressive taxi instruction ‘turn left next taxiway’, for example. By sending it in the pushback you cut those commands down to only two, the taxi instruction ‘taxi to runway x’ and the eventual progressive taxi instructions ‘turn left next taxiway’. This speeds up the process.

Use progressive taxi sparingly, but if it’s needed, be proactive not reactive.

Resources:
1. 5.2.2 of the Infinite Flight ATC Manual.

Virgin Virtual Group

My thanks to Virgin Virtual Group for sponsoring the website this week.

Every wanted to fly real life routes and do it like a real airline. Well now is your chance that you can join a VA and fly with some of the best. At VGVA we fly real life routes and fly group flights, every week. We hope that you would like to join a VA and most of all, join VGVA.

If you’d like to learn about how to sponsor the website and advertise your product or service, learn more here!

Use the separation given to you, trust your pilots

I learned a new thing that may interest you regarding holding patterns.

Holding patterns can be a great way to tame down and control high traffic areas without having to use huge swooping lines. You issue each aircraft a holding instruction on initial contact, which includes an altitude to maintain while flying in the pattern. Done.

Holding pattern altitude instructions in Infinite Flight can be issued for 3,000ft to 18,000ft MSL. No higher, no lower. I usually use in most scenarios, 7,000ft to 18,000ft MSL. You’d normally stack these holding patterns, meaning you’d have multiple aircraft in one holding pattern.

In the past, I didn’t have enough trust in the pilots. As you know or may not know, on Infinite Flight, aircraft must have 3nm of horizontal or 1000ft of vertical separation at all times. So, I would have one aircraft at every level of the stack. One aircraft at 4,000ft, one at 5,000ft, one at 6,000ft, and so on. By doing that, the max amount of aircraft I could hold would be 15. That’s not very scaleable, as more traffic comes that strategy will become unusable. I didn’t trust the pilots to maintain separation within the hold.

Just recently though, I tried out holding two aircraft at each altitude, maintaining the minimum 3nm horizontal spacing. To my surprise, it worked. I can now hold twice the amount of aircraft in the hold now! Then I tried out three, then four, still worked. I was amazed, why did I never try this before?

Now I can condense the holding pattern down. Instead of having this huge stack usually from 6,000ft to 18,000ft MSL, only holding 12 aircraft. Now I can hold the same amount of aircraft in a stacked hold from 6,000ft to 9,000ft MSL.

This change will drastically improve the time required to stay within the hold, and allow me to use holding patterns more in high traffic.

The main thing to take away is that I need to not overthink things, trust the pilots, and use the separation given to me.

References:
1. 10.3.2 of the Infinite Flight ATC Manual.

Above Field Elevation

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines the Airport Elevation as the highest point of an airport’s usable runways and is measured in height above mean sea level.

AAL (Above Aerodrome Level) and AAE (Above Aerodrome Elevation) are European acronyms. These term are not used as often but it is referenced in the FAA’s Instrument Flying Handbook. You can reference the AFD, Sectional Charts, Terminal Charts, or the Airport Diagram to find the AFE (Above Field Elevation) for your airport.

References:
1. “What is the difference between Above Ground Level and Above Field Elevation?” by CARLVALERI on JANUARY 8, 2014

Math meets aviation

by tomthetank, Infinite Flight ATC Supervisor and CFI-G.

Dead Reckoning is a little bit more complicated, but we’ll still cover the basics. Dead Reckoning uses math to determine just what direction you have to travel, and for how long. In real life, you would need a map, a plotter, a compass, a stopwatch, and a navigation log. Infinite Flight provides a lot of those things, so all you need to do is some planning.

Start off by planning your start and end airports, and drawing a line between them. If you’re comfortable, you can use dead reckoning to fly direct between them, as long as your aircraft has the range. At this point, you need to determine a few things: your true airspeed (TAS)and your heading.

To save us all a bit of math, I’m going to refer you to ExperimentalAircraft.info for these calculations. Once you plug your information in, you’ll have a heading and a groundspeed.

Once you have your heading and TAS (True Air Speed) as well as a calculated groundspeed, you can figure out how long it’ll take you to travel between your waypoints.

This isn’t a perfect system though — you may get blown off course by the wind or something! Don’t worry, course corrections aren’t uncommon. There’s a good rule of thumb, the 1 in 60 rule. If you are 1 nautical mile off course (based on what you see on the ground versus your course line on your map), a course correction of 1 degree will have you back on course in roughly 60 nautical miles. A course correction of 2 degrees will have you back on course in half the distance, roughly 30 nautical miles. As always, keep looking out the window and making sure you know where you are relative to your plan!

Resources:
1. ”ExperimentalAircraft.info”

Looking out the window

by tomthetank, Infinite Flight ATC Supervisor and CFI-G.

Pilotage is the practice of navigating based on outside references. All you need for this is a map, a plan, and a way to look outside your aircraft.

Start your flight planning by looking at a VFR chart and planning where you want to end up. Imagine a line between your departure airport and arrival airport. Start looking down that line, and make a plan based off ground features you’re sure you can see from the air. Towns, major roads, rivers, and airports are all great landmarks to use. Choose features that aren’t too far away, roughly 15nm maximum, so that you know you’ll be able to see each landmark and not get lost in between. In the chart I included in the Resources section, you can see that the pink line has a few airports and towns along it’s way, and that there’s a highway just right of course, north of Jolamtra. These all make great waypoints to follow, even with 15m imagery.

Once you have your plan, you can use it to go flying! Take off, and head towards your first waypoint! Keep a sharp eye out, and once you see it, head to the next one. Keep doing this until you reach your destination.

I’m always a student pilot

“No matter how old I get or how many hours I accumulate, I will always be a student pilot.” – Anonymous

You never stop learning.

[Sponser] Virgin Virtual Group: Flying – The Fun Way

Ever wanted to fly real life routes and do it like a real airline. Well now is your chance that you can join a VA and fly with some of the best. At VGVA we fly real life routes and fly group flights, every week. We hope that you would like to join a VA and most of all, join VGVA.

Simplest way to determine pattern altitude

A simple method to determine the traffic pattern altitude is to read it directly from the Airport Facilities Directory. Here you can see the Traffic Pattern Altitude (TPA) is 6885 or 1000 feet above field elevation as indicated by the parentheses.

You can search the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Facility Directory here.

References:
1. “What is the difference between Above Ground Level and Above Field Elevation?” by CARLVALERI on JANUARY 8, 2014
2. “Airport/Facility Directory” by the Federal Aviation Administration.