Start to read this book EARLY!
From the 2nd week, my instructor asked me every day: “Have you started to read “Navigation?” – “No, not yet.” – “You should really start it. You improve well in Airfield Work & Handling Exercises and if you don’t start now, we will have to take a break. Navigation flights are the next to come.”
At this stage, I significantly underestimated navigation. The importance of navigation in general, how long this book is, but, also how much time I will finally invest in simply practicing planning during all the next steps. I was on my way to not taking navigation that seriously because it sounded a little boring.
But his remark, that we would have to stop flying until I read it, wakes me up quickly. I love to fly and want to fly every day. The idea of not flying because I am lagging behind with studying was unacceptable !
PRACTICE Navigation Planing
A few days later, I have just finished reading the section about planning, he directly pushes me further and suggests that from now we slow down to only one flight a day and I start to practice and plan a navigation flight.
This brings me literally to a dilemma. On the one hand, I really don’t like the idea of reducing flying. On the other hand, I don’t want to block my next steps. And as I heard from other students, in the CPL exams, navigation will be one of the biggest hurdles to overcome.
The next morning he gives me 3 navigation points – small cities around Goodwood – my first exercise.
It’s not just a completely new activity with new tools (flight computer etc.), but is, of course, in tight connection with getting familiar with this mysterious London Air Zone South UK flight chart and area, which I still don’t know at all.
It takes me two hours to find those 3 cities because I get so distracted by all the other information on the chart. All those lines and signs. I start to follow the lines, read the legend etc. and completely forget that I am looking up some specific places.
After a while, I start to draw some lines on the chart, measure distances and angles, use the flight computer and somehow end up with a piece of paper full of scribbles and crossed out numbers, etc. It all looks more like a primary school maths exercise than a navigation plan.
Later, we talk about it in detail. I am surprised at how long we can talk about a navigation plan but it is really interesting and he gives many different inputs which I will take into account next time. It’s all small hints, but all of them will help to “better” plan the flight.
My next navigation plan to practice is the one we will fly as my first exercise. After my first navigation flight, he never had to convince me any further than it was of greater importance to plan as well as possible.
The sooner – the better
I am still very happy that he pointed out the importance of navigation & planning so clearly. I started to build up the necessary skills for safe and totally relaxed solo navigation flights at a very early stage.
Another reason to start early and practice regularly is that, like the flying exercises, more and more parts get added to the very first basic and rudimentary plan until we reach the Full MATED Brief.
This was the most important base for an ongoing and quick succession through the remaining 20% of the PPL training. Here, it’s more about “pimping” everything to a higher level: planning, flying, radio – everything.
Also, the following written exam about navigation, that some struggle with, was really a walk in the park this way.
And finally, once I started it, I really enjoyed navigation planning – I did not find it boring at all. It’s like starting a new adventure trip on paper and dreaming about the outcome. I have always loved dreaming about new adventures.
Enjoy your flight!
On every single navigation flight, before leaving the aircraft to let me go, he reminded me to enjoy it. On every single solo navigation flight, I was well prepared, felt totally relaxed and found some time to enjoy the view.