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Lesson 11 - Flight Planning - Ascent Ground School

Last update to our questions: 9/31/16
FAA Private Pilot Question Bank: 09/28/16
We update our questions as often as the FAA updates their questions bank, or as often you report new questions to us.

Private Pilot | Lesson 11 - Flight Planning

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
11.1 MAGNETIC COURSE
11.2 MAGNETIC HEADING
11.3 COMPASS HEADING
11.4 VFR FLIGHT PLAN FORM
11.5 CALCULATING TIME ENROUTE
11.6 TIME ZONES

11.1 Magnetic Course

A number of FAA knowledge test questions ask you to determine the magnetic course for a specific flight.

Magnetic course (MC), is the True Course (TC) adjusted for magnetic variation. Magnetic course is the course that would take you directly from origin to destination if there was no wind along the route of flight.

Determine the True Course (TC) by placing the straight edge of a navigational plotter or protractor along the route, with the hole in the plotter on the intersection of the route and a meridian, or line of longitude (the vertical line with small tick-marks).

  1. The TC is measured by the numbers on the protractor portion of the plotter (semi-circle) at the meridian.
  2. Note that up to four numbers (90° apart) are provided on the plotter. You must determine which is the direction of the flight, using a common sense approximation of your direction.

Alternatively, you can use a line of latitude (horizontal line with small tick-marks) if your course is in a north or south direction.

  1. This is why there are four numbers on the plotter. You may be using either a meridian or line of latitude to measure your course and be going in either direction along the course line.

To determine the Magnetic Course (MC) for your route of flight, adjusted the True Course (TC) by adding or subtracting the charted magnetic variation.

  1. On sectional charts, a long dashed line provides the number of degrees of magnetic variation (angle between true north and magnetic north).
    The variation is either East or West and is signified by "E" or "W," for example, 3°E or 5°W.
  2. If the variation is East, subtract the variation from the TC; if the variation is West, add the variation to the TC.
    Use this saying as a memory aid: "East is least. West is best".

If you determine your course using the compass rose around a VOR, the compass rose is already adjusted for the magnetic variation, so your course is already a magnetic course and no adjustment is needed from TC to MC. The compass rose surrounds VORs and has every 30° labeled, as well as tick marks for every 5°.

Remember to use the reciprocal heading of radials when flying TO the VOR. For example, if your course is toward an airport is on the 090° radial, the your heading to the airport, which is your MC, is 270°, not 090°.

Ascent Quick Quiz
Ascent Quick Quiz - 11.1 Magnetic Course
Question 1: (Refer to figure 27.) Determine the magnetic course from Breckheimer (Pvt) Airport (area 1) to Jamestown Airport (area 4).
Answer

Question 2: (Refer to figure 21.) Determine the magnetic course from First Flight Airport (area 5) to Hampton Roads Airport (area 2).
Answer

Question 3: (Refer to figure 22.) What course should be selected on the omnibearing selector (OBS) to make a direct flight from Mercer County Regional Airport (area 3) to the Minot VORTAC (area 1) with a TO indication?
Answer

Question 4: (Refer to figure 24.) On what course should the VOR receiver (OBS) be set to navigate direct from Hampton Varnville Airport (area 1) to Savannah VORTAC (area 3)?
Answer

Question 5: (Refer to figure 25.) Determine the magnetic course from Airpark East Airport (area 1) to Winnsboro Airport (area 2). Magnetic variation is 6°30'E.
Answer

Question 6: (Refer to figure 25.) On what course should the VOR receiver (OBS) be set in order to navigate direct from Majors Airport (area 1) to Quitman VORTAC (area 2)?
Answer


11.2 Magnetic Heading

Magnetic Heading (MH) is Magnetic Course (MC) adjusted for wind correction angle. Remember, magnetic heading would keep you on your desired course only if there is absolutely no wind. Your wind correction angle is the angle that you must "crab" into the wind in order to track along your magnetic heading.


Determine your wind correction angle using the wind side of the E6-B, and a given :

  1. Align the magnetic wind direction on the inner scale under the true index at the top of the computer.
    • Wind directions are normally given in relation to true north, not magnetic. So, you must adjust the wind direction from true to magnetic by adding or subtracting magnetic variation.
  2. Find the magnetic variation on the navigation chart. Just as you did above for course corrections, add westerly variation and subtract easterly variation.
    • For example, if given a wind of 350° and a 10°E variation, the magnetic direction of the wind is 340° (350° – 10°).
  3. Slide the grid through the computer until the grommet (the hole in the center) is on the 100-kt. wind line. Measure up the vertical line the amount of wind speed in knots and put a pencil mark on the plastic.
  4. Rotate the inner scale so that the MC lies under the true index.
  5. Slide the grid so that your pencil dot is superimposed over the true airspeed (TAS). The location of the grommet will indicate the groundspeed. This is needed for time en route calculations.
  6. The pencil mark will indicate the wind correction angle (WCA). If the marks is on the left, it is a negative wind correction. If it is on the right, it is a positive wind correction.

To determine your MH, add or subtract your WCA to or from your MC

  • Add the number of WCA degrees if the pencil mark is on the right of the centerline
  • Subtract the number of WCA degrees if it is on the left.

Converting your True Course (TC) to Magnetic Course (MC), and converting your winds to from true to magnetic means that you do not have to convert your final answer to magnetic since both components (course and winds) have already been adjusted to magnetic before you began using the wind side of your E6-B. Many courses for cross-country flights are to or from VORs, which allow you to use the compass rose to determine MC directly, allowing you to skip the plotter routine for determining TC and adjusting it to MC. Just remember, the compass rose around VORs is already adjusted to magnetic north.

Ascent Quick Quiz
Ascent Quick Quiz - 11.2 Magnetic Heading
Question 1: (Refer to figure 22.) Determine the magnetic heading for a flight from Mercer County Regional Airport (area 3) to Minot International (area 1). The wind is from 330° at 25 knots, the true airspeed is 100 knots, and the magnetic variation is 10°E.
Answer

Question 2: (Refer to figure 23.) What is the magnetic heading for a flight from Priest River Airport (area 1) to Shoshone County Airport (area 3)? The wind is from 030° at 12 knots and the true airspeed is 95 knots.
Answer

Question 3: (Refer to figure 23.) Determine the magnetic heading for a flight from St. Maries Airport (area 4) to Priest River Airport (area 1). The wind is from 340° at 10 knots and the true airspeed is 90 knots.
Answer

Question 4: (Refer to figure 23.) Determine the magnetic heading for a flight from Sandpoint Airport (area 1) to St. Maries Airport (area 4). The wind is from 215° at 25 knots and the true airspeed is 125 knots.
Answer

Question 5: (Refer to figure 24.) Determine the magnetic heading for a flight from Allendale County Airport (area 1) to Claxton-Evans County Airport (area 2). The wind is from 090° at 16 knots, and the true airspeed is 90 knots.
Answer

Question 6: (Refer to figure 26.) Determine the magnetic heading for a flight from Fort Worth Meacham (area 4) to Denton Muni (area 1). The wind is from 330° at 25 knots, the true airspeed is 110 knots, and the magnetic variation is 7°E.
Answer


11.3 Compass Heading

Compass Heading (CH) is Magnetic Heading (MH), corrected for compass deviation.

Deviation is the error produced on the compass simply because it is installed in an aircraft - all the metal, electric motors, and other instruments in each airplane affect the compass causing compass deviation. The deviation of each compass in an aircraft is given on the Compass Correction Card, which is usually mounted on or very near the compass itself, with correction intervals for every 30°. For each 30°, the card list both the MH and its corresponding CH (sometimes simply listed as a "steer" heading, since these are the headings the pilot would "steer" in order to arrive at the destination).

If a question asks for a compass heading (CH), the MH is converted to a CH by adding or subtracting deviation. The difference between the two headings listed on the Compass Correction Card is the deviation, the amount to add or subtract to MH to arrive at CH.

Compass Correction Card

EXAMPLE:

Using the compass correction card above, your CH would be 085° if your MH were due east
And, your CH would be 332° if your MH were 330°.

Ascent Quick Quiz
Ascent Quick Quiz - 11.3 Compass Heading
Question 1: (Refer to figure 24 and figure 59.) Determine the compass heading for a flight from Claxton-Evans County Airport (area 2) to Hampton Varnville Airport (area 1). The wind is from 280° at 8 knots, and the true airspeed is 85 knots.
Answer


11.4 VFR Flight Plan Form

Though they are not required for flight, it is very easy and prudent to file a VFR flight plan for any cross-country type of flight (i.e., when you plan to fly from one airport to another).

The VFR flight plan form has 17 inputs. All are fairly self-explanatory, however, the following blocks are tested on the private pilot knowledge test:

  • Block 7: Cruising Altitude
    Cruising Altitude is only your initial requested altitude.
  • Block 9: Destination (Name of airport and city)
    Destination is the airport or place at which you plan to make your last landing for this flight.
    • Unless you plan a stopover of more than 1 hr. elsewhere en route
  • Block 12: Fuel on Board
    Fuel on Board is the amount of usable fuel in the airplane (listed in hours and minutes of flying time) at the time of departure.

A VFR flight plan does not close or cancel itself - you have to actively close your flight plan. Any Control towers (and ground control) do not automatically close VFR flight plans when you land, as they do not know if a particular VFR aircraft is on a flight plan (remember, a VFR flight plan is not required for flight). You should close your flight plan with the nearest FSS, or if one is not available, you may request any ATC facility to relay your cancellation to the FSS.

Ascent Quick Quiz
Ascent Quick Quiz - 11.4 VFR Flight Plan Form
Question 1: (Refer to figure 52.) If more than one cruising altitude is intended, which should be entered in block 7 of the flight plan?
Answer

Question 2: (Refer to figure 52.) What information should be entered in block 9 for a VFR day flight?
Answer

Question 3: (Refer to figure 52.) What information should be entered in block 12 for a VFR day flight?
Answer

Question 4: How should a VFR flight plan be closed at the completion of the flight at a controlled airport?
Answer


11.5 Calculating Time Enroute

A pilot must be able to calculate his/her time enroute.

A number of FAA knowledge test questions ask you to determine the time of arrival at some specified point on a sectional chart after you've been given the times that previous points on the chart were crossed.

To answer these questions you need to accomplish the following:

  1. Using a plotter and the sectional chart, measure the distance you've already traveled, and
  2. Determine the distance you have left to go.
  3. Calculate your ground speed. Do this by dividing the distance you've travel by the amount of time it took to travel that distance.
  4. Apply your ground speed to your distance left to go to determine the time of arrival.

Ascent Quick Quiz
Ascent Quick Quiz - 11.5 Calculating Time Enroute
Question 1: (Refer to figure 21.) En route to First Flight Airport (area 5), your flight passes over Hampton Roads Airport (area 2) at 1456 and then over Chesapeake Municipal at 1501. At what time should your flight arrive at First Flight?
Answer

Question 2: (Refer to figure 22.) What is the estimated time en route from Mercer County Regional Airport (area 3) to Minot International (area 1)? The wind is from 330° at 25 knots and the true airspeed is 100 knots. Add 3-1/2 minutes for departure and climb-out.
Answer

Question 3: (Refer to figure 23.) Determine the estimated time en route for a flight from Priest River Airport (area 1) to Shoshone County Airport (area 3). The wind is from 030 at 12 knots and the true airspeed is 95 knots. Add 2 minutes for climb-out.
Answer

Question 4: (Refer to figure 23.) What is the estimated time en route from Sandpoint Airport (area 1) to St. Maries Airport (area 4)? The wind is from 215° at 25 knots, and the true airspeed is 125 knots.
Answer

Question 5: (Refer to figure 23.) What is the estimated time en route for a flight from St. Maries Airport (area 4) to Priest River Airport (area 1)? The wind is from 300° at 14 knots and the true airspeed is 90 knots. Add 3 minutes for climb-out.
Answer

Question 6: (Refer to figure 24.) While en route on Victor 185, a flight crosses the 248° radial of Allendale VOR at 0953 and then crosses the 216° radial of Allendale VOR at 1000. What is the estimated time of arrival at Savannah VORTAC?
Answer

Question 7: (Refer to figure 24.) What is the estimated time en route for a flight from Claxton-Evans County Airport (area 2) to Hampton Varnville Airport (area 1)? The wind is from 290° at 18 knots and the true airspeed is 85 knots. Add 2 minutes for climb-out.
Answer

Question 8: (Refer to figure 24.) What is the estimated time en route for a flight from Allendale County Airport (area 1) to Claxton-Evans County Airport (area 2)? The wind is from 100° at 18 knots and the true airspeed is 115 knots. Add 2 minutes for climb-out.
Answer

Question 9: (Refer to figure 26.) What is the estimated time en route for a flight from Denton Muni (area 1) to Addison (area 2)? The wind is from 200° at 20 knots, the true airspeed is 110 knots, and the magnetic variation is 7° east.
Answer

Question 10: (Refer to figure 26.) Estimate the time en route from Addison (area 2) to Redbird (area 3). The wind is from 300° at 15 knots, the true airspeed is 120 knots, and the magnetic variation is 7° east.
Answer


11.6 Time Zones

When flying across time zones, a pilot must account for the gain or loss in time that will occur. To correct for time zones, remember that there is a 1-hr. difference between each time zone in the United States.

  • Subtract 1 hr. for each time zone when traveling east to west.
  • Add 1 hr. for each time zone when traveling west to east.
    • Additionally, there may be daylight savings time (effective in the summer months) or standard time (effective in the winter months) to account for.

Zulu time, or Coordinated Universal Time, is the standard time zone used in aviation. The number of hours to adjust to or from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) are:

  • Add 4 hrs. to Eastern Daylight Savings Time (in the summer) and 5 hrs. to Eastern Standard Time (in the winter).
  • Add 5 hrs. to Central Daylight Savings Time (in the summer) and 6 hrs. to Central Standard Time (in the winter).
  • Add 6 hrs. to Mountain Daylight Savings Time (in the summer) and 7 hrs. to Mountain Standard Time (in the winter).
  • Add 7 hrs. to Pacific Daylight Savings Time (in the summer) and 8 hrs. to Pacific Standard Time (in the winter).
    • NOTE: There is always a larger time difference for standard than for daylight savings time.

For questions requiring the time of arrival at a destination airport, there are two ways of determining your time of arrival:

  • Method A:
  1. Add the hours enroute to the time of departure and determine the time of arrival based on the time zone of departure.
  2. Then adjust the time to the time zone requested, i.e., UTC or time zone of arrival.
  • Method B:
  1. Convert the departure time to UTC,
  2. add the time (hours and minutes) enroute,
  3. the convert to back to local time.

Ascent Quick Quiz
Ascent Quick Quiz - 11.6 Time Zones
Question 1: (Refer to figure 28.) An aircraft departs an airport in the eastern daylight time zone at 0945 EDT for a 2-hour flight to an airport located in the central daylight time zone. The landing should be at what coordinated universal time?
Answer

Question 2: (Refer to figure 28.) An aircraft departs an airport in the central standard time zone at 0930 CST for a 2-hour flight to an airport located in the mountain standard time zone. The landing should be at what time?
Answer

Question 3: (Refer to figure 28.) An aircraft departs an airport in the central standard time zone at 0845 CST for a 2-hour flight to an airport located in the mountain standard time zone. The landing should be at what coordinated universal time?
Answer

Question 4: (Refer to figure 28.) An aircraft departs an airport in the mountain standard time zone at 1615 MST for a 2-hour 15-minute flight to an airport located in the Pacific standard time zone. The estimated time of arrival at the destination airport should be
Answer

Question 5: (Refer to figure 28.) An aircraft departs an airport in the Pacific standard time zone at 1030 PST for a 4-hour flight to an airport located in the central standard time zone. The landing should be at what coordinated universal time?
Answer

Question 6: (Refer to figure 28.) An aircraft departs an airport in the mountain standard time zone at 1515 MST for a 2-hour 30-minute flight to an airport located in the Pacific standard time zone. What is the estimated time of arrival at the destination airport?
Answer


Lesson 11 - Flight Planning eFlash Cards

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