Monday, July 16, 2007

Dual Cross-Country Flight Number Two

(click to enlarge image above)

Well I didn't mention dual cross-country number ONE because it was fairly routine and smooth. My dead reckoning and wind correction angles were all pretty close. Cross country number TWO was a different story. I called 1-800-WX-BRIEF and got the winds aloft forecast, worked my flight computer wind corrections (aka E6-B calcs) and completed my navigation log. My flight was a three legged flight starting in Austin (KAUS) --> Brenham (11R) --> College Station (CLL) ---> back to Austin. Leg number 1 went fine. Leg number 2 was only 22 miles so it was hard to miss on that short hop. Departing College Station things weren't going as smoothly starting with my TOC (top of climb) calculations. I shrugged it off and continued on to my next waypoint.... I was about 2 miles NORTH of my intended checkpoint. No problem just hook a left travel south and get back on my calculated compass heading. Next check point...same thing...I was NORTH again. No problem....just hook a left and travel south to get back on course. It was clear that my compass heading was NOT correct for the winds forecast. Eventually I started receiving vectors from Austin approach and my compass heading was no longer a factor. Later after the flight I studied the problem carefully and learned that my E6-B flight computer can make a correction for wind error. Basically you input the leg distance and miles off course and the E6-B will give you a "compass tweak" angle to correct for incorrect winds aloft forecast. I worked through the problem on the ground. Oh time I'll be ready!
Coming up next will be a night time dual cross-country up to Temple, Texas. We have to watch out for the President because Temple is just inside the dreaded P-49 prohibited zone which expands to 30 nautical miles either side of the Bush ranch in Crawford. A quick check of the day's TFR's will let us know if we can make the flight or whether I have to wait for George to go back to Washington.


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