Flying the Route
Operational Navigation Flight Training Instruction
As airspeed increases, you have less time to interpret, analyze and locate landmarks, intermediate
checkpoints and checkpoints.
Early or late in the day, consider the effect of shadows on checkpoints. A long shadow may make an
object more visible, or it may hide another, leading to dangerous situations when flying in mountainous
terrain. Shadows in northern latitudes will cause snow to remain in some places much longer than in
others; the presence of a large patch of white can make a landmark much easier to see due to the con-
trast while also making it harder to identify because of glare.
Finally, consider vegetation and terrain. Which way does the ground slope? Is it higher than your land-
mark? Might a ground slope lead you to your landmark? From any knowledge of the country you have,
what effect will vegetation have on your checkpoints? It will have less effect around El Centro California--
there is little vegetation. Mississippi, on the other hand, is full of tall trees, and it may be difficult to pick
out a fire watch tower. Consider the season. The difference between winter and summer at northern
locations can be dramatic. If the predominant vegetation is evergreen trees, there will be little seasonal
difference, as is the case with the ocotillo cactus in southern California and the live oak trees of south
Texas. But grass turns brown and disappears in some places, and leaves fall off trees, changing the
overall appearance of the surface. Imagination again--what will it look like?
Mentally flying the route almost to memorization will significantly reduce the workload of visual navigation.
You must spend time flying the route while studying the chart. The more study, the smoother the flight will
1. Two minutes prior to the turn point, the following call shall be made to the instructor: "Two minutes
prior to Point (turn point), a (description of the point), at time (time). Outbound course will be a
(left/right) turn to (heading). Minimum fuel required is (MFR)."
"Two minutes prior to Point Charlie, a railroad bridge, at 15+30. Outbound course will
be a right turn to 163. Minimum fuel required is 1.7."
2. Wings level out of the turn the following call shall be made to the instructor: "Marked on top of point
(turn point) at (actual time). We're (slow/on time/fast). Fuel remaining is (fuel remaining)."
"Marked on top of Point Charlie at 15+42. We're 12 seconds slow. Fuel remaining is