Quantcast Chapter 7. Over-Water Navigation Stage (ONAV)


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Introduction. The basic principles of over-water navigation are the same for Navy, Marine Corps and
Coast Guard Maritime platforms. Several types of long-range navigation systems are in use today:
Inertial, Omega, Long Range Navigation (LORAN), Global Positioning System (GPS), Doppler and even
Celestial. Each type aircraft has at least one system; many have several for redundancy.
ONAV can be broken down into two basic regimes: Reposition/Transit and Tactical/On-station. Due to
the T-44A's lack of long-range over-water navigation capabilities, this syllabus will deal with the tactical
phase of flight. The purpose of the ONAV stage is to expose you to composite flight plans, on-station fuel
planning, low altitude surface surveillance, rigging, and ADIZ (Air Defense Identification System)
There are many reasons the maritime pilot needs to be proficient and feel comfortable flying at low
altitudes over water. Locating today's submarines demands precise sonobuoy placement. Magnetic
Anomaly Detector (MAD) tracking is another demanding low-level operation. Defensive/offensive mining
requires a great deal of finesse for accurate, consistent placement of weapons. With the ever-changing
world climate, the Maritime community is seeing a shift in emphasis towards surface surveillance/drug
interdiction. Low-level identification and photography of shipping requires precise aircraft placement and
airspeed control. For all maritime communities, SAR is a major part of their mission, including
visual/electronic search measures and dropping of survival equipment. These and other missions require all
maritime pilots to be skillful in low-level over-water operations.
There is a brief book in the duty office covering the specifics of routing, updated charts, and procedures.
The following text covers the general aspects of ONAV flying.
Preflight Planning. Careful preflight planning, as with all other phases of flight, is essential for a safe,
productive over-water mission. Take note of radar altimeter gripes and splits in the barometric altimeters.
There are several mission-specific differences in planning discussed in the following text.
Weather. Due to the obvious lack of weather reporting stations over water, Navy and Coast Guard
weather offices utilize extra products for forecasting needs. The majority of the over-water forecast is
developed from satellite imagery and computer generation from weather trends. Pilot reports and ship
reports can also be included in the package. Other items of importance include ditch headings, minimum
altimeter settings, and winds aloft at various flight levels. All weather forecasting aids can be found in the
HWD packet and ordered the night before from the local weather office.
Fuel Planning. With the possibility of no divert fields within close flying proximity to the on-station
area, careful fuel planning is a must. An accurate fuel log must be kept and updated frequently. Some
considerations are winds enroute, pressurization capabilities and single-engine range, along with other
possible malfunctions. While on-station, minimum fuel consumption is a priority. Expect fuel flow to
average near 500 lbs/hr while on-station. Consequently the aircraft is flown at loiter airspeed, or maximum
endurance. For the T-44, maximum endurance is 140 KIAS. For training, fly at 150 KIAS for familiarity, as
an airspeed buffer, and to simulate higher airspeeds used in your operational platform.
Composite Flight Plan. The flight plan (see Figure 7-1) will include a normal IFR airways transit
to a VFR CHange of Operational Procedure (CHOP) point. From the CHOP point, navigate VFR to the
on-station area utilizing radar advisories if desired. Upon completion of the on-station mission, proceed to
the ADIZ entry point to pick up the IFR clearance home. Some considerations for VFR route planning are
active Alert and Warning Areas, VFR transit corridors, Victor airways, and weather conditions. IFR route
planning should include the most expeditious route to and from the CHOP point to maximize the on-station
time. Listed below is a sample composite flight plan. Ensure the entry Pass To Air Defense RAdar
(PADRA) is in the remarks section to inform the GCI (Ground Controlled Intercept) controllers of your
intentions. When filing the flight plan, specifically request Base Ops to transmit your delay and PADRA

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