‘A Navigator is Never Lost……..

…………..  he’s Just Temporarily Uncertain of the Aircrafts Position’. M.R.

My flying goal to date has been to get my pilots certificate with passenger, radio and navigation/cross country endorsements. The pilot certificate allows you to fly locally but to venture further afield you need to know how to navigate the skies. The navs course teaches you the practical skills and airmanship required for flying safely to distant locations.

In November our instructors ran a navigation ground school course over two brain straining nights. We covered basic meteorology  – a fascinating journey into highs and lows, cols, troughs and isobars which gave me a whole new appreciation for the Bureau of Meteorology site: www.bom.gov.au.

We learnt about clouds; fat bubbly clouds, flat fluffy clouds, huge towering clouds and the factors that create them. Then there was wind; up wind, down wind, swirly wind, land and sea breezes and turbulence.

Knowing the weather is crucial to a safe cross country flight so understanding the weather and learning how to decode the Area Forecasts is a must.

Decoding the forecasts really was a  brain teaser. Amazingly and to the credit of our teachers we can now (very slowly) decode a meteorological forecast that goes something like this:


Very cool!

The next step was learning to plan our flights using aviation maps, rotating plotter and the amazing E6B Flight computer. This  ”whiz wheel”  is a form of circular slide rule that will calculate the effects of wind on cruise speed, fuel  use and time needed for our trips. And that’s just scratching the surface of what this gadget can do!

Our brains have been truly fried trying to absorb all this new info but it was so good!! I can’t wait to put it into practise with my first proper cross country flight. I’ll have to do some more landing practise first though!

Happily, Greg and I both passed our navigation and meteorology exam – Yay!! Blue skies smilin’ at me, nothin’ but blue skies do I see ……




Victor 1

Our instructors at SCRFC recently organised a day of scenic  flights over Sydney Harbour from Wollongong on the ” Victor 1″ route.

Victor 1 is the coastal track from Sydney Heads to Cronulla beach flying under the international jets entering and departing Sydney Airport. You are flying over the ocean and at lower levels, so life jackets are essential.

It was a spectacular trip in a 4 seater Piper Cherokee – an older but very gracious bird in the sky and surprisingly comfortable (once you got in!) Thanks guys for organising such an amazing experience and thanks Alex, for being our captain on the day.