Flight Planning. Old school better for me?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by labbadabba, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    This is a bit of a riff on the paper maps vs. iPads but now with flight planning.

    Lately when flight planning, I'll find a route on SkyVector, do some weather planning, head over to FltPlan.com and put in a flight plan.

    I get suggested altitudes, common routing, W/X en route, winds aloft and nice tidy NavLog. GREAT!!!

    One thing I do notice however. In my student days, I would do the navlog by hand. Every distance and time would be calculated and every waypoint/navaid fully scrutinized. Every number and letter I scratched onto my navlog was then etched somewhere in my memory and my awareness seemed to be better when en route.

    I'll admit, modern flight planning tools have probably made me lazy and thus I'm a pilot who is not as prepared as I could be.

    So how do I get the best of both worlds? How do I get the optimized and time-saving flight plan while also being so familiar with every nook and cranny of the flight plan without writing out a whole navlog by hand?

    Anyone else feel this way?
     
  2. Vance Breese

    Vance Breese Line Up and Wait

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    Flight planning is aviation foreplay for me.

    It is much expensive than flying and nearly as fun.

    It makes the flight much more enjoyable if I feel prepared.

    I have typically flown the route at least three times during planning.

    I get a little lazy on repeat flights and don’t have as much fun.

    If I let a computer spit out the numbers I check them carefully so that I am prepared when things don't go as planned.
     
  3. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Much like instrument proficiency, you have to practice it once in a while, but not necessarily on every flight.

    You get a lot more anal about the numbers when you're required to have 1 hour reserve at landing and you need to fly around for three hours in the mountains with a heavy load. You discover rather quickly that not all the EFBs or websites do all that well.
     
  4. Justin M

    Justin M Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I like a similar technique: plan using an electronic tool (I like skyvector), but then enter the data into a flight planning document like the old Kings flight planning worksheets and print that for my knee board. This way I am scrutinizing every way point, vor, radio frequency, distance, timing and fuel usage. In the notes section, I put anything special, like things to look for while looking at the sectional and out the window.
     
  5. avongil

    avongil Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm having the same dilemma! How am I supposed to do pilotage if I don't plan old school? I have a system now. Google Earth with VFR maps overlayed. Its super cool... Then I click the points on sky vector and make a flight plan with those point I selected visualy. Google earth helps me pick out distinct land marks. When I planned my first x country, i didn't find any check points!

    Check it out:
    http://www.wikihow.com/Overlay-Sectional-Aeronautical-Charts-in-Google-Earth
     
  6. Rykymus

    Rykymus Line Up and Wait

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    You can do "old school" flight planning using FF. I use it as a digital chart, then fill out a paper log. There's nothing wrong with measuring the distances using FF's measuring tool, and you can use a digital E6B. (Heck, I tossed the whiz wheel in the closet after my PPL.) You can still do the pilotage bit using FF's navlog, just without entering anything actual times and such with a pencil. "Old School" doesn't have to be on paper.

    If a flight I'm making is even remotely complicated, I'll plan it and compare against FF as an educational tool to identify when I should not completely trust FF. (I've found a few discrepancies, like others.) But for more routine stuff, or flights that I make fairly regularly, FF is just fine.

    I do however, still pull out my paper chart once or twice a year, and actually navigate with it, just for a change of pace. With 3 i-devices, plugs and backup batteries, and rather conservative minimums, I'm pretty sure I'm never going to need to do it "old school" in a pinch. But if I had to, I could. I just don't want to. Same thing as the GPS and the moving map. I can navigate just fine without it, but choose not to, because I like the increased SA it brings. One can use all the fancy tools and not become a weak pilot. It's all in how you go about it. I rarely fly into airports with less than 4,000ft runways, but I still practice short field ops every couple months, just in case.
     
  7. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    I do it old school. I do all my measurements and calculations, then write it all out on paper.
    Then I check the results against Skyvector.
    Then I do it all on Avare (Simulation mode).
    Then I do the paper map with lines, circles and arrows. No color glossies.

    One of the great things about technology, is that you can print out a route map and mark that, for free, instead of scribbling all over your paid for map.
     
  8. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    One step you miss doing electronic flight planning is check points that are not recognized in the data bases. Add check points by lon/lat.
     
  9. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    But are there paragraphs on the back explaining each one to be used as evidence against us?
     
  10. coloradobluesky

    coloradobluesky En-Route Gone West

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    Plan it however you want. But check for TFR's. Those weren't a problem "old school". They are now.
     
  11. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Thank you for getting that.
    Sometimes I allude to things and all it does is brand me as OLD.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2017