CAT-1/CAT-2: Airport Error/Utility of Flight Simulation

Questions and comments about the PE Pilot Training Program

Re: CAT-1/CAT-2: ForeFlight Airport Error

Postby redge » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:03 pm

RogerW wrote:Too much reliance is put on technology, especially a GPS. You do realize that at any time the US military can mess with the accuracy of the satellites and your GPS would become an expensive paperweight.


Hi Roger,

I come at this as an open ocean and coastal sailor. For many years after GPS became available for civilian use, older members of the sailing community, for the reason that you state along with the more generic “what happens if all the satellites go down”, argued that one still needed to know how to use a sextant. I don’t think that anyone has taken that argument seriously for 20 years. Nor, in the marine world, does anyone seriously argue for the return of radio beacon navigation (LORAN-C), which was closed down years ago.

If you’re going to go to bat for this stuff, you might as well argue that pilots should own an aviator sextant and learn celestial navigation. At least celestial navigation is interesting, and indeed educational, which is more than I can say for VORs/DMEs.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the U.S. armed forces announce potential interference with GPS in advance of exercises.

To me, it is just bizarre that most of the YouTube videos on the CAT-1 and CAT-2 exercises ignore GPS and treat radio navigation as the natural adjunct to pilotage. Radio navigation for aviation is headed for the same fate as marine radio navigation - the dustbin.

P.S. I happen to own, and occasionally use, a marine sextant. I enjoy it, but mostly it’s a great reminder of why GPS is light years better.
Last edited by redge on Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CAT-1/CAT-2: Airport Error/Utility of Flight Simulation

Postby zerofay32 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:31 pm

LORAN is a poor example for this argument as it was never fully adopted before promptly becoming obsolete when the military released the GPS signal.

Basic navigation skills (Pilotage and Radio navigation) are skills that all pilots should keep up on. While the VOR network is being thinned out in the next decade, the stations that remain will have their service volumes increased to allow similar coverage above 5000'AGL.


GPS navigation is easy, and therefore, boring. I use PE to keep skills that I don't use on a daily basis fresh for the cases when I need them on an actual flight. That means flying a lot of Slant/A (and occasional /U).


Worshiping solely at the alter of GPS is a reckless attitude at best IMHO.
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Re: CAT-1/CAT-2: ForeFlight Airport Error

Postby RogerW » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:44 pm

redge wrote:P.S. I happen to own, and occasionally use, a marine sextant. I enjoy it, but mostly it’s a great reminder of why GPS is light years better.


:lol:

I suppose if I looked in my box of college crap I could probably find my slide rule, but prefer using my fingers and toes! Just kidding, I actually own a pretty beefy calculator from my engineering days.

But in the virtual air, I use my AP and little as possible. Love the nostalgia of hand flying. Autopilot is for bathroom breaks :lol: although it is handy during instrument flying with VORs. What can I say, I'm old school and will soon also be tossed in the dustbin! The GPS, I often have a flight plan in it but pretend like there is no NAV/GPS button to switch the needle over.
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Re: CAT-1/CAT-2: Airport Error/Utility of Flight Simulation

Postby redge » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:58 pm

zerofay32 wrote:LORAN is a poor example for this argument as it was never fully adopted before promptly becoming obsolete when the military released the GPS signal.

Basic navigation skills (Pilotage and Radio navigation) are skills that all pilots should keep up on. While the VOR network is being thinned out in the next decade, the stations that remain will have their service volumes increased to allow similar coverage above 5000'AGL.


GPS navigation is easy, and therefore, boring. I use PE to keep skills that I don't use on a daily basis fresh for the cases when I need them on an actual flight. That means flying a lot of Slant/A (and occasional /U).


Worshiping solely at the alter of GPS is a reckless attitude at best IMHO.


Hi zerofay32,

Marine radio navigation did not start with LORAN. To take an important player, it was preceded by Decca, which existed for decades. For good reason, both are now closed down.

Pilotage is a basic navigation skill in that it is based on innate human abilities. Dead reckoning comes close. Celestial navigation, radio navigation and GPS navigation are certainly not basic. They all require complex technology.* The main difference between them, from the perspective of the user, is that GPS is much easier and faster. As between the other two, celestial navigation is mentally demanding, interesting and educational. Radio navigation is none of those things, while being much less efficient than GPS.

In the real world, in a general aviation aeroplane on a VFR flight, I would much rather focus on pilotage, with GPS in aid, than mess around/divert focus with celestial or radio navigation.

Your comment about “worshipping solely at the alter of GPS” would appear to have nothing to do with anything said in this discussion.

* If you question whether the sextant is complex technology, check out Dava Sobel's book "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time".
Last edited by redge on Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:27 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Re: CAT-1/CAT-2: ForeFlight Airport Error

Postby redge » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:43 pm

RogerW wrote:I suppose if I looked in my box of college crap I could probably find my slide rule...


A rather good analogy for radio navigation in aviation :)

We got rid of it in the marine world years ago. Aviation is a bit slow to catch up, but it’s getting there.
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Re: CAT-1/CAT-2: Airport Error/Utility of Flight Simulation

Postby redge » Sat Jan 05, 2019 11:20 pm

Thanks RogerW and zerofay32 for your comments.

Further to the basic question raised my earlier post (#9), this has been a very helpful discussion in deciding how I want to use a flight simulator.

Cheers
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Re: CAT-1/CAT-2: Airport Error/Utility of Flight Simulation

Postby Keith Smith » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:13 am

Would I use GPS on that flight in the real world? Probably.

However, I use the sim as an opportunity to practice certain skills which would otherwise atrophy over time, such as pilotage and dead reckoning.

Of course you can fly the route using GPS, that's obvious. In putting together the videos, though, I had an opportunity to demonstrate other techniques which are typically ignored by sim enthusiasts, and in many cases, student pilots, too. VORs are not going away completely...there will still be a basic network that remains for the foreseeable future. Therefore, I still argue that pilots should be reminded of how to use them. Do you they need a reminder that you can punch a route into the GPS? No.

Incidentally, I have used pilotage (backed up with dead reckoning) many times in the real world using lakes, rivers, topography and especially roads. It absolutely does work in many situations. The sim has absolutely helped me maintain those skills and practice the art of translating what's on a chart to what I should be seeing out of the window.
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Re: CAT-1/CAT-2: Airport Error/Utility of Flight Simulation

Postby redge » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:36 pm

Keith Smith wrote:I have used pilotage (backed up with dead reckoning) many times in the real world using lakes, rivers, topography and especially roads. It absolutely does work in many situations.


As someone who is interested only in general aviation, pilotage is my preferred method of navigation. I believe that it promotes situational awareness. GPS comes second. As should be clear by now, I see radio navigation mostly as an unnecessary distraction :)

The biggest obstacle to pilotage is the VFR aeronautical charts themselves. They were designed for an era when all information of interest had to be contained on a single layer. As a result, the data is so dense that it undermines the charts’ utility. My local VFR chart, especially in the New York City and surrounding area, looks like a five year old was let loose with too many crayons.

One of the benefits of Foreflight and similar applications is that current technology makes it possible to create map layers, which means that data can be unpacked. Foreflight’s discrete layers showing roads and showing aerial views are invaluable. I would like to see the VFR charts themselves unpacked into layers. I suspect that this has been seriously considered, and I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t eventually happen. If the idea is on a back burner, it’s probably due to the absence of an answer to the question “Who is going to pay for it?”

I’ll bet that Google knows exactly how to reinvent VFR charts.
Last edited by redge on Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:55 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: CAT-1/CAT-2: Airport Error/Utility of Flight Simulation

Postby RogerW » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:41 pm

Yes VFR charts are packed! If you use the PE map the road map is pretty useful for simming. The 'MAP' mode shows a great deal of roads. It's Google's map so it's accurate. Plus it tracks your plane if you like. The map also has a topographical layer that's handy.
Roger W.
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Re: CAT-1/CAT-2: Airport Error/Utility of Flight Simulation

Postby redge » Mon Jan 07, 2019 2:02 pm

Hi Roger,

I am focused on ForeFlight desktop and mobile. It has a significant learning curve and I need to become very proficient at using it. Consequently, I don’t use other apps, such as X-Plane, when their functionality overlaps with ForeFlight. I can’t take X-Plane into a DA-20 with me :)

The only other maps that I’m using, and then only for flight planning purposes, are Google Earth and occasionally U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps. The latter are very useful for unusual terrain situations such as in the CAT-1 and CAT-2 exercises. Similarly, I expect to do some flights across Long Island Sound, and I’ll consult the relevant marine charts when planning those flights. Marine charts are really good for identifying prominent coastal landmarks and the location of harbours, marinas, navigation buoys, etc.
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