Navigation With Your Home Simulator

I have been publishing Youtube videos that show how to navigate using your map and compass. There is a lot that goes into navigation and a lot to know about the map and how to find your way.

When it comes down to the actual practice of navigation, the experience is king. The best way to learn is by going step by step through navigation scenarios. That’s why I do these videos on Youtube. I want to show people how to take a real-world sectional and navigate in the simulator. It is a great way to learn how to use the map and compass. It’s much less expensive than real flying too!

Check out my latest video navigating between some restricted areas:

VHF Omnidirectional Range

A VHF Omnidirectional Range is commonly called a VOR. In some ways, it is like a more-advanced NDB.

To understand what the VOR does take a look at the chart below. Notice the large blue VOR ring, indicating that there is a VOR station at the center. We will dig into what that all means to you as a pilot but first, take a look at the thin blue lines radiating out in several directions from the edge of the VOR ring. Continue reading “VHF Omnidirectional Range”

Class B Airspace

Class B airspace surrounds large, busy airports.

Its shape is generally an upside-down wedding cake but it can vary quite a bit. The main idea is that there are layers that get progressively wider and have a higher floor than inner layers.

For example, in St. Louis (pictured below) the inner ring extends from the surface up to 8000 feet MSL. Continue reading “Class B Airspace”

Class A Airspace

Class A is the simplest airspace to understand. There are no weather minimums to remember and there is no map to consult to locate class A airspace areas.

Class A airspace covers the continental United States and Alaska including the water out to 12 nautical miles from shore. The bottom of Class A airspace is at 18,000 feet MSL and the top is all the way up at flight level 600. Very few planes fly above FL600 (currently no airliners), so you can think of this as all of the high altitude airspace.

All aircraft in class A airspace must be operating under instrument flight rules. This is why there are no weather requirements. The communication requirements are equally easy to understand because before reaching 18,000 feet you will almost always already be operating under an instrument flight plan.

If you find yourself VFR below 18,000 feet in an aircraft equipped to reach class A airspace then you will need to call ATC and ask for an instrument clearance so you can begin operating under IFR before climbing.