Monday, September 27, 2010

Nitpicking for Success

The day before the flight test, I call to find out what route I must plan, the examiner's weight, form and amount of payment for the examiner, and similar details

The route is Abbotsford to Victoria to Abbotsford, as the flight instructor expected it would be. I fill out the flight plan form and as much as I can of the nav log as I can in advance. I wish I'd brought a copy of my own company OFP sheet instead of having to use the school's unfamiliar nav log. It has some irritating little inconsistencies in it that make it difficult to complete with logical consistency. For example, the nav log has a column for "fuel" and there for each leg of the flight I enter the expected fuel consumption, in gallons. There's nothing wrong with that in itself, but over in the Fuel Analysis box, a different section of the form, I'm asked for "climb" and "flight" fuel separately. Does that mean I should have divided each box in the nav log to show climb fuel as a separate amount? Should the nav log have started at the first enroute nav aid after the initial climb? Or should I have filled out the nav log as though no climbing was required and then added the climb fuel separately in the Fuel Analysis box? I choose to put the actual expected burn in the nav log and then just approximate how much of that was climb and cruise to separate the numbers in Fuel Analysis. The fuel analysis also asks for Taxi/Runup fuel, Reserve fuel. Under those is a box for Total Req'd. You just add Taxi/Runup, Climb, Flight and Reserve to get that. Underneath Total Req'd is a box for Additional fuel on board, and underneath all that is a box labelled T/O Fuel. This implies that you add Additional to Total Req'd to get Take-Off, but that's wrong, because Total Req'd includes Taxi/Runup, which is burned before take-off. You have to add Climb, Flight, Reserve and Additional. or add Additional to Req'd and then subtract Taxi/Run up. Then you can multiply the take-off fuel by six pounds per gallon and complete the weight and balance portion, which then allows you to calculate the take-off and landing distances and other performance numbers. Geez, it's a lot more work when you don't use block fuel. And the numbers are so small, given that it's in gallons not pounds, and it's a little training airplane. I don't use fractional gallons, just round everything up to the nearest full gallon.

I have all my charts and checklists in order, and am ready to go for tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Good luck for the test.
Bill from Tassie

Intellitech I.T. Solutions Limited said...

Good luck ... and always remember, Aviate, Navigate and then Communicate and you'll be fine.

Faiz Nazerali, CFI - London, UK

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Unknown said...

Sounds like the form was designed by a desk-jockey , It's quite obvious that you had more hassle with the inconsistencies,ambiguities and lack of logical layout,than the actual planning.......but the jobsworth will be satisfied that you navigated the box-ticking exercise!

~50 years ago, School taught that all exam-papers had tobe read-through BEFORE answering any questions.... the final line on one paper stated " Do NOT answer ANY questions on this sheet, answer Yes if you have read it and go to sheet 2. " .......Yep, a trick that caught a lot of kids out!

You're a professional, you passed!

jump154 said...

I'm glad i'm not the only one who gets confused by Nav Logs - I thought it was me, only being at 100 hours or so right now...I've not found one that I like all of yet, and yes the fuel usually confuses things. My school's one has some inconsistency in the main log that always makes me write the wrong totals - or not use all the boxes. There is also 1 sheet that always ends up upside down on your kneeboard. Foudn a pretty good one on the web, but that speaks American and has some pretty dark boxes that pencil won't write over.
One day i'll find the perfect one (or do my own, which many other poeple seem to have done)