Newbie with question about getting "un-lost"

I am going to do some IFR training under the hood. My instructor said that after we are done, about (2hours), he will have me take the hood off and then “find” my way back to the airport.
I can use my Charts and instruments. (no GPS)
What is the best plan of approach to begin getting “un-lost”

I was always told to be able to recognize highways, rivers, landmarks on the ground once you know what direction you are heading. Worst case, I was taught that if I had an idea where I was and saw an airport, get a chart out and see if I can figure out which one it was.

Look for BIG lakes, BIG rivers, Power lines, BIG power plants. BIG roads like interstates.

Get familiar with NAV1 and your VOR. The FROM flag will tell you exactly where you are in relation to the VOR. If you have DME, then that will tell you how far you are from the VOR (easier)

Look on your NAV chart, after tuning the FROM radial, trace a line on that radial and look for the above landmarks to help locate yourself. Know where your airport is in relationship to the VOR.

My experiences are don’t use cell towers, water towers, small towns (they all look the same to me!). Use BIG landmarks that you can see for miles and miles and miles.

And most importantly, know where your airport resides in relation to the landmark. I.E. I am in MS, so if I use the MS river as a land mark, I need to know if my airport is east or west of the river. I also need to know if I am east of the river or west.

Ole Sol is a great helper in deciding what direction I am going! :smiley:

I was up once with some friends and we got a bit lost. We were flying “Near” the field…or so we thought keying up the mic. to try and hit the field lights. After a nervous few minutes we notice the lights going up and down off to bright…we were home. Good time!! Good luck let us know how it goes!!! Welcome to FA!

You have a private license and you need to know that?

Sounds to me Frank he is learning his 180 out of a cloud. 3 hours simulated required in basic VFR training.

Get low (50agl) and try and read the road signs. if you can’t read the road signs get lower OR look for a water tower, they usually have the name of the town painted on them…

Umm… I hope your working on your private & this “IFR” training is the required “IMC” (hood) time. In which case congrats and look for big landmarks and use a VOR or ADF if you know how to.

Put on your helmet before that… :smiley:

He did say IFR training.

He also did say about 2 hours… Dunno about you Frank, but IFR training in my neck of the woods is between 40 and 60 hours. He probably too new to know the difference between simulated IMC and IFR.

I second Allen on using VOR navigation for this task. If you lack knowledge/expereience in using it, HERE is a cool little Java based app to help learn/understand it.

:smiley: Triangulation, I third Allen. ! Used that on my first long cross country. I knew about where I was at, but the landmarks on the chart were very sparse, and I only had a big river and woods below.
I like to use this method as “checkpoints” on VFR flights now. I’ll find out what cross radial from another VOR they are under and allow my VOR to verify that is indeed where I am. Plus Southbend4312, the method provides good VOR radial tracking and intersection practice for if you decide to move into instrument training.

My instructor did the same thing to me when I was at about the 20 hour mark. Except he didn’t tell me about it ahead of time. After about 45 minutes of “turn left, turn right, climb, descend” etc. I had no clue where we were. He said take off the hood, you’re under the clouds and can’t climb, take me home. We were down in a valley with no roads. I did exactly what Allen said, got out the chart, tried a couple of different VOR’s, triangulated my position and flew down the valley to the highway turned right and went home. Didn’t even climb into the “clouds”.

John in Saudi

Use the “Triangulation Method” as mentioned by PFP217 if you do not have DME equipment installed. You can draw the “from line” from two different VORs. Theoretically, your position would be where the two lines intersect. Keep in mind that the plane is in constant motion as you’re “getting your bearings”, so the longer the process takes you, the farther away you will drift from the position.

A few helpful hints:
first, find two VORs you can receive a signal from and then write them down (identifier AND frequency). Don’t tune into one, get your bearing from it, and then spend a lot of time trying to find the second one you can tune to.
second, get your bearings FROM BOTH VORs and write them down. (What’s the question everyone asks you after they learn your name…? “Where Are You… FROM?”)
third, draw the two lines on your chart, and note approximately how long it takes you to accomplish this.
fourth, draw a line in the direction of your compass heading from the intersecting point - you will be somewhere along that line, however far your plane can have flown within the time lapsed since getting your two bearings.

I have one last suggestion which works in ANY situation…When in trouble or in doubt run in circles scream and shout :stuck_out_tongue: Could not resist…sorry more coffee coming up.

One thing I always taught was Climb, Confess, Comply.

If he allows you to, climb to a higher altitude where you can see further. In real life I would hope you would call ATC (121.5 works if you don’t know a freq. in your area). Then do what they say.

If he won’t let you do those things then triangulation is your best bet. Do you have a VOR an the field? If so dial in the frequency center the needle with a TO indication and than fly in that direction. Just remember that your number one job is FLY THE PLANE. Don’t get so caught up in charts, timing, frequencies, drawing lines that you end up in an unusual attitude or CFIT (Google it) or climbing into the clouds.

No matter how many ratings you get, or how big the plane is, or how many people are up front. Your #1 job is always - FLY THE PLANE

I think thats been replaced with the Direct To button on the GPS.

We had a local pilot get lost and declare an emergency in a G1000 Cessna 172. I’m still laughing…

Yes, GREAT reminder!

Of course, that instructor (or DE) will 7600 you :wink: in training but in the real world where radios very rarely fail, I personally would do the above.

I am a believer of using all tools in that toolkit. After all, why use a hand tool (VOR) when you have a power tool (ATC or guard).

It is SERIOUSLY disturbing that a student pilot is asking an internet forum, and not his/her flight instructor, how to do this! Don’t get me wrong, these forums are great, but if you’re to the point of doing hood work and your instructor hasn’t given you very specific information as to how to “find” yourself, you should find a new instructor.