Flight Training - July 2012 - 43

CHECKRIDE

By Bob Schmelzer

FLY…THE RIGHT WAY

DIVERSION PROCEDURES

ny time a pilot starts out on a cross-country flight, there is a chance that the flight cannot be completed as planned, necessitating a diversion to an alternate airport. While diversions are fairly rare in real-life operations, demonstrating your diversion procedures is a requirement for the private pilot practical test.
At some point during the cross-country portion of the flight, your designated pilot examiner (DPE) will simulate a problem, known as a “trigger,” to initiate the diversion process. Your DPE will be evaluating how safely and effectively you get the aircraft to your alternate airport, as well as how and why you chose a particular alternate. Sound judgment and decision-making skills are essential. Choosing and planning a specific diversion airport prior to your checkride could be a bad idea, because sometimes the scenario that triggers the diversion decision may not fit that initial strategy. For example, being aware that the airport located 50 miles off your left wing along your planned route would make a great potential alternate airport demonstrates excellent situational awareness. However, the trigger option used by your DPE might make that airport a less desirable or unsafe choice. What if your examiner announces an imminent engine failure scenario? That more distant alternate might not be your wisest option. Sound decision-making skills will allow you to fully evaluate the situation and select the best option. Choosing your safest, most appropriate alternate, the next step presents a common stumbling block for many applicants: using pilotage and dead reckoning navigation skills: determining the correct heading to the selected airport, and then flying it. Problems can arise when the approximate desired course to the alternate airport cannot be determined. To simplify this task, mark your present position on the chart as accurately as possible, which should be quick and easy. From that known position, either mentally or physically draw a line to your new destination airport. Now, visualizing a compass rose on your mark, make a simple (but accurate within 10 degrees) estimation of your new course and note the approximate distance to your alternate. If it’s a windy day, don’t forget to make an appropriate correction for the crosswind when determining your new diversion heading. Consistently accomplishing these basic steps does take a bit of practice, but they

A

» PRACTICAL TEST STANDARDS
TASK: Diversion OBJECTIVE: To determine that the applicant: 1. exhibits knowledge of the elements related to diversion. 2. selects an appropriate alternate airport and route. 3. makes an accurate estimate of heading, groundspeed, arrival time, and fuel consumption to the alternate airport. 4. maintains the appropriate altitude, plus or minus 200 feet and heading, plus or minus 15 degrees.

are essential to initiating the diversion process successfully. Now that you have determined your new on-course heading—fly that heading! All too often, an applicant will announce an accurately derived heading but then delay the turn to it—or worse, fly something completely different. My number-one rule of navigation: To go the right way, you must fly the right heading. Once you are established on your new en route heading, immediately begin confirming that you are actually proceeding along that desired course by observing prominent visible landmarks that coincide with what the chart depicts. If, for example, that large lake you see on your right side does not match what the chart shows, reevaluate your present position, or even revert to “lost procedures” if necessary. Finally, when time permits, an estimate of your groundspeed will facilitate a quick determination of the fuel needed to reach your alternate as well as an estimated time of arrival. Your examiner may even ask you to provide this information as specified in the practical test standards. But throughout this mental and physical exercise, do not become so distracted that you lose sight of the big picture: maintaining control of your altitude, airspeed, and heading; and above all, looking for other aircraft and obstacles in your flight path. In comparing checkride statistics, distractions and workload management can make the diversion procedure one of the tougher checkride tasks. However, with proper training and plenty of good practice, the various tasks and distractions related to diversion procedures can be managed safely and efficiently. In the end, that is what the DPE will look for on your checkride day.
Bob Schmelzer is a Chicago-area designated pilot examiner, a United Airlines captain, and Boeing 777 line check airman. He has been an active flight instructor since 1972.

JULY 2012 FLIGHT TRAINING

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Flight Training - July 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - July 2012

Flight Training - July 2012
President’s Perspective
Right Seat
Letters
Best of Both Worlds
How It Works
Knowledge Test News
After the Checkride
News
Since You Asked
News
Final Exam
Products
ASI News
AOPA Action
Flying Carpet
ENJOY THE VIEW
V IS FOR VELOCITY
TECHNIQUE
Weather
Checkride
Flight Lesson
Year One
Career Advisor
Tech Talk
Is Flying Hard?
Delaying Solo
Are You Positive?
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - July 2012 - Flight Training - July 2012
Flight Training - July 2012 - Cover2
Flight Training - July 2012 - 1
Flight Training - July 2012 - 2
Flight Training - July 2012 - 3
Flight Training - July 2012 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - July 2012 - 5
Flight Training - July 2012 - Right Seat
Flight Training - July 2012 - Letters
Flight Training - July 2012 - 8
Flight Training - July 2012 - 9
Flight Training - July 2012 - Best of Both Worlds
Flight Training - July 2012 - 11
Flight Training - July 2012 - How It Works
Flight Training - July 2012 - Knowledge Test News
Flight Training - July 2012 - After the Checkride
Flight Training - July 2012 - News
Flight Training - July 2012 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - July 2012 - 17
Flight Training - July 2012 - News
Flight Training - July 2012 - 19
Flight Training - July 2012 - Final Exam
Flight Training - July 2012 - Products
Flight Training - July 2012 - ASI News
Flight Training - July 2012 - AOPA Action
Flight Training - July 2012 - 24
Flight Training - July 2012 - 25
Flight Training - July 2012 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - July 2012 - 27
Flight Training - July 2012 - ENJOY THE VIEW
Flight Training - July 2012 - 29
Flight Training - July 2012 - 30
Flight Training - July 2012 - 31
Flight Training - July 2012 - 32
Flight Training - July 2012 - 33
Flight Training - July 2012 - V IS FOR VELOCITY
Flight Training - July 2012 - 35
Flight Training - July 2012 - 36
Flight Training - July 2012 - 37
Flight Training - July 2012 - TECHNIQUE
Flight Training - July 2012 - 39
Flight Training - July 2012 - Weather
Flight Training - July 2012 - 41
Flight Training - July 2012 - 42
Flight Training - July 2012 - Checkride
Flight Training - July 2012 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - July 2012 - Year One
Flight Training - July 2012 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - July 2012 - 47
Flight Training - July 2012 - Tech Talk
Flight Training - July 2012 - Is Flying Hard?
Flight Training - July 2012 - Delaying Solo
Flight Training - July 2012 - Are You Positive?
Flight Training - July 2012 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - July 2012 - 53
Flight Training - July 2012 - 54
Flight Training - July 2012 - 55
Flight Training - July 2012 - Debrief
Flight Training - July 2012 - Cover3
Flight Training - July 2012 - Cover4
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