Tips for orientation when approaching a circuit?

  • baddles
  • Topic Author

baddles created the topic: Tips for orientation when approaching a circuit?

Hi everyone, I may be alone in this, but after getting my PPL and 120+ hours, I am still occasionally getting disoriented while approaching an aerodrome, so that I (almost) enter the wrong circuit or turn the wrong way.

Does anyone have tips/ crutches for avoiding this?
Is it discussed in any of the Human Factors material?

Here are a couple of tips so far, gleaned from flight instructors and fellow students:
  1. If your Direction Indicator has a heading bug, set it to the intended runway heading. (Easy to see; helps orientation relative to runway).
  2. If you made a mud map, rotate it to align with the Direction Indicator (during the approach brief).
  3. Rather than trying to visualise the entire circuit at once, think of it like a Forced Landing; first identify the landing threshold (runway numbers) then work backwards to base leg and downwind.
  4. In a left circuit, all turns will be to the left, and the airfield will be to your left at all times (except on final), the landing threshold will be to your left (eg for midfield crosswind entry).
  5. Put your hand next to the Direction Indicator with the index finger aligned with the intended runway heading. Now lift up the hand to the windscreen without rotating it. The index finger is pointing along the runway in the direction for landing. The base leg is represented by your extended thumb, - provided for a left/right circuit you use the left/right hand, palm facing towards you.
  6. When overflying to determine the wind direction, remember to fly towards the wide end of the windsock. Identify this direction with finger, and move the finger back to the DI to determine the wind direction.

Any other practical tips would be much appreciated.

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