Sunday, 25 September 2016

Precision Navigation Event

The Precision Navigation Event is the first of the two events that go to determine who wins the 2016 P.F.E. - this exercise carries 75% of the total marks and so a good score here is needed to win!

This year's course is approximately 65 nm and with the to/from distances between Eastern and the Start/End points, you'll need a minimum "still-air" range of 70 nm.

You will be given a time-slot for take-off, please start your engines in plenty of time to make this slot!

This year we've changed the navigation exercise slightly ........ At the end of each leg flown there are two points.  The first is the GRID POINT ("GP") which is found by GPS, the second is the TURNING POINT ("TP") which is found visually from a photograph.  

You will be given the Lat/Long for each GP.  When you arrive at each GP you will need to find the TP by looking for the feature on the ground that corresponds with your photograph.

You will be given a photograph of each TP ground-feature, which will be located exactly 1 nautical mile from the GP, somewhere in your field of view between 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock.

You will score points for time accuracy and geographical accuracy as you fly over each TP (not the GP).

In the example below, you will fly from TP2 to GP3.  When you reach GP3 you will search and see TP3 at a distance of 1 nm, ahead and slightly to the left (but other TPs could be anywhere on the dotted "10-to-2" line).  You will then turn a little to port and fly over the feature TP3, then turn about 95 degrees to starboard, aiming for GP4.  As you fly overhead TP3 you will stop/start your stopwatch and score your points.

The start and end TPs will simply be Lat/Long's, without any GPs.

You will be given the exact distances in nautical miles between each TP - you need this information to calculate your time for each leg, in order to stick to your nominated groundspeed.

At the briefing you will therefore be given the following information:
i)    The Lat/Longs of all the GPs.
ii)   Two photographs of each TP - one from 1 nm away and the other as a plan-view to show precisely where to make your turn.
iii)  The distances in nm's between each TP.

We've made these changes because the PFE was becoming more a GPS flying event; pilots with the best large scale moving map GPS units were advantaged. So now we're back to looking outside the aircraft, with map (well, photo actually) in hand!

Rules for the Navigation Event

1.  The lighter aircraft (Trikes, Gyros, Quiksilvers and similar) will be offered the option of being Early Launchers in order to avoid winds/turbulence.

2.  For fuel planning purposes, the course will not exceed 70 nm, including the transit to/from the start/end gates.

3.  This year's course will consist of 9 TPs, a "start" gate and an "end" gate. 

4.  The GP Lat/Longs will be published on this BLOG at 11.00 hrs (UTP) on Friday 25th November.  These co-ordinates, together with aerial photographs of the TPs and, the distances between TPs, will also be handed out at the flight briefing on 26th November.

5.  Teams will depart Eastern in order of fastest aircraft first, slowest last.  A time-separation will be scheduled between each aircraft in order to avoid "bunching" during the navigation course.

This must be avoided

6.  No aircraft may "search" for a WP - any evidence of "searching" will result in disqualification. ("Searching" includes backtracking or any heading adjustment of 90 degrees or more before a WP.)

7.  Each aircraft will be required to carry a GPS Data-Logger that records position information on a second-by-second basis.  This will be given to you by a marshal prior to take-off and will be collected after landing.

8.  When completing your entry forms, you will required to nominate a ground speed - this is the speed at which you should aim to fly for the duration of the navigation course. (Hint - pick a ground speed that is roughly half-way between your clean stall speed and your maximum cruise speed.)

9. Scoring - All teams will begin this event with a credit-balance of 300 points.  Points will then be deducted for early/late arrivals at each TP, accuracy overhead each TP in terms of horizontal distance from the TP.

10. Scoring - Each leg (between two consecutive TPs) will be scored individually.  Therefore do not try to make up times on consecutive legs - for example: if you find yourselves 10 secs early when overhead TP2, do not aim to be overhead TP3 10 secs late.

11. Scoring - Time: to be decided.  Horizontal distance: to be decided.  The judges will take your time data at the closest horizontal point you pass each TP.

12.  Scoring - No team will score more than X (to be decided) penalty points on any leg.

13.  All aircraft will fly the course on the same QNH - this will be given at the briefing and will be the regional QNH at the time of the first aircraft's launch.  If the QNH changes, we will notify all aircraft before departure or, in the air at the time.

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