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Thread: Newbie question: when do you make the turn??

  1. #1

    Default Newbie question: when do you make the turn??

    I'm new to flying.

    Say I'm doing a left pattern.

    I just finished my downwind leg after I saw that the runway that was parallel to me was at 45 degrees on my left back side.

    And am now on the base leg I'm about to make a left turn for final approach. I'm at a 1000 ft. altitude and speeding along at 70 kias on my Cessna 172. My flaps are at 10 degrees. I want to make a left turn. At what point in time should I turn if I want to make a 30 degree turn??

    Should I turn when I see the runaway at my left at my 11 o'clock, 10 o'clock or at 9 o'clock position?

    The first few times I tried turning left I ended up turning too late or too early and I ended up overshooting or falling short of the runaway at final approach.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    It takes practice to decide that on a consistent basis. There's no hard and fast rule, since it depends on winds, your rate of turn, etc. Basically, just practice a left turn to line up with something over and over (in that landing configuration) until you've learned to judge it. Keep in mind that a slight overshoot or undershoot is no big deal, since it's easy to correct and get back on the line. Then you'll want to do the same thing to the right for those times when you're doing a right hand traffic pattern.

    One hint, though: when the runway ahead of you seems to be pointing straight up at the top of the screen, not "leaning" slightly left or right, then you are properly aligned with the runway. And do your corrections gently -- being in a hurry leads to getting behind the airplane. "The hurrieder I go, the behinder I gets."

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by lnuss View Post

    ...One hint, though: when the runway ahead of you seems to be pointing straight up at the top of the screen, not "leaning" slightly left or right, then you are properly aligned with the runway...
    I read the sentence above several times but I don't get it. Do you mind rephrasing or better yet posting a picture? Thanks.

  4. #4

    Default

    I use the same local ('Home Airport') airport everyday. I am sure real pilots that use the same airport everyday use landmarks to execute their pattern. I am sure there is nothing wrong with that - it's a 'tool'. Unless they move the landmark of course (ha).

    In the sim you can open a window (press '[' : leftt bracket) and then right click on window and choose 'Outside/Top Down' view. You can re-size and re-position on top right corner then zoom in/out until you can see the airport runways. Click on screen to shift focus back to sim so your keys work on that and not the window. In 1/4 mi visibility the top down view 'cuts' thru the fog so you can see the airport as if it was clear weather! Neat, eh? It's an aid until you get proficient at doing the pattern and/or use AP and ILS to 'find' your runway. Cheers.
    Chuck B
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  5. Default

    Hi nrios,

    Familiarisation is the key, both with aircraft and airport/field pattern entry procedures.

    It depends on the Aircraft type, rate of turn from Base to final, Max bank angle (30deg), airport Standard landing pattern, or (Nonstandard Pattern) wether you are overbanked in the turn and slipping or dropping fast. Your aircraft should be established at required height and speed per Airport pattern with flaps set appropriately.
    Spot your landing ( touch down point ) looking out the side window, mid way between wingtip and base of wing strut For Overwing aircraft.
    For practicing the pattern I like the Cessna 152 or 172 very forgiving when I make a mistake, I also use a view cycle that many Simmers don't use, it allows the Runway threshold to rotate around the VC pilot position, always rotating the viewpoint as runway alignment is achieved ( nice effect when in the pattern).
    Usually about 45deg behind and below you should be about 1/2 mile from threshold, it is time to begin your Turn from Base to Final.
    When viewed out the Left rear window for Left pattern or Right rear window from Right pattern. Aircraft position should be about 1/2 mile adjacent runway centreline the aircraft rate of turn will dictate this, military Jets can overbank for tighter turns and RW threshold/centreline alignment.
    Or for more relaxed pattern (non Standard) you could increase the Downwind to Base distance to a long Downwind (3miles) then begin your Base turn and stabilise for final ( don't worry if it turns into a sloppy turn (J-Turn), as you practice the landing pattern procedure in a familiar aircraft over and over you will have it down to a fine art.

    Here are a couple of links that may help, there are others but here are 2 to get you started:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airfield_traffic_pattern

    https://aviation.stackexchange.com/q...runway-for-the


    You could also Bing or Google search "Pattern Landing" for a few diagrams (images) explaining Pattern procedures. Altitude Distance and Aircraft Configuration.

    Youtube has some videos:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGVkcq_Z3i4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_Bbs4K7L5U
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d06ZehDNdM8

  6. #6
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    If you think of the runway sight picture ahead of you through the windshield as a picture frame, you'll see the runway at different angles as you turn.

    The runway might look like this:
    ........\
    .........\
    ..........\
    (you need to turn a bit more)

    Or it might look like this:
    ........|
    ........|
    ........|

    where you are lined up with it.

    Or it might look like this:
    ........./
    ......../
    ......./

    Where you've overshot.

    Sorry for the dots, but this box apparently ignores leading spaces.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  7. Default

    I use the GPS a lot to augmentate my situational awareness. It's analogous to a ND in say a 737NG. So with that, and if you use a GPS, set your runway in the GPS providing the procedure is there. When you make base watch the cross track error readout on the GPS. It's XTE, lower left bottom. While on base this actually tells you how far away you are abeam from runway intersection. At about .90 to 1 mile of intercept start making your turn to align yourself down the center of the runway. It's not perfect, and I too am still trying to find the right number. But for the most part at about .90 to 1 mile of XTE you make a 5 degree bank left or right to get aligned with center line.

    Some airports have a NDB about 5 miles or so away down center line and you can use that as an intercept point. It may even be a VOR. As to the rate of turn is really all about experience, etc.
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  8. #8

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    Looks like the key word is 'practice'. I was wondering if there was a trick to doing it, for example, like start your turn when you see the runaway at a certain angle.

    I'm glad this is a flight simulator and not real world. I can slew, slow down the simulation rate, save and re-load, use replays, and never run out of fuel too.

    Thanks.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nrios View Post
    ...
    I'm glad this is a flight simulator and not real world. I can slew, slow down the simulation rate, save and re-load, use replays, and never run out of fuel too.

    Thanks.
    It's a LOT easier to determine when to turn in the real world than it is in the sim. A device such as TrackIR can help some, too. In fact it helps with orientation in many ways, just because it's so easy and smooth to look around.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  10. #10
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    Add 10 degrees of flaps when about midway on the runway (about 1000 feet above the ground, not 1000 feet altitude). Decrease power when you're abeam the end of the runway. You're about right for turning base when 45 degrees off the runway-end -- but if there's a strong wind, turn sooner.

    Then crab into the wind on base, so there's no typical sight picture because it always changes with the wind. Add second notch of flaps on base. You'll get a feel for when to start turn to final (and you should be around 300 feet or less above the ground). Try to limit all your turns in the pattern to no more than 20 degrees, and stay coordinated with the rudder -- you're too low to recover from a stall-spin.

    Add full flaps when you see you've got the runway made (and be on-speed, namely about 1.3 x the full-flap stall speed). Larry gave you great tips on the sight picture for the runway.

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