Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
By duke_sc
#1851524
Hi,
I joined the forum to find an answer to a problem I have. When in the air I have no idea of distances. For example, on receiving an alert about an aircraft 30+ miles off our 11 o'clock I was looking away off to the horizon when the instructor pointed much closer to where it actually was. Also on aviation video clips I hear the pilot anounce his position like '6 miles south east of airstrip'. Now I can understand that with the correct equipment this should be straight forward, but in an old 'bird' with no fancy equipment this seems to be being done by some supernatural powers :) So is it just something you guys learn over time or is there a rule of thumb for working it out visually?

I'm no longer pursuing real life flying due to a disability but I'd like to put this knowledge to some use in sim flying if possible.

Thanks in advance

Cheers,
Robert
User avatar
By AlanM
#1851537
duke_sc wrote:Hi,
I joined the forum to find an answer to a problem I have. When in the air I have no idea of distances. For example, on receiving an alert about an aircraft 30+ miles off our 11 o'clock I was looking away off to the horizon when the instructor pointed much closer to where it actually was. Also on aviation video clips I hear the pilot anounce his position like '6 miles south east of airstrip'. Now I can understand that with the correct equipment this should be straight forward, but in an old 'bird' with no fancy equipment this seems to be being done by some supernatural powers :) So is it just something you guys learn over time or is there a rule of thumb for working it out visually?

I'm no longer pursuing real life flying due to a disability but I'd like to put this knowledge to some use in sim flying if possible.

Thanks in advance

Cheers,
Robert


Welcome!

Did you get Traffic Information from a Controller 30+ miles away?! Unless you (or the other aircraft) are in a Typhoon I would perhaps make a mental note and largely not worry about that.

In terms of reporting in relation to a VRP - your paper map/electronic map will give you that approx location. As a controller, any VFR report of a location needs to be near but not 100% accurate.
T6Harvard, gaznav liked this
#1851538
The limit of seeing another light aircraft in the air is approximately two miles.

How to judge? Practice! Probably doesn't help...but you get a feel for it eventually. It helps if you have GPS so you know exactly how far you are. "G-CD, 6.7 miles to the south, inbound for landing."
T6Harvard liked this
User avatar
By lobstaboy
#1851542
To me there are two very different cases.
1. Judging distance in the air to another aeroplane or to a cloud. I find this impossible, frankly. But if you can see another small aeroplane then it's close enough to worry about.
2. Judging how far away ground features are. Much easier and comes with practice. You can learn how big a mile is by looking at field sizes, airfields and other features. One gotcha, though, is that your judgement can be thrown off by big differences in visibility - on a gin clear day you will think things are closer than they actually are.
It's much harder on a sim than it is in real life!
T6Harvard liked this
User avatar
By Jonzarno
#1851552
1. Judging distance in the air to another aeroplane or to a cloud. I find this impossible, frankly. But if you can see another small aeroplane then it's close enough to worry about.


And remember: if the direction in which you see it doesn’t change, you are on a collision course (Constant Bearing = ConstantDanger) :!:
By As I CFIT
#1851591
I would say that the skill of accurately judging distance visually is redundant, in the context of how many miles you are away from a ground feature. It's helpful to know what two and three miles look like for the purpose of avoiding an ATZ, but for position reporting, do it some other way. If you haven't got a GPS then your position reports can always be done based on elapsed time, ie, if you overflew or passed abeam a landmark and you roughly know your groundspeed then you have to be X miles away from it after X amount of time.

Paul_Sengupta wrote:"G-CD, 6.7 miles to the south, inbound for landing."


Or "seven miles". Including decimals is inviting someone to mistake the 'point' for the mileage which could be confusing if it's 9.1 or 1.9, to use exaggerated examples.
User avatar
By Dave W
#1851603
It's better to be accurate when reporting position because then the other aircraft listening to you that is actually 3 miles East of Portsmouth doesn't crick their suddenly wildly-swivelling neck for no reason.

With GPS and a moving map this should be trivially easy to do. If you don't have GPS and a moving map, well... :D
Cessna571, Nick liked this
User avatar
By Rob P
#1851605
And remember you cannot rely on SkyDemon for your position reporting once across the Channel.

It is cunningly programmed to select the least pronouncable town within ten miles (16.09 km) to flash up in the handy little box at the top of the screen.

I must one day ask Tim how they achieve this.

Rob P
townleyc, TopCat, Nick liked this
By Cessna571
#1852138
Dave W wrote:It's better to be accurate when reporting position because then the other aircraft listening to you that is actually 3 miles East of Portsmouth doesn't crick their suddenly wildly-swivelling neck for no reason.

With GPS and a moving map this should be trivially easy to do. If you don't have GPS and a moving map, well... :D


THIS !

We have a major issue with “overhead Royston”

many times (>5) I have been overhead Royston with a wildly swivelling head when I spot the other aircraft who has just said “overhead Royston” approaching from the north.

Then I have to think “great, are there 3 of us here or not?”
TopCat liked this
By TopCat
#1852139
Cessna571 wrote:
Dave W wrote:It's better to be accurate when reporting position because then the other aircraft listening to you that is actually 3 miles East of Portsmouth doesn't crick their suddenly wildly-swivelling neck for no reason.



THIS !


THIS ^^

It's got to the point at my home airfield, that if someone calls overhead and I assume they're totally lying, I am correct at least 10 times more often than I'm wrong.

It doesn't stop the swivel, but it really p1sses me off.

And instructors are sometimes just as bad as PPLs, which p1sses me off even more.
mick w liked this