How to actually use the sectional chart?


New Member
Hello, yall, I'm an old student pilot, and having little problem looking up a sectional chart and find out where my location is, to me it all looks same, especialuy at here in grand forks, ND. So if anybody have their own special techinique on looking up a chart, please share. your answer will be deeply appreciated. Not only me but everyone else who is looking for big yellow ground to see what city it is.
Killerbee, are you an aviation student at UND. I am and so are a couple others on this board.

Not sure what to say on technique but using the GFK VOR is a good start. Also, try to always know what town you are near. There plenty of small towns around here that are shaped differently so it is easy to tell which ones they are. It does take time to do this and I am sure the more you fly the easier it will get. As some advice, I would say identify the easy landmarks and go from there If you always know where they are at, it will be easy to tell exactly where you at and you can cross check that by using your compass, VOR, GPS, etc. Good ones to use around here are the Base, I-29, the river, highway 2, and there are a few others.
I had a very similar problem in the UK, it all looked the same; green hills with towns dotted about. Freeways, airports, lakes, and VORs (as mentioned before) are all great ways to keep your bearings about where you are.
Who needs a sectional in North Dakota? All you have to do is keep visual on the Red River and all the houses floating around when it floods.
Either that or find the plume from the potato factory....Simplot I think.

Is there still the "carpet" reporting point SE of the airfield?

Yeah, we report Truckstop then proceed to Carpet. Also report Wasau, Kelly Farm, east ponds, lagoons. Probably a few others, I haven't flown in a while, so my memory isn't that fresh.

Oh yes, Simplot, probably the most discusting thing I have ever smelled in my entire life. And it smells up the whole town.
Ahhh Grand Forks, ND!! What can I say? No other place like it in the world...THANK GOD.

There are many times when I am on a cross country around here and it is physically impossible to have any checkpoints less than 40 miles apart. There is literally just nothing there at all to use as a checkpoint. Although, the Twin Cities sectional does come in handy a lot once you get down near Minneapolis.

I did think it was pretty cool that GFK Tower was rated 50th busiest airport in the country as far as number of take offs and landings this year!
Some creative folding may help. I always taught my students to prefold the chart down to a manageable size before takeoff. One guy even used metal clips to hold it together.

Don't be intimidated by the whole huge chart, but focus in on the area that you are in. Fold it so that Grand Forks is the center of what you see on the map.

Also, I dont think that it's published anymore, but there used to be an Aernautical Chart User's Guide published by NOS. It told a lot more about the symbology than the legend does. You might be able to locate a copy in the library or online.