Question about diversions

Prino

Well-Known Member
Im not really sure where to post this, but im having problems with diversions. The first one i did was great, the subsequent ones have all gotten worse and worse.Im usually pretty accurate with times and checkpoints, but once i get diverted it seems like i spend too much time focusing on flying the airplane, and doing the diversion checklist that i end up getting lost. Im about to take my ppl checkride and this is the only portion that im really worried about getting busted on. thanks
 

The Gardener

Terrafirma Phobic
Diversion checklist? Please elaborate! Spending lots of time heads down in the cockpit isn't going to help you at all with knowing where you are or where you are going. I think a lot of people try to make the diversions way to complicated.

Use your pencil to sight an approximate heading referencing the compass on a VOR, estimate the distance (use the length of a finger or something similar, for example the last knuckle on my thumb is 10 nm on a sectional etc...) and check for airspace. do some simple simple math to get time and fuel. Once you get en route you can figure out the radios frequencies you need and the runways in use. Most diversions are so short that it doesn't need to be too complex. Being ultra exact on time, fuel and heading aren't all that important. I find most people can get withing 10 degrees, a couple miles and a couple minutes with just a simple guestimate.

Lastly, stay in one general location until you have figured out where you are going and how you are getting there. Odds are you will have several hours of fuel so there isn't any urgency.
 

Speed Pilot

Brain Damaged
Not sure what kind of checklist you're working from but I'll go over what I teach roughly. This is the way I teach them using Pilotage or Dead Reckoning. A GPS makes this much easier.

1. Determine where you're diverting to and start a turn in the rough direction towards it ASAP. Fine tune the heading later but at least get going in the general direction so you're not flying away from it.
2. Estimate distance to new destination using a pencil for a scale between two points of known distance or the scale on the sectional.
3. For ground speed use your known groundspeed at your last waypoint.
4. Roughly calculate ETA using those two numbers and compare that time with how much endurance you have with your remaining fuel to make sure it is a realistic alternate.

At this point you've been flying in the general direction of where you need to go and have some rough numbers to communicate with ATC or Flight Service about your diversion.

I've never tried to explain this with just text before so bear with me and ask questions to clarify points because what I wrote makes sense to me but probably won't make sense for anyone else that reads it. Hope it helps a little.
 

CoffeeIcePapers

Well-Hung Member
On a sectional, the tip of your finger to your knuckle works out to about 7 miles. Use this to figure out the distance, that may make it a little quicker. Just turn in the general direction, find a good reference point to get a more exact heading, then figure out that stuff.
 

nosehair

Well-Known Member
once i get diverted it seems like i spend too much time focusing on flying the airplane,
Back to basics: Fuggeddabout the diversion. Go out solo and trim up the airplane hands-off on a heading and altitude. Take your hands off the wheel, and steer the heading with rudder only. Make some turns to specific headings of 30, 60, and 90 degrees, holding a specific bank angle of 20 degrees. Do not touch the yoke. You probably will not lose altitude, but if you do, lessen the bank angle. Experiment and find a comfortable way of turning with rudder only so that you have both hands to attend to maps.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
My question to the OP is, exactly what is your CFI expecting from you? A diversion is simply changing your route of flight in response to an event, whether it be a mechanical problem, deteriorating weather, running lower on fuel than expected, or needing to use the restroom. The =goal= is to get from here to there efficiently, not doing a bunch of calculations.

OTOH, some CFIs feel the need to inundate their students with a bunch of extra make-work. I guess it has its place since (as you found) it provides a distraction and requires you to learn to juggle multiple tasks. But if a CFI uses it for this, the training purpose should be clearly understood and differentiated from the real world.

My approach to teaching it is pretty similar to what Speed Pilot described. As some know, I can't stand mnemonics, but managed to come up with one for diversions in response to an online challenge a few years ago:

The 4 F's

Find it - select the place to divert to
Figure it - estimate the direction that you'll need to fly to get there.
Fly it - Get going!
Fine tune it - now that you're heading there generally, take the time to make sure that your estimated heading is correct. This may be tuning in an on or close to field navaid, the "roll the pencil to VOR" method of determining magnetic course, rules of "thumb" about distances, or just locating landmarks that tell you you're on your way.

(someone once pointed out there's a 5th "F-it" - what you yell when the emergency actual happens :D )

I also follow John King's advice to land at an unplanned airport on dual cross countries. I usually plan an in-flight "problem" ranging from bad weather to a system failure during a dual cross country.
 

fish314

Well-Known Member
On a sectional, the tip of your finger to your knuckle works out to about 7 miles. Use this to figure out the distance, that may make it a little quicker. Just turn in the general direction, find a good reference point to get a more exact heading, then figure out that stuff.

I read this and had to laugh a little.... Suppose the OP doesn't have a standard issue sized finger? I was envisioning Chis Elliot from Scary Movie 2, "quick, take my strong hand!"
 

Prino

Well-Known Member
well what usually happens is well start off like its a regular xc and after a few checkpoints theyll divert me. I do really well with pilotage and dead reckoning on the planned portion because ive had time to go over the chart to see for good visual aids to see where im at, but once i divert i get all disoriented because i havent had the same chance to look where im going to be flying. the checklist looks something like this

Reset Heading Indicator
Find exact location
Note time
Turn to approx heading
Draw line and Figure Dist
Determine True course
Check altitue (hemispherical rule)
Find Magnetic Heading
Determine ground speed
Determine time enroute
Determine fuel burn
Contact Fss and advise of new destination and eta
Check A/FD
Asos, atis, awos
appch/center
ctaf/tower
ground
apt elevation
TPA
 

tlewis95

I drive planes
Reset Heading Indicator
Find exact location
Note time
Turn to approx heading
Draw line and Figure Dist
Determine True course
Check altitue (hemispherical rule)
Find Magnetic Heading
Determine ground speed
Determine time enroute
Determine fuel burn
Contact Fss and advise of new destination and eta
Check A/FD
Asos, atis, awos
appch/center
ctaf/tower
ground
apt elevation
TPA
:crazy:

Sounds a little complex to me. I just aim in the general direction, maybe use some pilotage to get approximate the distance from the known distance marked on two checkpoints, divide by a nice round number for groundspeed, and multiply by another nice round number for the fuel.

Then continue using pilotage to get there, or if there is time and I can do a good job aviating, do some more precise numbers, call up FSS and run the radios.
 

jawright

Well-Known Member
A - Alternate (know which airport you’re going to and noteyour current position)
B - Best guess heading. Select an approximate heading to your alternate and turn to it.
C - Clock. Note the time.

D - Distance to alternate (approximate)- Use the "thumb" or fingertip method of estimating the distance, as described by a previous poster

E - Estimate:
· Ground speed. To determine (without GPS):
- Determine 2% of IAS per 1000 feet of altitude
- Add the 2% to IAS
- Correct for winds aloft
· Time enroute to alternate
· Time of arrival at alternate
· Fuel burn (using E6B)
F - Flight Service. Call the nearest FSS, advise of your intentions and update your flight plan
 

The Gardener

Terrafirma Phobic
What I really like to do is give students some fake weather. Such as, the cielings are dropping to XXXX altitude and the winds are coming up at these airports, KABC, KCDF etc. Then suddenly, there are thunderstorms developing over there. Now, what/where are you going to do? Of course this 'worst case weather' is all fake it makes them find an airport to divert to, and then go there.

On my commercial checkride and the examiner said go to XYZ airport. Great, I would if I only had a clue where XYZ airport was. (I wasn't too familiar with the area yet).

The above method makes the student find the appropriate airport(s) instead. Of course, I still do the normal style of diversions, but I just like the weather scenario better.

I also like them to do it under the hood when they are capable. There is a nearby airport near a VOR. They can fly directly to the VOR, then estimate a radial, distance and time to the airport and they usually can get to the airport (based on time) withing 1/4 mile. I surely hope they never do that crap in actual but it gives them confidence with the VOR's and navigation.
 

Prino

Well-Known Member
What I really like to do is give students some fake weather. Such as, the cielings are dropping to XXXX altitude and the winds are coming up at these airports, KABC, KCDF etc. Then suddenly, there are thunderstorms developing over there. Now, what/where are you going to do? Of course this 'worst case weather' is all fake it makes them find an airport to divert to, and then go there.

On my commercial checkride and the examiner said go to XYZ airport. Great, I would if I only had a clue where XYZ airport was. (I wasn't too familiar with the area yet).

The above method makes the student find the appropriate airport(s) instead. Of course, I still do the normal style of diversions, but I just like the weather scenario better.

I also like them to do it under the hood when they are capable. There is a nearby airport near a VOR. They can fly directly to the VOR, then estimate a radial, distance and time to the airport and they usually can get to the airport (based on time) withing 1/4 mile. I surely hope they never do that crap in actual but it gives them confidence with the VOR's and navigation.
it just seems natural that one will fly to the nearest airport in the event of weather, not just some XYZ airport that they dont even know about. (granted in a GA aircraft runway length isnt necessarily an issue)...i was working on a diversion the other day, my instructor (new one) tells me to divert to an airport...well i look down, figure out where im at, look to the general location of said airport and as im doing the checklist i figure out that im looking right at the airport, at which point the checklist goes in the back seat and i get on the radio and check weather, see if anybody is on freq ect....i did have to do the complete diversion checklist on the way back though, they are getting better :)
 

The Gardener

Terrafirma Phobic
I usually tell them that some of the airports have wind gusting to 30kts or something to make them choose something a bit further away.
 

Prino

Well-Known Member
I usually tell them that some of the airports have wind gusting to 30kts or something to make them choose something a bit further away.
understandable, this wasnt so close i could see it right away, i had to do some calculations.
 

CaptainChris87

New Member
The second post is correct. A lot of instructors are making this more difficult than it should be.

First lets define Diversion- it basically means going to an airport other than intended destination, ususally due to an emergency.

1. First know where you are...you should be keeping track on your navlog. (Pilotage, dead wreckoning) or your GPS.

2. Pick APPROPREATE airport:
-MX issue= look on chart for airports with services, may be able to fix, large towns which have hotels. dont be picky if its urgent.
- Wx issue= look on charts for airports with services, tie downs and fly away from bad wx visually if possible
- Medical issue= take into account severity of problem, dont land in a middle of nowhere uncontrolled airport if someone is having a hear attack.

3. Estimate a rough heading and turn to it

4. look back on your navlog use distance ruler, last known ground speed, determine distance, ETE, and fuel burn.

5. radio as necessary, maybe approach for help or vectors.

Try not too spend too much time focusing and keeping your head down. You keeping your eyes away from the plane too long will result in more of you needing to correct your flight. Key thing is fly the plane then do your checklist. I personally belive the 5 steps I listed will suffice and is more practical and more flowing.
 
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