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Winthrop Dale's Story
Having previously flown the north Atlantic, I decided to start with the next big hurdle, the Pacific.
Besides, it is only a couple hundred miles away. My many planning sessions had brought me to the conclusion that flying with the sun is a lot more comfortable for the crew. "No Jet Lag" My tanking tech gave me a com¬fortable 3400 NM range with 380 gal cabin tanks for a total of 404 gals. I had a hand held computer, from Commodore.
Entering the Coordinates of the starting point and the Coordinates of the destination would give me a rhumb line distance in NM and the true course. I soon found that trying to plan a fit of that magnitude with GNC on the floor was not working. Solution: Use a school room globe, set a pair of dividers at 3400nmi and leap frog around the face of the globe to places I wish to go to. Now back to the GNC, I drew course lines and cut out the applicable portions. With manageable portions of the charts, at my desk, I planned and plot¬ted as carefully as we did on our first long X-Country. (GNC are Lambert Conformal Conic Projection charts. Straight line yields great circle route. No great circle with north-south courses.) The Jeppesen oceanic charts have well depicted isogonic lines.
With this all done ahead of time, on the day of the fit, I only had to factor the projected winds to get compass headings. I had three sources of Magnetic headings: Usual P'Whiskey" compass, slaved auto-pilot heading indicator and a vertical card magnetic compass I installed up by the sun visor brackets.
All destinations were coastal with either strong NDBs or commercial broadcast stations which I could home to.
Most of these had effective ranges in excess of 100 NM. Therefore, all I had to do was get inside of a circle 200 NM in diameter.Once out over the ocean, on fit from OAK to HNL, I cheated a bit by just flying parallel to the endless line of contrails in the sky. On fit from Rarotonga to Auckland, approx 1400 NM, at 80 DME from Auckland I found myself 22 NM south of course. Did not take much of a crab to arrive on course.
Basic flight planning, plotting, time distance, dead reckoning, seat of the pants and a magnetic compass still work. Just be certain to stay on top of the magnetic variation. (On fit over the North Pole I used the sun to navigate by. When I made my landfall on the north coast of Svalbard I was only 2nmi west of course.)
Winthrop Dale is a recipient of the FAI Circumnaviagtor Badge.
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Copyright Claude Meunier & Margi Moss, 2000 - 2013