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1) Estimating Your Crosswind Component

When you're on the ground, it's easy to use the crosswind chart in your POH, or
an E6B. But when you're in the air, neither of those options are very practical.
Lucky of all of us, there's an easier way. If the wind is 30 degrees off the runway,
your crosswind component is about 50% of the wind speed.
If the wind is 45 degrees off the runway, the crosswind component is about 75%
of the wind speed.
And if the wind is 60 degrees or more off the runway, the crosswind component
is roughly the same as the total wind.

2) 10% Weight Increase = 20% Takeoff and Landing Distance IncreaseThe


more weight you have, the more runway you need. And while this rule is far from
exact, it gets you in the ball park for a normally aspirated plane.
Obviously when it comes time to calculate your actual performance, you'll want to
pull out your POH.
3) Takeoff roll increases about 10% for every additional 1,000 feet of
density altitude
For most normally-aspirated airplanes, you add about 10% of takeoff roll distance
for every 1,000' of density altitude (DA).
For example, in Denver, with an increase of 3,200' of density altitude, you'd
increase your takeoff roll by about 32%.
So if you have a 1,500' takeoff roll on a standard day in Denver (3 degrees C),
you'll increase that roll to almost 2,000' on a 30C day.
4) When Should You Start Your Descent?
3 degrees is a comfortable descent rate in just about any aircraft. But when
you're approaching an airport, how do you know when to start down?
Divide the altitude you need to lose by 300.
For example, if you're at 11,000', and you need to get down to a pattern altitude
of 2,000', you need to descend 9,000'.
9,000/300 = 30 miles.
If you start a 3 degree descent 30 miles out, you'll hit pattern altitude as you
reach the airport. Keep in mind, you'll want to add a few miles on to your number,
so you hit pattern altitude before you get to the airport.
5) ILS Course Width
VFR pilots can make good use of the ILS too. Whether it's a dark moonless night,
or a long straight-in on a hazy day, following the ILS to your runway keeps you
safe from terrain and obstructions (not to mention, you know you're lined up with
the right runway).
The closer you get to the runway, the more sensitive the signal is. As you cross
the threshold, 1/2 dot deflection on the localizer = about 1/2 the runway width. So
if you're a half dot off as you approach the runway, you're going to be looking at
the runway edge lights.

2) Course Corrections

The 1 in 60 rule states that if you're off course by 1NM after 60 miles flown, you have a 1 degree
tracking error. Time to correct that heading!

Another tip: If you're 60 miles away from a VOR, and you're off course by one degree, you're off course
by one mile. Last thing: if you fly a 60 mile arc around the VOR, you'd fly a total of 360 miles...talk about
a long instrument approach!
3) How To Calculate Windshear

Rule-of-thumb: the total shear is double the peak wind. If the outflow speed of a microburst is 30
knots, you'll experience about 60 knots of shear as you cross the microburst. And it all can happen in a
very short period of time.

Think about what would happen to your Cessna 172 if you went from 100 knots to 40 knots in the
matter of a few seconds...

4) Calculating Glideslope Descent Rates

If you're flying a 90 knot approach speed on a 3 degree glideslope, you'll need to descend at roughly
450FPM to maintain the glideslope. But how did we come up with that?

There's a pretty easy rule-of-thumb to figure that descent rate out. Divide your ground speed by 2, then
add a 0 to the end. So if you take 90 knots / 2, you get 45. Add a zero to the end, and you get 450FPM.
There's another way to approximate this. You can also multiply your groundspeed by 5 and you'll get
an approximate descent rate for a 3 degree glideslope.

5) More Descent Calculations

At a 1 degree angle of descent, for every 1 mile you fly, you'll descend 100 feet. This ratio can be used to
determine other aspects of descent. For instance, if you have 1 mile to descend 600 feet, you'll need a 6
degree nose-down descent.

While you may be able to chop and drop in a C172, a larger jet or turboprop usually can't do that. Plus,
it's not safe. Try your best to plan a 3 degree arrival into all of your airports for the safest and most
gentle descent.
6) Calculating Civil Twilight

A good rule-of-thumb for the calculating civil twilight is that it usually ends between 20-35 minutes after
sunset. Today in Boulder, sunset is 6:05 PM, and civil twilight ends at 6:33 PM. That's a difference of 28
minutes.

7) Flying Gusty Approaches

In gusty conditions, use less flaps. With less flaps and a faster approach speed, you'll be less susceptible
to gusty conditions, and you'll also have a safety margin if you encounter wind shear. Another rule-of-
thumb you can use is to add half of the gust factor to your approach speed.
If your final approach speed is 80 knots, and the winds have a gust factor of 20 knots (for example,
winds 10 gusting to 30), fly the approach at 90 knots.

Bernal Saborio

How Wind Affects Descent Rate

A tailwind on final will result in a higher groundspeed, thus requiring a higher descent rate to maintain
glideslope. The opposite is true for headwinds. Let's take a look at a few examples:

Example 1: Headwind of 25 Knots, Final Approach Speed of 100 Knots Indicated Airspeed.
Example 2: Tailwind of 25 Knots, Final Approach Speed of 100 Knots.