Student pilot infringes despite ‘text-book’ planning

A student pilot on a solo PPL Qualifying Cross-Country flight infringed Birmingham’s Class D airspace despite having a ‘neat and comprehensive pilot’s log’ planned and reviewed with his instructor.

The account of the incident is the latest on the Airspace Safety Initiative (ASI) website. It took place last October on a flight from Halfpenny Green to Wellesbourne Mountford.

The route had been planned on a VFR 1:500,000 chart and a neat and comprehensive Pilot Log (PLOG) was produced using the methods taught on the navigation module of the PPL course.

The student pilot produced a neat and comprehensive pilot’s log. Top: the pilot’s route

Prior to departure, the student pilot and instructor reviewed the plan and weather conditions. The reported conditions on that day seemed to be reasonable and the flight was authorised. They discussed using the Birmingham Frequency Monitoring Code of 0010 to allow for easier identification when flying close to Birmingham’s controlled airspace.

After departure, the pilot noted visibility was good but the wind was much stronger than expected. This resulted in some challenges to maintain headings and the vertical instability of the air meant it was difficult maintaining altitude.

Therefore, a large portion of time was spent on maintaining the heading and altitude leading to a significant increase in workload in flying the aircraft. It also resulted in calculated timings not being as accurate.

During the leg between Blithfield Reservoir and Pitsford Water, the pilot became uncertain of location and circled above Nuneaton VRP several times to establish a positive location fix.

Continuing on with the route, the pilot flew over a body of water (Stanford Reservoir) which he mistook for Pitsford Water.

When the pilot turned onto the heading for Wellesbourne Mountford it was made too early and that put him on track towards controlled airspace.

Where the student pilot infringed. Use of a moving map, as recommended by the CAA, might have helped avoid the incident. Images: ASI

The pilot realised he was flying in an area that did not correlate with the route plan and being unable to contact Birmingham, the pilot changed heading to south and called Distress and Diversion (D&D) on 121.500MHz.

D&D provided the pilot with a position fix and the pilot was able to navigate to Wellesbourne. On landing at Wellesbourne, the pilot immediately telephoned the instructor at Halfpenny Green and explained the enroute problems.

The ASI said the pilot

This post was originally published by Flyer Magazine on . Please visit the original post to read the complete article.

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