Pilot's tip of the week

Finding the Airport


Subscriber question:

"I’m a student pilot and can use a GPS. But I have a terrible time finding airports visually unless I’ve been there many times. Please help." —Sophie C.


“A good technique to find something while flying is to offset it just slightly on one side of the nose of your airplane.

Our tendency when flying to an unknown point or a point that’s hard to find is to fly right at it. But this makes the spot go underneath the nose of the airplane sooner, and it requires us to visually scan the entire windscreen in front of us to find the target.

By offsetting by just a couple of degrees, we can isolate our search to one side of the windscreen. If in a typical light aircraft with side-by-side seating, offset the target slightly to the left of the nose since your visibility from the left seat is better down the left side of the airplane.”

Would you descend to pattern altitude for an airport you see on GPS but not yet out the window?

tip(NEW) IFR Mastery scenario #149 “Capital City Confusion” is now available. Loss of control on an approach is a terrifying thought—and you just recovered in a valley with limited visibility and no airport in sight. Is it better to climb to safety with a known issue or scud run a few hundred feet above the ground to find an airport and some terra firma? Watch the Intro video.

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