If you sometimes struggle with the concept of approaching new and unfamiliar airfields for the first time – especially with the general busy-ness of handling the aeroplane, talking on the radio and keeping a good eye out for other traffic – then Circuit Pilot could be the tool that comes to your rescue.
Many smaller airfields have recommended or published procedures for arriving and landing which often include overhead joins, or joining the active circuit from a specific position.
To do this, you need to work out your position in relation to the runway and quickly calculate in your head the direction of the pattern and how to enter it.
It can all be a little overwhelming at times.
Circuit Pilot is a small circular navigation aid which fits easily into your flight bag, and which you can quickly use when on approach to set yourself up correctly, whether on an overhead or standard join.
Here’s how Circuit Pilot works:
STANDARD CIRCUIT PATTERN JOIN
- Using your thumb and forefinger, rotate the ‘ACTIVE CIRCUIT’ shown on the upper disk to the known runway heading on the lower disk’s compass rose.
- When the airfield is in view, hold the complete ‘Circuit Pilot’ horizontally in front of you with the leading edge of the lower disk’s compass rose matching the aircraft’s compass.
- The ‘Circuit pilot’ will now be displaying your current aircraft’s orientation to the runway in use and also the standard downwind joining quadrant. It will also show the downwind direction to turn to dispel any possibility of you choosing the wrong runway.
OVERHEAD JOIN WITH DEAD SIDE DESCENT
As 1 and 2 as above.
- After reaching the overhead position, continue to the dead side quadrant shown on the ‘Circuit Pilot’ and then turn in the direction of the arrow shown on the outer edge of the ‘Circuit Pilot’ in preparation for joining the crosswind leg.
- Join the crosswind leg to the downwind leg as shown on the ‘Circuit Pilot’.
- Turn on to Downwind leg as shown on the ‘Circuit Pilot’ and continue with the normal circuit pattern to land.
With ‘no batteries required’ this handy little tool is useful for left or right circuits, removing the stress of approaching and landing, and can easily be set up for any runway.
If you’re a dab hand at approaching new airfields and do it regularly, you’re probably not going to find much use in Circuit Pilot. But if you’re a relatively new pilot, or one who is starting to explore new destinations in unfamiliar territory, I’d say it was a pretty useful piece of kit. And it only weighs a few grams!
Circuit Pilot was developed by retired pilot Reg Stokes, and is available to purchase from him website here: www.circuitpilot.bigcartel.com
The first ten orders for Circuit Pilots will be free of charge, so get in there quickly! Following this there will be a buy-on-get-one-free offer, so now’s the best time to get hold of one!