VFR FLIGHT INTRODUCTION
THE VFR CIRCUIT
This is a quick start guide to helping pilots at IVAO UK understand VFR
WHAT IS VFR?
VFR or ''Visual Flight Rules'' is the flight rules every real world pilot primarily learns to fly under. VFR pilots use their eyes as a primary means of navigation and avoiding other traffic when airborne. Pilots must be able to main visual reference with ground level at all times during the flight to ensure traffic separation can be carried out. This means pilots should maintain their distance from clouds, fog and mist which are also known as VMC, Visual Meteorological Conditions''
Connecting to IVAO requires the following applications;
1: IvAp and Teamspeak
These enables pilots to fly online, so make sure IvAp and Teamspeak are set-up, also make sure you have a PTT ''Push To Talk key'' set.
2: Prepare you charts as these are vital to all flights. You can get these for free here. For this guide we are going to be flying in the VFR circuit so we would only need the ground chart for Edinburgh airport.
3: Suitable aircraft. VFR is flown by GA ''General Aviation'' aircraft so make sure you use a suitable aircraft that you are familiar with.
4: A pen and paper, useful for scribbling down taxi instructions, clearances and other information.
THE VFR CIRCUIT
As mentioned, this is where all new pilots start flying in real life so it's a good place for us to start. The VFR circuit is like driving around the block, consisting of flying around the airport in a rectangular route.
The typical stages of the circuit are as follows;
The aircraft takes and maintains runway heading until approximately 500ft, this is known as upwind.
After maintaining runway heading, turn left 90° to join the crosswind leg.
Make another 90° left hand turn to fly parallel to the runway, this is the downwind leg.
Turn 90° left again to enter the base leg and start descending towards the final approach.
One final 90° left hand turn will now see us on final with the runway directly in front of the aircraft.
Diagram illustrating a visual picture of the circuit and it's stages
In the picture above, the circuit in use is that of a left hand. The circuit direction can vary depending on the runway in use and the airport you are flying at.
READY TO FLY?
So, you have launched your FS and and are now wondering where to go from here;
• Firstly, you will need to select IvAp from your IVAO drop-down menu.
• The IvAp panel will now be running, click connect and you will see the following window;
Enter your details as demonstrated, they should have been sent to you in your welcome email. Once that’s done, hit connect and we should be online.
On IvAp, click ACARS and then SEND FLIGHT PLAN. Now in the real world most VFR flights don’t require a flight plan but on IVAO all flights must send a flight plan.
Above is the IVAO flight plan, we can edit all the fields depending on our flight, broken down;
7: CALLSIGN: This is our aircraft identification on the radar and radio.
8: FLIGHT RULES: V is VFR AND I is IFR, today we are VFR so select 'V' in this box. Finally, our flight type for today is General Aviation, select 'G' for this box.
9: TYPE OF AIRCRAFT: This is our aircraft model for the flight.
WAKE TURBULENCE CATEGORY: all GA aircraft are L which stands for light.
10: EQUIPMENT CODES: For a VFR flight within the default Cessna 172 select S-D-F-G.
11: TRANSPONDER: The C172 is equipped with S-MODE S.
13: DEPARTURE AERODROME: This is the 4 letter ICAO code for our departure airfield which is
14: DEPARTURE TIME: The time we expect to depart.
15: CRUISING SPEED: This can be varied, typically the C172 cruises at around 90kts. Make sure
you choose N as this is airspeed measured in Knots.
LEVEL: Choose VFR, we don’t have a formal restriction as yet except that we must stay in visual sight of ground level.
ROUTE: Fill in 'VFR CIRCUITS', this indicates to any online ATC that we will remain within the
16: DESTINATION AERODROME: This is the airport we will be arriving into.
TOTAL EET: This indicates our en route time for the flight.
ALTN AERODROME: This is where we shall divert to if our destination airfield is unavailable.
2ND ALTN AERODROME: if our primary ALTN AERODROME is unavailable this is our secondary choice.
OTHER INFORMATION: here you can add things like RMK/NEW PILOT so any ATC can see your new.
19: ENDURANCE: This indicates the amount of fuel duration we have. PERSONS ON BOARD: Total crew and passengers
PILOT IN COMMAND: This is your name.
AIRCRAFT COLOUR AND MARKINGS: You can specify if you are want to be seen as a specific aircraft in certain markings
Once all that’s done hit SEND FPL.
Now we can quickly get the METAR for EGPH, on the main screen of IVAP click REQUEST METAR DEP EGPH.
That’s the flight planning part done, now we can move on and get flying!
In IvAp, right click on VHF1 122.800 UNICOM, this will show you all the ATC that is online in your area, if Edinburgh Tower is online, you should see EGPH_TWR, left clicking on this position button will automatically tune to the channel of the controller.
If you wish, you may start of with a radio check to ensure you can hear the ATC and they can hear you;
PILOT: Edinburgh tower, VIP168 request radio check on 118.700
ATC: VIP168, Edinburgh Tower, readability is 5
PILOT: Roger, readability is 5 also
Readability is measured on a scale of 5; 1 unreadable – 5 excellent
VFR aircraft obtain their clearance/instructions at the holding point when ready for take-off. VFR
pilots start the engine without asking for clearance.
When tuning to the frequency of EGPH_TWR, it will have requested us to confirm report info
C/D/E on initial contact in your IvAp window. This is demonstrated below;
PILOT – VIP168 is a Cessna 172 with information Charlie on-board QNH 1003 on the business aviation apron request taxi for VFR circuits
ATC – VIP168, Taxi holding point B1 for runway 06 via runway 30 Lima and Alpha QNH 1003
PILOT – Taxi holding point B1 for runway 06 via runway 30 Lima and Alpha QNH 1003
With the help of our ground chart we can now start our taxi over to B1. Upon reaching the holding point, we now inform ATC;
PILOT: Holding B1, VIP168
ATC: VIP168, I have your clearance are you ready to copy? Pilot: Ready to copy, VIP168
ATC: VIP168, you are cleared into the left hand circuit runway 06 not above height 1000ft, VFR, QFE 998 hectopascal and Squawk 7010
PILOT: Cleared in to the left hand circuit not above height 1000ft, VFR, QFE 998 hectopascal and
Squawk 7010, VIP168
ATC: VIP168, readback correct, report fully ready
PILOT: Fully ready, VIP168
ATC: VIP168, surface wind 040° at 12 knots runway 06 cleared for take off with a left hand turn out
PILOT: Cleared takeoff runway 06 with a left hand turn out, VIP168
VFR CLEARANCES BROKEN DOWN
Although everything we have just gone through may seem difficult, it is quite simple. Our clearance was ''VIP168 you are cleared in to the left hand circuit not above height 1000 feet VFR QFE 998 hectopascal Squawk 7010”
VIP168: This is your aircraft callsign
Cleared in the left hand circuit: This mean the circuit is in the left hand traffic pattern. Not above height 1000ft; This means we should not climb above 1000ft.
QFE 998 hectopascal: The QFE is 998 (Question Field Elevation). We will set this in our altimeter. When we are on the ground if we have set QFE 998 our altitude should be 0ft when on the runway, so after takeoff our altimeter will be showing our height above the aerodrome.
QNH, VFR traffic remaining in the traffic pattern only need the QFE, you will given the QNH during taxi, the QNH is the air pressure for the aerodromes region and is entered in to the Altimeter the same way as the QFE.
#NOTE, if using the default aircraft in flight sim use the folowing link to convert hectopascal units to inches of mercury http://www.convertunits.com/from/hPa/to/inch+of+mercury
Squawk 7010: we set this in our radio panel
Once your takeoff clearance has been issued, configure your aircraft for departure. You must remember to squawk mode charlie prior to entering the runway. This can be done by pressing the little grey knob on the IvAp at the top right.
It is a good idea to turn downwind when the runway is at your 7-8 o'clock position. In the default
Cessna 172 you will be on crosswind for around 30-45 seconds
Now that we are on the downwind stage of the circuit, we must call up ATC with our position and intentions. The following are our options;
TO LAND: We land and vacate the runway.
STOP AND GO: We land, stop on the runway and then take-off again. TOUCH AND GO: We land on the runway and immediately take-off again.
LOW APPROACH: You make a normal approach to the runway prior to climbing back into the air.
Here is an example;
PILOT: Downwind to land, VIP168
ATC: VIP168 roger, you are number 1 report on final
PILOT: Report on final, VIP168
To conclude, we are now number 1 in the traffic situation and are required to report on final.
END OF DOWNWIND
Downwind will last roughly 2 minutes and has a distance of 4 to 5 nautical miles.
Should be a very similar time as crosswind, 30-45 seconds.
Begin the turn onto the final approach when the airfield is at your roughly 10 o'clock position
When turning on to your final approach you should be no closer than 1 mile and no further than 2 miles.
Now we are on final we must inform ATC; PILOT – Final, VIP168
ATC – VIP168, cleared to land runway 06, surface wind 080° at 6 knots.
PILOT – Cleared to land, VIP168
After landing, clean up your aircraft and remember to squawk mode standby. You can now request taxi back to the GA apron.
PILOT – Vacated on C1, request taxi to the GA apron, VIP168
ATC – VIP168, taxi to the GA apron via L, runway 12 and U PILOT – Taxi to the GA apron via L, runway 12 and U, VIP168
Here is an overview of what we have covered;
How to connect to IVAO
Filing and sending a VFR flightplan Requested VFR taxi clearance Received our VFR clearance
Flown a complete VFR flight from startup to shutdown
• Make sure your prepare and have a pen and paper to hand. Ensure you have the charts also.
• Make sure you remain at your PC during the entire flight.
• Keep looking out for other traffic. VFR aircraft are responsible for their own separation.
• Ensure your weather is suitable for VFR. Set clear skies and make a note in your remarks if not.
• If you are unsure of anything then please don't assume. Just ask ATC and they will do their best to help you as much as possible.
• The Default FS2004 and FSX aircraft have US altimeters that use a different preasue setting. You can use this site to make the conversion http://www.convertunits.com/from/hPa/to/inch+of+mercury
This is part 1 of 3 VFR documents, the second will cover VFR in more depth as a cross country flight. If you have any questions regarding VFR fight, online flying or flying in general please contact the IVAO UK Training Department.