Time And Distance to VOR

Perpendicular method

Time in secs to go from current radial to another radial at 90deg to current radial / degrees between the radials

Let’s say you are heading 060 towards a VOR. Do a 90 degree turn and head to radial 070. Time how long it takes to center on radial 070. Divide that by 10 degrees. That’s the time to the VOR

Isoceles method

Let’s say you are heading 060 towards the VOR. Turn 10 degrees right to head towards 070 radial. When you are centered on 070, note the time. That’s how how long it will take you to reach the VOR if you NOW fly the 070 radial

Difference between operating C172 and PA-180

Starting Engine
C172SP PA180
Fuel Pump Used only to start the engine. Turn on for a few seconds just before starting. Turn off as soon as a flow of 5 gph

Sequence: Turn on fuel pump, mixture rich, turn off pump, mixture lean. Ignition to start, advance mixture to rich as soon engine “catches”

Leave on until engine has started. Then turn on before take off and final decent.

IMPORTANT: leave on during takeoff and landing. Put fuel pump on your before take off and decent checklists!


Mixture Start lean. Make rich when engine fires Set to rich from start
Carb heat Not applicable OFF during start
Primer Not applicable Prime as necesarry after turning on fuel pump and setting mixture rich


Use of fuel pump on PA 180

Use the fuel pump, when starting the engine, during takeoff and landing. In other words

  1. Turn on prior to start.
  2. Turn off after start
  3. Turn on before takeoff
  4. Turn off when at a safe altitude
  5. Turn on before decent to land / approach
  6. Turn off after landing

Use of carburator heat on PA 180

Turn off, and leave it off during start, taxi and takeoff

Turn on before descent to land

Time & Distance to VOR

Perpendicular method

Time in secs to go from current radial to another radial at 90deg to current radial / degrees between the radials

Let’s say you are heading 060 towards a VOR. Do a 90 degree turn and head to radial 070. Time how long it takes to center on radial 070. Divide that by 10 degrees. That’s the time to the VOR

Isoceles method

Let’s say you are heading 060 towards the VOR. Turn 10 degrees right to head towards 070 radial. When you are centered on 070, note the time. That’s how how long it will take you to reach the VOR if you NOW fly the 070 radial


ADF simplified

An ADF tells you how much you must turn to be pointed to a station. That’s it!

To find the Magnetic Heading You need, simply add what the ADF shows to your current heading.

Simple?! Yes but the above is correct only on fixed-card ADF, where the 0 is always pointed the heading that the nose is pointing to.

The Complication

So why do they making a movable card? The addition you did above can be eliminated if you rotate the card so that your current magnetic heading is pointed up on the card. When you do that, the needle points to the magnetic heading to the station, i stead of how much you must turn to point to the station. But caution! If you change your heading later, then the ADF is no longer valid. You must turn the card such that your heading is pointed up on the card, for the needle to be valid

Staying Simple

My preference is to simply keep 0 pointed up on the ADF even if it has a movable card


The VOR, like the ADF is NOT coupled to the magnetic compass or DG

However, while an ADF is usable even if your current heading is Not pointed up, a VOR is hard to use if your current heading doesn’t match the “up” direction on the VOR

So for a VOR, but only when you intend to head to or from the station directly, always change your heading to match the reading on the VOR

There are times when you MUST NOT head in the direction of the VOR. The most common case is when the VOR is to the side of your course


Wouldn’t it be nice if the up position on the ADF always pointed your current heading?

That’s exactly what an RMI does! An RMI’s card automatically points to your current heading. Ok ou might be asking but that’s what a DG does too. But there are two big differences. First, the DG has to be manually adjusted to show the correct direction periodically. The RMI automatically figures magnetic north. Secondly the needle on the RMI can be slaved to an ADF or VOR. In other words, it’s like superimposing the needle of an ADF on your DG. You can do the same with a VOR, but then, you won’t get the CDI of the VOR to display on the RMI.

Most RMI have two needles each of which can be slaved to an ADF or VOR

Full scale deflection

On VOR …
5 dots
Each dot is 2 degrees
1 dot at one mile from VOR = 200 ft off-course
(distance off course = num dots x miles from VOR x 200 ft)

Pitch & Power for required performance

This page summarizes data collected to determine the control inputs for a given performance

Flight Simulator , Cessna 172S full load, standard weather, at 2,500 ft

Climb(FPM) Airspeed(KTAS) Pitch(deg) Power(RPM) Altitude Temp
Best 74 (Vy) 10-15 Full 2500
0 85 5 2100 2500
0 90 1 bar 2200 2500
0 100 1/2 bar 2300 2500
0 105 level 2400 2500
0 110 level >2500 2500
-500 90 -1/2 bar 1900 2500

To transition one performance to another, change power and pitch (and maybe flaps) to the target performance, then see how the plane reacts. Often times, the plane will try to maintain airspeed, therefore increasing or decreasing vertical speed. If the plane is not changing to the target performance, apply temporary correction and release correction when target is met. I find that elevator control works best as the temporary input. When we release the elevator pressure, it returns to the trimmed level. The throttle neither has a trim nor spring action, so its harder to remember what the temporary throttle adjustment was to undo it. Sometimes, just using the elevator as a temporary change causes the plane to take much longer than you need to change airspeed – especially if you are trying to accelerate. Its tempting to add power, but its easy to forget to return power back to target

Article on Wings Field

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book – Centralia Mine Fire.

Spread Your Wings and Fly


The desire to fly is an idea handed down to us by our ancestors who, in their grueling travels across trackless lands in prehistoric times, looked enviously on the birds soaring freely through space, at full speed, above all obstacles, on the infinite highway of the air.” —Orville Wright 


Wings Field From Above

Mackenzie Cavanaugh
Wings Field in Montgomery County is one of the oldest privately owned airports in the country.

Click here for a larger version of this picture.

It was a November day in 1929, when Lewin Barringer was forced to make an emergency landing after the OX-5 engine of his Curtiss plane failed. He landed in the field of a farm just north of Norristown. At the time, flight was still fairly new; therefore, it was very common for pilots to make emergency landings, especially on fields. He refueled and continued northeast to Pitcairn Field. Halfway to his destination, Barringer spotted a field that would have been perfect for his landing and ideal for a future airport.

Eighty years after its opening, Wings Field in Blue Bell, Montgomery County is, according to its autobiography, “one of the oldest continually operating, privately-owned, public-use airports in the United States.” During the 1770’s; however, what we now know as Wings Field was owned by John Jones as a dairy farm. It wasn’t until May 23, 1930, almost a year after being “discovered” by Lewin Barringer, that the land became an airport. Barringer’s business associates and co-founders of the Wings Corporation of Philadelphia, Jack Bartow and John Story Smith, agreed that Wings was the perfect place for an airport because of its location, flat meadow, and surrounding buildings. Their current location at Central Airport along the Delaware River was too far from the Main Line community, therefore; John Story Smith purchased the Wings Field property, naming it “Wings Port.” Less than a year later; however, Smith sold the property to his company Wings Field Inc.

Philadelphia Aviation Country Club

The Philadelphia Aviation Country Club brought many of Philadelphia’s elite to Wings Field in days gone by.

After its inception, Wings Field became immensely popular due to the growing interest in flying and the popularity of Charles Lindbergh after his record breaking solo flight across the Atlantic. It was used as grounds for developing and testing new inventions, a flying school, and a home for the social center of aviation enthusiasts. On April 24, 1932, The Philadelphia Aviation Country Club was opened at Wings Field to serve as a place for pilots and flight enthusiasts to socialize, much like the country clubs for golfing. According to a 1933 Ambler Gazette excerpt “Wings Aviation to Elect Officers,” the PACC “is composed of air-minded members of socially prominent Philadelphia families.”

Originally when only the wealthy could fly, families such as the Wannamakers (department store magnates), the Strawbridges (also department store owners), the DuPonts (chemical products heirs) would frequent the PACC. From then on, Wings became a celebrity hot spot. Some of the many visitors have included Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus. According to a recent interview with Bob Mueller, a member of the WFPA Board of Directors, both Amelia Earhart and Pete Conrad, the third man on the moon, learned and practiced flying at Wings. Earhart was taught how to fly the PCA-2, a locally manufactured aircraft. Conrad would skip school to learn and practice flying at Wings.

Five years after the PACC opened, its members formed the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). The AOPA is the world’s largest civil aviation organization. The organization describes itself as a nonprofit organization that works “to keep aviation fun, safe, and affordable.” The creation of this organization drew even more aviation aficionados to Wings. The PACC and AOPA’s popularity made it possible for Wings Field to be home to many great inventions and developments in aviation, beginning with those of Wings Field co-owner Jack Bartow.

Bartow Light

Graham Crisp
A vintage Bartow Light outlined the runway without blinding the pilot. The bottle is meant to demonstrate the relative size of the Bartow Light.

Click here for a larger version of this picture.

According to the Wings Field Autobiography, Jack Bartow, one of the original owners of Wings Field, “invented, tested, and perfected runway lighting and the rotating beacon that have become fixtures at nearly all public airports.”Bartow created the Airways Beacon, the first navigation system to help pilots at night. His beacons were used during World War II to help pilots in bad weather conditions. He also invented the flood lighting for hangers and flashing beacons for runways. All of Bartow’s inventions were tested and first used at Wings Field.

In addition to Bartow’s help during the war, Butler Aviation Services, one of the largest suppliers of aircrafts, was relocated to Wings Field. In 1940, the Civil Aeronautics Authority was moved to Wings Field. Also during this time, Civil Pilot Training was being provided through Wings. Both the CAA and CPT were established to teach people how to fly in a war and, if needed, for rescues. Wings Field also housed the Civil Air Patrol and the AOPA’s Air Guard and Emergency Pilot Registry. All three organizations were established to help in emergency situations and rescue missions.

After the war, Wings Field was transformed from a mostly private airport to a corporate airport. As Bob Mueller said, Wings Field became the “Mecca of corporate aviation.” It was the home of corporate flying. World War II planes, such as the Beech D-18s, were converted and sold out of Wings. Former Wings Field Manager Tom Dougherty stated in the 2006 Wings Connections article “Flights that Save Lives,” “Wings’ central location in the suburbs north of Philadelphia has made it a magnet for people doing business. A large proportion of the aircraft based at the field today are owned by area business people who use their airplanes as a tool to provide better service for their customers.”

Along with the start of corporate flying, came the corporations and a new wave of invention. In 1945, James Riddle, A. Rufus Applegarth Jr., and Ernst Garfield founded the National Aeronautical Radio Corporation (Narco) at Wings. Their goal was to create radios for general aviation aircrafts and until recently their radios were used before being replaced by GPS. After Narco’s invention, Laird David formed the first radio repair shop at Wings. A. Rufus Applegarth Jr. eventually broke away from Narco to open Aradar Instrument and developed an instrument that told pilots their distance from the ground.

Wings Field Hangars

Mackenzie Cavanaugh
Hangars at Wings Field are homes to many private jets in the Philadelphia area

Click here for a larger version of this picture..

In 1946, the first Brantley helicopter, created by Newby Brantly flew at Wings. Wings continued to be a testing ground for Brantly’s helicopters and other developments in helicopters during the 1950’s. Also during this time, William Harcum and Gene Guther started TactAir Inc. at Wings. TactAir Inc. created a “tactile signal device” for controlling planes, and a “stick shaker” to warn pilots when their air speed was in the danger zone, a wing leveler, and a capability for rudder control.

On August 1, 1972, Henry McNeil, of McNeil Laboratories, and Richard Fox purchased Wings Field from John Story Smith’s family. McNeil and Fox’s company Pennsylvania Aviation Inc. operated Wings until Claneil Enterprises, a conglomerate owned by the McNeil family, was eventually put in charge. They maintained ownership until selling Wings to the WFPA.

On February 21, 1977, Wings Field began providing scheduled flights for business people to Philadelphia International Airport. Later that same year the first terminal was erected. Scheduled flights were eventually stopped in 1991 when Wings became a general aviation airport. Wings is one of 19000 airports in the United States and 5000 general aviation airports. Bob Mueller described general aviation airports as those that welcome small and corporate planes; medical, traffic, and weather helicopters; and agriculture helicopters, for crop dusting.

A year later, in August 1992, a group of locals founded a non-profit called Angel Flight East after the devastation of Hurricane Andrew. The organization is still around today. They provide “Compassion Flights” to the critically ill; carry blood, tissues, and organs to those in need; and provide relief during disasters. Immediately after September 11, 2001, they were granted permission to transport resume personnel and dogs and medical supplies. They did the same after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.

Starting in October 1996, the University of Pennsylvania Health System followed Angel Flight East and based their fleet, PennSTAR Flight, at Wings. PennSTAR began in the late 1980’s with five bases. Their crews are available twenty-four hours a day and 365 days a year, except in bad weather.

In the 1980s, local farms disappeared and neighborhoods moved in, generating new problems for Wings Field. Noise became a big issue and the neighbors challenged every update Wings attempted. It became a challenge for Wings to stay alive. According to the 2001 article “Wings Field wins state court fight” in The Times Herald, “Residents were outraged in March when the FAA announced that it had awarded the partnership $3.4 million in grant funds to extend the airfield’s runway and to perform a noise study.”

Wings Field and the Philadelphia Skyline

Mackenzie Cavanaugh
Philadelphia’s skyline beckons in the distance from Wings Field in Montgomery County.

Click here for a larger version of this picture.

Today, Wings Field or simply Wings (as the local and employees refer to it) is owned by the Wings Field Preservation Associates, LP (WFPA). The partnership, which began in 1995 and purchased Wings on October 30, 1998, is compromised of forty-five individuals, corporations, and concerned citizens. The purpose of the WFPA is to preserve the field while improving the 217 acres that composes Wings. They do not, however; actually operate the airport. The operation of Wings is controlled by a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) and regulated by the FAA and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Aviation.

The WFPA has recently been working with the community to help with the noise and other issues. Some future changes include a transient parking apron, new and updated hangers, and fixed zoning problems. The transient parking apron will provided a place for visiting airplanes to park. The current parking situation requires the plane to rev their engines in order to climb a hill. The new parking apron will not require that climb and will, therefore, reduce noise. After ten years of planning, it will be ready within the next year.

If Bob Mueller could tell his disgruntled neighbors one thing about Wings Field, he would say, “Don’t think of Wings as an airport.” This may seem a little strange, but he wants the people to understand that Wings is a transportation center similar to a gas station. Wings is home to 12 aviation related businesses and employees over 60 people. The Philadelphia Aviation Country Club is still housed on the Wings property, though today it operates only as a restaurant. Today, it is the largest tract of open space and the only working farm in the township of Whitpain. Despite some recent resistance from neighbors, Wings Field has remained an important part of aviation and Pennsylvania’s history. Lewin Barringer would be proud of life his ideal airport has built over the past 80 years.


  • “About Wings: Frequently Asked Questions.” Wings Field.com. Wings Field. 2007. <http://www.wingsfield.com/faq>.
  • Brooks, Melissa. “Wings of Compassion.” Times Herald, The (Norristown, PA) 23 August, 2009. <http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2009/08/23/faces/doc4a8f880 f6b8b7061226568.txt>.
  • “Famous Visitors at Wings Field.” Wings Connections. Wings Field: Fall 2004.3. <http://www.wingsfield.com/downloads/Wings%20Newsletter%202005%20Fall.pdf>.
  • “Flights that Save Lives.” Wings Connections. Wings Field: Fall 2006. 4. <http://www.wingsfield.com/downloads/Wings%20Newsletter%202006%20Fall.pdf>.
  • Gibbons, Margaret. “Wings Field wins state court fight.” Times Herald, The(Norristown, PA) 4 May, 2001, News.
  • “History and Mission of AOPA.” AOPA Online. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. <http://www.aopa.org/info/history.html>.
  • Mueller, Bob. Telephone Interview. 8 June 2010.
  • Spence, Charles. Wings Field Autobiography. Philadelphia: Pavilion, 2005.
  • “Wings Aviation to Elect Officers”. The Ambler Gazette. 16 Feb. 1933: 54.52.
  • “Quotes”. The Wright Bros. 2010. Web. 8 June 2010. <http://wrightbrothers.info/quotes>.

Easy Airplane

To fly an airplane today, you must be mentally sharp, be in impeccable heath – yeah no colds allowed!, have sharp reflexes and focus on flying throughout the time of the flight! And then it takes an hour to get to the airport, another half hour before you can take off, and when you get to some place far, there is no transportation to take you anywhere. This is ridiculous!

I have started collecting those things about a plane, the pilot and its environment must change so anyone who can drive a car can fly an airplane … thats right, 17 year olds to 90 year olds, fat or slim, fast or slow, sick or well.


Feature How it should work Why it sucks today
Automatic Flaps Slow down without flap or flaps must deploy automatically at low speeds Slowing down is complicated and dangerous
Simple Yoke Easier to climb – just pull yoke to climb, push the yoke to decent. A centered yoke MUST NOT produce a climb no matter what the power the setting!
Auto Trim NO TRIM. A centered yoke will never cause the plane to up or down! Its like the autopilot is always in altitude mode
Pressure-independant Altimeter Automatic pressure determination. No need to find AWOS or ASOS or any other bull shit!
Automatic CTAF selection
Power affects ONLY speed The power setting must only cause horizontal speed to change. Vertical rate must be controlled purely by yokE
Car like pedals Throttle and brake just like in car
Auto Coordination No rudder pedals
Stability Stable in BOTH pitch and roll
No Over bank Can never over bank
Auto Pull Up on Bank No altitude loss in bank!
Auto X-wind correction Automatic crosswind correction when tracking a route
Non icing wings Flight into known icing conditions, auto deicing and/or surfaces where icing cannot form
NEVER stall Never stall (but can increase speed to prevent stall), no matter what the load, what the bank, what the configuration
No left turning tendency
High cross wind capability: at least 35 knots.
Can Land in a CRAB.
Low stall speed: 30 knots any config, any bank
Very STOL – 150′ takeoff 300′ landing
Head-up displays Syntethic terrain on windows, not displays
Automatic Load Balancing Automatic load balancing (through announcements)
Automatic fuel management
Parachute system
Automatic / always-on transponders
Collision avoidance system
Automatic mixture control
Safe propellors. Located at back and close to fuselage. Protective grill. Resistant to bird hits. Auto shutdown on bird hit
Auto Best Glide on Engine Failure Automatic attitude adjustment to best glide on loss of engine power. Alarm sounds to pull parachute rip cord
No VOR No VOR bull shit. Just follow line on map and or boxes in the windscreen (virtual highway/augmented reality)
Dual Engines Dual redundant engines. Single throttle control
Easy Start just like a car. no fiddling with mixture. No flooding. No cold start procedure
No master switch (but ok to have to electrical breaker)
No avionics switch
Backup battery for avionics
No flare required to land!
Pitch attitude must be automatically up when landing
Easy Landing Landing procedure.

  1. Slow plane down by letting off gas. Use brake for rapid deceleration. Plane will slow down to minimum controllable speed without stalling
  2. Make sure you are heading the correct direction along runway (need not be aligned – since we have castoring wheels)
  3. push yoke down to descend, until wheels touch ground
Accurate fuel left and range and time
Accurate internal oil indicator and engine light
No headset required! Quite interiors
Smooth operating doors
Select stations by identifiers, not frequencies
No audio panel! Can talk on either com by touching the com icon
Automatic tune to nearest station. Smart selection of nearest or destination frequency.
Automatic redundant fuel pumps
Full authority digital engine control system
Automatic fuel tank management (still multiple fuel tanks for safety)
Good Ventilation during taxi
Good visibility including ability to see close-range runway in landing and takeoff attitudes
Self-powered parking and push back – no need to push plane ever!
Fuel tanks easily accessible. No need to climb wing like in high-wing Cessnas
Automatic transponder codes – ATC either uses mode-S code or can interactively assign code
gps call out “climb to 10000”
Price <; $100k