Navigation references

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This page contain navigation references. It also try to explain why it is difficult to maintain a comprehensive and complete navigational database in FlightGear.

About

Disclaimer

A few words of warning ahead: This article (in the spirit of Wikis) is to be enhanced! It has been started by someone who has an at best crude understanding of navigation and absolutly no experience in writing Wiki-Articles. That said, he layed out a structure of which he thinks that it would help collecting the required information. Each of the following sections is incomplete and requires further information. Please add whatever you can, even if it's just a sigle line.

Purpose

This page should help to collect information on where and how to find references for Navigation. It is also meant to ellaborate a little bit on the why it is so difficult to maintain a comprehensive and complete navigational database in Flightgear.

In general, many different types of documents exist to help pilots navigate, both on ground at the airport and in air. There is a plenthora of regulations, formalized procedures and documentation, each of which might differ from country to country.

Since this is a simulation you are not obliged to heed nor read any of those. However, many people strive for a maximum amount of realism and hence challenge when they fly, so while you could just power up the engines, take off straight from the taxiway and land in an equally practically oriented manner, you might appreciate the complexity which you would be faced with in a real plane and fly accordingly.

Procedures

In reality, depending on the airport, you would be instructed either by ATC and/or written airport regulations. You would have to follow precise procedures for lighting, engine control and navigating to the runway.

On the runway, once allowed to, you take off according to your planes specifications and follow a certain path away from the airport.

From that point on, it depends on the class of Airspace what you can and will do. For strongly regulated airspaces, you follow the exact orders of the ATC, which in turn instructs you according to their own precise regulations and documents.

If you are flying VFR, you normally take over navigation yourself and fly whereever the regulations allow you to. If you are flying IFR, you will follow your flightplan. This very flightplan is it that is subject to many regulations.

Types of Documents

For every part of your flight there are certain regulations. In general, any ATC-given instruction by...

and again

automatically take precedence over whatever you have read, heard or want to do. For a more detailled overview on how in particular ATC interacts with pilots see the ATC Tutorial. So without any ATC anywhere on your way from your source gate to the destination gate, you would fly according to documents and regulations that you have read.

If there is ATC in place, they will hopefully and likely instruct you to operate, just like you would operate on your own. That means that they have read and act by the very same documents and regulations that you have read, but as opposed to you they have an overview over everything that is happening and might account for that, giving instructions on a per-case basis. In aviation, the ATC is the Executive of airspace while the according governmental insitutions, such as the FAA for the U.S. are the Legislative.

This page should document the Law itsself -- and in particular where to find it -- meaning the documents by which flying under either circumstances is governed. The cirumstances themselves can me manifold, depending on not just phase of flight but also on country, class of airspace and type of aircraft.

Availability

One could assume that the law of flying is readily available for everyone to read up and distribute, so that everyone knows it and flys according to it. Unfortunally, reality looks different. While there might have been a time when documents of this kind were freely available, this beneficial attitude has fell victim to today's capitalism and bureaucracy.

The law of flying is generally not openly available.

Quoting the Wikipedia article on DAFIF, a

complete and comprehensive database of up-to-date aeronautical data

was public domain until 2006, when copyright claims on particular pieces forced the according authorities to withdraw it. Since then, a convoluted forest of licensing has driven the data into far-spread corners of the internet and into the hands of commerical organisations and only a fraction, in particular all data owned by the FAA, has remained public domain.

Due to these sad circumstances it became virtually impossible to obtain the law of flying from a central comprehensive repository, not to mention providing the data as part of Flightgear.

However, the data widely remains free, yet not without license, so that this document shall collect a comprehensive list of free sources that can be used to plan and fly according to real world regulations.

The particular usage of each of the references is beyond the scope of this document but should, with a little research, be accessible. For instance, for how Approach plates are used, you can consult NAVFLTSM's documentation.

Apart from that, you can can consult the article on [Naviation] which is currently still marked as Stub and not useful but could be enhanced.

References

Note to Editors: Please provide, for each entry, at least the URL of the reference, what it provides, in which format or how it is provided and a description, the longer the merrier. Thank you.

Miscellaneous

URL Content Type
http://rfinder.asalink.net/free/ Flight Plan Generator Plain Text, human readable on the website

This page generates a flightplan of yet unknown quality. The service is the free version of an otherwise commerical service and is based, according to the page on a recent database of yet unknown origin. The en route waypoints appear to match real flightplans, SID and STAR are not clearly realistic. |}

URL Content Type
http://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/aviation/instrument_flying_handbook/ FAA Instrument Flying Handbook PDF Document - Individual chapters only
http://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/aviation/instrument_procedures_handbook/ FAA Instrument Flying Procedures PDF Document - Individual chapters and whole book

These two pages contain training material from the FAA. Browser further from those pages to find other useful material that teaches you how to fly and use the references provided here.

Approach Plates

United States

URL Content Type
http://aeronav.faa.gov/index.asp?xml=aeronav/applications/d_tpp Approach Plates PDF, vectorized
http://www.airnav.com/airports/ Approach Plates PDF, vectorized

The FAA provides its information as part of public domain. The above page is the entry point to their database of Terminal Procedures. You can obtain airport specific information per state and FAA- or ICAO-Airport identifier. Airnav is a nother provider which offers about the same service in a slightly more accessible manner.

SIDs and STARs

United States

URL Content Type
http://aeronav.faa.gov/index.asp?xml=aeronav/applications/d_tpp SIDs & STARs PDF, vectorized
http://www.airnav.com/airports/ SIDs & STARs PDF, vectorized

The FAA provides its information as part of public domain. The above page is the entry point to their database of Terminal Procedures. You can obtain airport specific information per state and FAA- or ICAO-Airport identifier. Airnav is a nother provider which offers about the same service in a slightly more accessible manner.

NavAids

United States

URL Content Type
http://www.airnav.com/navaids/ NavAid Specifications Plaintext

Navaids can be looked up by identifier on Airnav to obtain a complete datasheet of information about them.

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