Saturday, October 27, 2007

Aviation Charts & Google Earth

One thing I find a little hard to do when making a cross country flight to a new airport is to spot the airport from a distance. Large airports are pretty easy. The small ones, with just a single runway, can be harder to see. They are easier to spot when you're up high, but you have to plan your descent to be at the right altitude when you get to the entry pattern for the field. That compounds the problem. Winter makes things a little easier as the dark runways pop out from the surrounding snowy landscape.

I've been using the top down satellite views available on Google Maps to get more familiar with the lay of the land. It helps to translate a chart view to the view of the area. An example is shown in the image below. The satellite image on the left has a green arrow showing the Blue Ash airport (KISZ). Compare that to the VFR chart view on the right where the Blue Ash airport is the red rectangle above the 100/50 numbers. (Click on the image to see a larger version) The satellite views help, but you never have that top down view when you're flying in.

Last week I ran across a site called Chart Geek. They provide aviation charts (sectional charts) that can be used in combination with Google Earth and the flying feature. It's a nice addition since you can get a view from the same perspective you'll have when flying in to a new airport. A neat idea. Here is a sample video from Chart Geek.

1 comment:

Erika said...

that is some interesting stuff!