My experience learning advanced navigation techniques

January, 12, 2021 by Maxim

Around three weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to enhance my experience in Infinite Flight by flying as realistically as possible. I was always striving for realism as I find it fun, but I never had the proper time (or motivation!) to go one step further and learn any of the advanced navigation techniques like navigating VORs, NDBs and flying various types of GPS approaches. I started with DeerCrusher’s tutorial about how to fly a DME arc. My motivation was to replicate a flight I flew in real-life the day before which utilised a DME arc for its approach. Below you can see my real-life flight utilising a DME arc and then my attempt at the same procedure in Infinite Flight; as you can see, it is pretty close!

Real-World

Courtesy of FlightRadar24

Infinite Flight

Courtesy of LiveFlight

After I learned this new technique (and realised it really is not as complicated as I expected), I challenged myself to fly all my departures and arrivals as realistically as possible. The way I approached this challenge was to select a flight, read the charts for my selected departure and arrival and try to replicate them. I knew that if I just started to learn all the advanced navigation techniques at once without applying them, I would lose motivation quickly and most probably forget what I learned.

As a result, I tried to perform a departure out of LCLK which involved intercepting a radial from a VOR. I never really attempted to fly using VORs (except for the occasional test), so the idea of intercepting a radial was very new to me. I re-watched the official Infinite Flight tutorial on how to navigate using VORs after which I was set to complete my departure realistically as possible. The tutorial is amazing and goes over not only how and what a VOR is, but how you can fly them in Infinite Flight which was particularly useful; I highly recommend to check it out even if it may seem rather overwhelming at first.

And just like that – I completed my first VOR departure. Similarly to the DME arc procedure, VOR navigation was not as complicated as I first expected. The best way I can describe the whole process of navigating using VORs is that it is pretty similar to flying an ILS approach, except instead of intercepting a localiser, you’re just intercepting a ‘heading’ (a radial) and that there is no glideslope to follow. A useful ‘tip’ I learned after practicing various VOR departures/arrivals, is that the LNAV in Infinite Flight will automatically intercept the radial if setup correctly which reduced my workload if performing a complex departure/arrival involving many VORs.

I then repeated the process of reading charts, learning about a specific navigation technique that was a part of the departure/arrival and moved on from there. The latest technique I learned was how to navigate using NDBs. I’m still very much new to this, and still learning, but this is an incredibly fun experience that I’ve never really tried before. It is far more satisfying completing a proper departure/arrival than just turning on LNAV 1,500 feet after departure. There are plenty of tutorials available created by fellow community members on the Infinite Flight forum about these navigation techniques, and I highly recommend those looking to get the most out of Infinite Flight to try and explore these navigation techniques to enhance their experience. It is seriously fun.

I also want to give a massive ‘thank you’ to everyone who helped me by answering my questions in the IFATC about these navigation techniques. We are a community filled with many knowledgeable members, and I appreciate everyone who has shared their knowledge with me.

Maxim is a contributor and IFATC Supervisor.