Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Google Earth: The Ultimate Preflight Tool
How to view 3D depictions of sectional charts with real-time weather and much more!
|Severe weather over Florida.|
Anyone who has flown long enough can appreciate how this type of scenario can happen. Flying in unfamiliar territory and into strange new airports can be quite a task, primarily because you’ve never seen the scenery before. Try finding some obscure grass strip down south—it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. Even with the fanciest GPS units guiding you, it can still be hard to identify certain things from the air. But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Now, before you even get in the airplane, you can use sectional chart overlays on Google Earth to show you exactly what to expect on a flight. Best of all, it’s free!
Download Google Earth at earth.google.com. (Because it’s frequently updated, be sure that you have the latest version.) Next, log on to www.wikihow.com/Overlay-Sectional-Aeronautical-Charts-in-Google-Earth. (Type this address exactly as it appears here; if you lowercase the “A” in “Aeronautical” or capitalize the “i” in “in,” the link won’t work.) Scroll down to “Sources and Citations,” and click on “Sectional data download.” Once the sectional data has downloaded, you should see a folder labeled “Aero Charts” under “Places” in the Google Earth sidebar.
|An uncontrolled airport near Crawford, Colo. Google Earth allows pilots to visualize terrain, buildings and weather, among other things, over sectional charts. Additionally, they can familiarize themselves with unfamiliar airports, checkpoints and destinations with this invaluable flight-planning tool. |
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