Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Navigation in the air.

I regularly drive up and down the M3 and have recently noticed that frequently there are Chinook helicopters following the motorway. The most I have seen at once is 3, which is probably all that we have left in the country at present!

Whilst I can understand that a motorway is a very easy handrail to follow to your destination it seems very strange that in these days when GPS is in such common use, these aircraft do not to fly directly to their destination.

So what is going on? It may be that they are learning natural navigation techniques instead of reliance on electronics, but what ever is happening I hope they are not going to rely of following motorways when they get out to Afganistan or Iraq.

Does anyone know why they do this?


Anonymous said...

You are precisely correct. All helicopter pilots use roads to navigate whenever they can. That way they know exactly where they are on the ground and on the map at all times.

Clive said...

I just wonder what happens when you meet someone following the same road in the other direction!

On a couple of occasions I have been following a contour line in poor visibility when approaching a harbour and had another vessel appear dead ahead as they were following the same line out of the harbour. I have since learned to avoid the obvious depths like 5m or 10m.