DIVERSION TO AN ALTERNATE

Diversion to an Alternate Lesson by wifiCFI


Objective

To determine that the applicant exhibits satisfactory knowledge, risk management, and skills associated with diversion.

Knowledge

The applicant demonstrates understanding of: 

Selecting an alternate destination.

Situations that require deviations from flight plan and/or ATC instructions.

Risk Management

The applicant demonstrates the ability to identify, assess and mitigate risks, encompassing: 

Collision hazards, to include aircraft, terrain, obstacles and wires.

Distractions, loss of situational awareness, and/or improper task management. 

Failure to make a timely decision to divert. 

Failure to select an appropriate airport. 

Failure to utilize all available resources (e.g., automation, ATC, and flight deck planning aids).

Flight Diversion (PHAK C16)

There may come a time when a pilot is not able to make it to the planned destination. 

This can be the result of unpredicted weather conditions, a system malfunction, or poor preflight planning. 

In any case, the pilot needs to be able to safely and efficiently divert to an alternate destination. 

Risk management procedures become a priority during any type of flight diversion and should be used the pilot.

Before any cross-country flight, check the charts for airports or suitable landing areas along or near the route of flight. 

Also, check for navigational aids that can be used during a diversion.

Computing course, time, speed, and distance information in flight requires the same computations used during preflight planning. 

However, because of the limited flight deck space and because attention must be divided between flying the aircraft, making calculations, and scanning for other aircraft, take advantage of all possible shortcuts and rule-of-thumb computations. 

When in flight, it is rarely practical to actually plot a course on a sectional chart and mark checkpoints and distances. 

Furthermore, because an alternate airport is usually not very far from your original course, actual plotting is seldom necessary.

The course to an alternate destination can be measured accurately with a protractor or plotter but can also be measured with reasonable accuracy using a straightedge and the compass rose depicted around VOR stations. 

This approximation can be made on the basis of a radial from a nearby VOR or an airway that closely parallels the course to your alternate destination. 

However, remember that the magnetic heading associated with a VOR radial or printed airway is outbound from the station. 

To find the course to the station, it may be necessary to determine the reciprocal of that heading.

Once established on course, note the time, and then use the winds aloft nearest to your diversion point to calculate a heading and groundspeed. 

Once a groundspeed has been calculated, determine a new arrival time and fuel consumption. 

Give priority to flying the aircraft while dividing attention between navigation and planning. 

When determining an altitude to use while diverting, consider: 

Cloud heights

Winds

Terrain

Radio reception

Private Pilot ACS Standards

The applicant demonstrates the ability to: 

Select a suitable airport and route for diversion. 

Make a reasonable estimate of heading, groundspeed, arrival time, and fuel consumption to the divert airport. 

Maintain the appropriate altitude, ±200 feet and heading, ±15°. 

Update/interpret weather in flight. 

Explain and use flight deck displays of digital weather and aeronautical information, as applicable.

Commercial Pilot ACS Standards

The applicant demonstrates the ability to: 

Select a suitable airport and route for diversion. 

Make a reasonable estimate of heading, groundspeed, arrival time, and fuel consumption to the divert airport. 

Maintain the appropriate altitude, ±100 feet and heading, ±10°. 

Update/interpret weather in flight. 

Explain and use flight deck displays of digital weather and aeronautical information, as applicable.

FAA Sources Used for This Lesson

Private Pilot Airmen Certification Standards

Commercial Pilot Airmen Certification Standards

Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (PHAK) Chapter 16

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