Saturday, 10 November 2012

How to complete Rod's VOR lesson

I've been working through Rod Machado's flying lessons, partly as a refresher but mainly to get to the commercial pilot and ATP lessons.

As anyone who has tried these lessons will attest, they are a mixed bag. Some are very simple to complete while others seem to end for no good reason, despite following all of Rod's instructions. Often the messages on the screen contradict Rod, and the whole thing becomes very frustrating.

The one I have found most frustrating so far such is Rod's VOR lesson, which had me calling the poor guy every name under the sun for several days.

I must have tried to complete this damn lesson over twenty times. Every time I would fly past the VOR and head north as instructed but Rod would fail to tell me to turn west for the next leg of the flight. After a few minutes I would hear the dreaded, "Since that's not going too well..." and have to start again.

I finally managed to complete the lesson last night, and this is how I did it.

The trick seems to be lining up on the VOR while Rod is giving you his initial spiel at the start of the lesson. Take a look at the map and see where the VOR is located, just north and between the two runways. While Rod's flying adjust your heading bug to about 030 and wait for the VOR to centre before setting the bug back to 360. Also verify your position visually so that you're located directly south of where the VOR is shown on the map. You should do all this as soon as the lesson starts and aim to be back on 360 or pretty close to it by the time you take control of the aircraft.

You can now fly the lesson normally. Ignore Rod and any on-screen instructions to turn left or right. Track directly north making small adjustments to keep the VOR centred. You'll know if you've done it right because as you pass over the VOR the needle will swing quickly to the right before the To From flag flips.

The needle will centre again then start to drift slowly off centre once more as you move away from the VOR. Keep making small adjustments to keep the needle centred until your DME shows about 3nm.

If you've done it right Rod will tell you to make a left turn, and the rest of the lesson should work correctly.

Take that, Rod.

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