Following a line feature

Member for

9 years 7 months

Posts: 4,993

I recently had a discussion with a friend who often flies from Stapleford, although he isn't a pilot himself. It was regarding the safety aspect of following a line feature, such as a road or railway. I always understood that it was the convention to always fly to one side. (left or right ?) To avoid someone coming the other way, doing the same thing. Common sense if nothing else, I would have thought ? I'm sure I read something to this effect, when I was an ATC cadet in distant past. (When we used to fly in Chipmunks at Marshalls.) Is there a definitive answer to this please ?
Original post
Profile picture for user Moggy C

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 16,831

Yes. Line feature to your left. From the ANO
Right-hand traffic rule 16 (1) Subject to paragraph (2), an aircraft which is flying within the United Kingdom with the surface in sight and following a road, railway, canal or coastline, or any other line of landmarks, shall keep them on its left. (2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to an aircraft flying within controlled airspace in accordance with instructions given by the appropriate air traffic control unit.
Moggy

Member for

8 years 7 months

Posts: 1,026

Or fly to the right of the line feature...:D

Member for

9 years 7 months

Posts: 4,993

Thanks for that. I was beginning to think I had imagined it. ;)

Member for

14 years 8 months

Posts: 585

I always thought that this was called navigation by "Bradshaw"

Member for

8 years 7 months

Posts: 1,026

No, Bradshawing was identifying where you were by the railway stations you passed over, while following the railway line feature. I believe most stations had their names painted on their roofs to help pilots. This gave a definite fix of where you were, as to where you thought you were...:)
Profile picture for user pistonrob

Member for

8 years 9 months

Posts: 865

i have the A5 going past a few miles and i have a good view of both road and air traffic. most of the civvi and military stuff goes the way the traffic goes, ie driving on the left. the american military stuff goes where it likes lol

Member for

16 years 2 months

Posts: 8,505

Ah good old IFR nav. IFR- I follow railways.

Member for

8 years 7 months

Posts: 1,026

Before I had finished my PPL course, I wanted to go to the College of Air Training auction at Hamble, after the College closed, as I wanted a Chippy prop for my Auster project. A friend of mine, Andy Watson, was a member of The Stevenage Flying Group and said he would fly me down to Hamble in the group's Thruxton Jackaroo. We arrived at Old Warden and readied the 'Roo for the trip, but, although there was blue skies, it was very hazy, so we waited for an improvement in the viz. Needless to say it didn't improve, so we rubbed out the original lines on the chart, to be replaced with ones that followed road and railway lines. In due course we were following the A34 south. Sitting in the back, I spotted a Chinook very low below us. Next time I looked, it was climbing rapidly towards our underside!:eek: I alerted Andy, who peeled off to the right to avoid the beast! Stirred and a little shaken, we turned left onto the A303 towards Popham, where we needed to top up the tank. As we approached the airfield, Andy asked me to pass him the Pooleys to check the airfield layout. As I turned round, I inadvertently knocked the throttle shut with my elbow...:rolleyes: It went very quiet, except for Andy, who was frantically checking the fuel tap was on and that the mag switches were still on. Needless to say, after I had got the Pooleys, I realised what I had done, so smoothly pushed the throttle open again...:) To this day Andy still reminds me of this incident. Anyway after filling up and setting off along possibly the A272, we realised we weren't going to get to Hamble in time, so Andy turned back towards to A303. As we were relaxing, a green Hunter, presumably from Farnborough, streaked across in from of us at the same height! I don't recall ever trying to follow line features again!

Member for

16 years 2 months

Posts: 8,505

I imagine it is a practice fraught with danger, but it has its uses and if all pilots conform to the rules for following line features it should be far safer than it is at present.