VFR Navigation The Standard Closing Angle Technique

Richard Champion

avoiding airspace busts • Agenda – – – – – Background Advantages/Disadvantages How to use it Examples Summary . • Objective – By the end of this briefing.The Standard Closing Angle Technique • Aim – To learn how to get back on to your planned course during a cross country flight. you should be able to use the Standard Closing Angle technique to return to your planned course when your map reading indicates you have deviated. • Airmanship – Good navigation.

3 1. A table can be prepared:TAS 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 Miles / Minute 1. 2 x the number of miles off track .0 1.0 Basic SCA 60 51 45 40 36 33 30 Modified SCA 30 26 23 20 18 16 15 Background • Angles of more than 30° are undesirable.• The Standard Closing Angle is a heading change that will bring you back onto your planned course in the same number of minutes as you are miles off course.7 1. the Modified SCA is used and the new heading is flown for twice the time – i. • Mathematically.e.2 1.8 2. it is calculated by dividing 60 by the aircraft’s True Air Speed (TAS) expressed in nautical miles per minute. so for speeds of less than 120 kts.5 1.

. • Quick – Gets you back onto your planned track as soon as possible • No mental maths required – Leaves you free to fly the aircraft • It Works! – It is a proven technique. approved by examiners. not groundspeed). – Does not work for very large drift errors. so some purists object.Advantages/Disadvantages Advantages • Simple – all you need to remember is the modified SCA for your normal cruise TAS Disadvantages • Not perfect – The calculations are not 100% correct (because based on TAS.

Mark your actual position on your chart. 8. 3. 5. turn back onto original heading. Fly for 2 minutes for every mile off course. analyse the reasons for being off course: – – – – Forecast wind incorrect? Bad flying? Misaligned DI? Lucky horseshoe left next to compass? 7. double the angle and halve the time. Add or subtract the modified SCA to your heading: – – Add if you are turning right to regain course Subtract if turning left 4. If you are too close to your next turning point to allow 2 minutes per mile. When the time is up. 2. 6. Estimate or measure the number of miles off course.How do you use it 1. adjusted if necessary to take into account the reason for the original deviation. . During this time. Turn onto heading and note time (or start watch).

Turn back to 051° • Continue Flight . Time for leg 32mins • After 8 minutes:– Actual Position Lewis.Example 1 • TAS 90 Kts = SCA 20°. 2Nm off track • Turn on to new heading = 031° (=051° – 20°) • Time on new heading – 4 mins (ie 2Nm x 2) 350/20 • Actual position.Uckfield. Heading 051°. back on track • Consider reason for being off track – (DI misaligned with compass by 15°) • Realign DI.

• TAS 90 Kts = SCA 20°. Time for leg 32mins • After 16 minutes:– Actual Position Crowborough. 3 Nm off track Example 2 • Turn on to new heading = 071° (=051° + 20°) • Time on new heading – 6 mins (i.Bewl. back on track • Consider reason for being off track – (Wind not as forecast. Heading 051°. Adjust for lower drift (+5°) New heading 056° Continue Flight .e. 3 Nm x 2) • Actual position. less drift than expected) 350/20 • • • • Turn back to 051°.

Time for leg 32mins • After 24 minutes:– Actual Position 6 Nm off track Example 3 • Consider turn to 031° (=051°. • Double the angle.40°) • Fly for 6 minutes (ie 6nm x 1 min per mile) • Actual position– 2mins from Headcorn.• TAS 90 Kts = SCA 20°.20°) – But. time required on new heading – 12 mins (i. 6 Nm x 2) – Too close! Only 8 minutes left to run. 350/20 . halve the time.e. Heading 051°. • Turn on to 011° (=051° .

• Now memorise the (modified) SCA for the normal cruise TAS for your aeroplane. • Do your FREDA checks ! . – The advantages and disadvantages to the SCA technique. – How the SCA is used in flight to regain planned track.Summary • We have learned about:– What the Standard Closing Angle is – How it is calculated. – Using the modified SCA for TAS less than 120kts. It is all you need to know in order to fly an accurate cross country.