Foreword by the CFI


As a member of VACS please relax and do not feel that you have to learn or do anything.  You are not forced to have to conform to a certain standard of flying either.  This club’s main objective is to provide a venue where you can practice this wonderful hobby in anyway you feel comfortable.  Fun is the main essence at VACS.  If you happen to learn something and add value to yourself as a pilot, let it be so.

However, there are those who wish to learn and practice virtual flying “as real as it gets”.  This section is for those who are interested in Virtual Air Crew Licensing or are just desirous of pushing their skill limit that much closer to reality. The exercises and training documentation will challenge you and add purpose to your flying.  It cannot be fun whilst in the air, not knowing where you are and where you are going.

The curricula for VPPL and VCPL are available on the AVA website (www.ava.org.za).  Please consult these documents for the specific objectives dealt with in these training exercises.  The mark sheets for each curriculum will help you plan your flying training accordingly.  For now lets just stick to VPPL and keep all the exercises Visual Flight Rules (VFR).

Ok lets get started!

 Training Approach

The flight simulator package you have, no doubt, will consist of a training module which, if followed to the “T” will give you a pretty fair idea of what real world flying is about.  The only problem with this training is that it does not take you as close to reality as what can be achieved, namely navigation utilising real world maps/ charts.  The exercises which will be provided on the VACS website are meant for those who have mastered certain fundamental flying skills including VFR navigation.  The approach adopted will be that you, through own practice, or tutored in club context, will gain the following flying skills before embarking on the exercises given.

 Flying Skills Assumed to be Mastered

 You are capable of the following:

  • Flying a standard circuit. If you can fly a circuit you have mastered theory, taxing, takeoff, climbing and descending turns, straight and level flight, power management and the landing.
  • You can plot a Navigation Exercise (NAVEX) and manually generate a navigation plan integrating weather, fuel requirements and weight and balance data.



I suppose you just asked, so what! This brings me to the bigger picture.  AVA is pulling out all stops to introduce an Internationally recognised sporting code, so that Virtual Aviation can be equated in standard to other real world flying disciplines.  This is where you come in, a would-be sports flyer, competitor, air racer, call it what you like.  The ultimate aim is to promote Virtual Aviation as a Sport and Recreation in South Africa.  By doing the exercises you will become more than competent to enter any Air Race, Rally or Precision event.

 Club Activities

Most if not all formal club activities are there to provide opportunities to learn advanced flying skills.  Navigation and pilotage is one of the very basic requirements to fly an aircraft as seen above in the fundamentals, but to many m if not most flightsim pilots, these skills are advanced.  Unfortunately the age of technology has made pilots (even real-world)very lazy and everything about flight planning and navigation has some sort of computer involved in it, be it a GPS or even a PC Based programme to complete a navigation Plan. We at VACS try and keep this aspect of flying as close to basics as possible.

 What do I need?

  • The relevant maps (see the particular NAVEX), preferably 1:500 000. Many are available free of charge at the club. Only proviso, you must show some commitment by attending normal club activities. Otherwise you can purchase the maps at the Government Printer in Paul Kruger Street, Pretoria or at any flight shop.
  • A long ruler. For drawing long lines.
  • A 360º protractor. For measuring True Track on the map.
  • A flight Computer.  This instrument is either the conventional slide rule which costs a small fortune and takes ages to use, or MY ADVISE is the Aerosoft Flight Calculator at URL http://www.aerosoft.com/cgi-local/us/iboshop.cgi?showd,4521729820,DF02117 available for $14.54 (about R100). Magnificent little programme and really takes the hassle out of flight calculations, especially when working out drift angle.
  • A divider (sharp point).  For use when measuring distance and minute markers.
  • Stop watch. For timing your flight (important for DR – deduced reckoning).
  • Sharp pencil.
  • Nav Plan Forms (Available here).
  • Preferably FS2004.  Scenery is still awaited for FS.
  • The latest version of AEROWORX scenery for South Africa.  Available free at the club as well as assistance to get it installed correctly and running smoothly.

IF YOU HAVE COMPLIED WITH ALL THE ABOVE DOWNLOAD THE VFR NAVIGATION EXERCISES These will always consist of at least three waypoints.

Now the bad news!!! FS Navigator was nice when the scenery was “bad” but should now only be used to gather airport data (elevations, runways, runway length and coordinates). Do not try and use FS Navigator to nav by, you will get lost I promise you.  GPS is for pissies. VOR/NDB should only be used as reference. You may however utilise you autopilot, but should graduate to hands-on flying later.




INSTRUMENT FLYING – the crux of your Virtual Commercial Pilots License. I will be compiling a series of exercises to help you master advanced Instrument flying.  This will help you prepare for your VCPL. You will be master the following skills:

  • VOR Tracking. Confidence in airspace orientation is paramount to instrument flying. Learning how to intercept and track radials is will provide you with this skill.
  • Holding patterns and entry procedures.
  • Full precision Approach (ILS).
  • Non-precision Approach (VOR/NDB Approaches).
  • Procedure Turns.
  • SID’s/STAR’s