GA flying navigation help

Recently started to fly a lot more in GA aircraft, and I’m just wondering how pilots irl would set up flight plans, say for example I went to my local airfield and wanted to fly to some small grass strip in the middle of nowhere that I had seen on a map.

I know I can set it up in world map, but sometimes I like to just pick a starting location and go from there.

How do I go about finding the correct directions to get to said airfield? Would a pilot just use a map and compass and plan the flight path he wishes to take.

Is there any good resources online that show useful navigational data for small airfields.


Pilotage is the thing, also dead-reckoning.

Needs a nav map, flight computer probably, stopwatch, compass in the plane, paper, pencil.

I had a go at documenting this on my site…

Its great fun and you learn a lot.

Tips - always used a fixed AI weather, the real weather is not close enough to reality and your plan will be off, you can still do it but will need to compensate in-flight. You need to know the wind speed and direction at your desired altitude.


That looks like just the info I needed, thank you very much.

Do you know of any online resources that are free for VFR chart maps.


you could try

I got all my stuff from ebay, the chart is out of date but no matter. I find real charts much better to study than scrolling away on a PC


A lot of people in real life use ForeFlight these days. You can link it to MSFS but the subscription is very expensive (because it is meant for real world aviation).

A very decent alternative to ForeFlight for MSFS that’s free (albeit more limited) is Little NavMap. You can either link it as a real-time moving map, or you can just do your flight planning in it ahead of time and then print the plan and fly (it will download winds aloft data from NOAA, etc. and adjust your flight plan accordingly). I print to PDF and put it on my phone, then fly with reference to the PDF plan and my paper charts. I then use the aircraft trail in Little NavMap after landing to see how accurate I was.

Another great feature of Little NavMap is the fuel planning feature. You can download aircraft performance profiles for a lot of MSFS aircraft, and then your flight plan will also include fuel consumption.


Only on PC :wink:

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My IRL GA flying was before GPS. I would draw a line on the map from departure to destination then just fly it looking out the window. I lived in mountain country so a lot of the time I was following valleys, rivers, etc. I was never particularly concerned about flying a straight line.