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Aerial Photography and Flight Planning


Elements of Photogrammetry with Applications in GIS. McGraw-Hill. The End! Please fill out a lesson evaluation I have Gleim Learn to Fly booklets here, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Aerial Photography and Flight Planning

Aerial Photography and Flight Planning
  • By Chris Peters

  • Identify some basic regulations for a flight
    under visual flight rules (VFR)
  • List required equipment
  • Analyze forecasted weather according to VFR
    weather minimums
  • Interpret aeronautical charts, including
    different types of airspace
  • Identify the difference between pilotage and dead
  • Create a final flight plan that will comply with
    VFR regulations, including the use of navigation
    systems as backup

What is VFR?
  • Flight is to take place using visual references
  • Must avoid clouds
  • Normally have a distinguishable horizon
  • Should have sight of the ground below, or in some
    cases, a cloud layer below as long as it will not
    cause spatial disorientation (vertigo)
  • Flight plan is NOT required

Required VFR Equipment
  • TOMATO FLAMES acronym
  • Tachometer
  • Oil pressure gauge
  • Manifold pressure gauge
  • Airspeed Indicator
  • Temperature gauge
  • Oil temperature gauge

Required VFR Equipment
  • Fuel level gauge
  • Landing gear position indicator
  • Altimeter
  • Magnetic heading indicator
  • Emergency locator transmitter (ELT)
  • Seat belts

Required VFR Equipment
VFR Weather
  • Visibility must be 3 miles or greater
  • Ceiling must be 1,000 feet or higher
  • Ceiling is defined by broken or overcast cloud
    layer (7/8 or 8/8 coverage)

VFR Weather
  • For photogrammetry purposes, clouds in the
    photographs are undesirable.
  • Can usually tell where clouds will form by
    obtaining the temperature and dew point for the
  • The difference between the two can be multiplied
    by 500 for an estimate of the altitude at which
    clouds will form (average lapse rate is two
    degrees per 1,000 feet).

VFR Weather
  • For example, if the temperature is 22 C and the
    dew point is 18 C
  • 22 C - 18 C 4
  • 4 x 500 FT 2,000 FT
  • Clouds on this day would form at 2,000 feet. This
    would probably not be a good day for aerial
    photography as your options would be very
  • Look for days with a high temperature - dew point

  • Class B Airspace solid blue line busy
    airports (Miami International Airport, Tampa
    International Airport, Orlando International
  • Class C Airspace solid magenta line less busy
    airports still serviced by major airlines
    (Jacksonville International Airport, Daytona
    Beach International Airport)
  • Class D Airspace dotted blue line small
    airports with control towers (Gainesville
    Regional Airport)
  • Class E Airspace controlled airspace sandwiched
    between all of these below 18,000 feet
  • Class G Airspace uncontrolled airports

General Information
  • Minimum altitude over sparsely populated area
    500 feet above ground level
  • Minimum altitude over densely populated area
    1,000 feet above ground level
  • Use your best judgment regarding sparse vs. dense
  • Maximum altitude in Class E airspace 18,000 feet
    mean sea level (MSL)

General Information
  • Above 18,000 feet is Class A airspace and
    requires special procedures (instrument flight
    rules and flight plan no VFR)
  • Conservation areas request airplanes to stay at
    least 2,000 feet above ground level
  • Be aware of prohibited, restricted, warning, and
    military operations areas, as noted on the
    sectional chart

General Information
  • Minimum airspeed in basic single engine airplane
    60 knots
  • Minimum airspeed in light twin engine airplane
    88 knots
  • Cruise airspeed in basic single engine airplane
    120 knots
  • Cruise airspeed in light twin engine airplane
    152 knots

General Information
  • Flying at a slower speed will allow for a better
    turning radius
  • Flying too slow becomes very inefficient with
    regards to fuel
  • Best speed is one where lift and drag are equal,
    making it most efficient
  • Typically, you can plan for there to be about
    four hours worth of fuel on board

General Information
  • Crab wind coming from the South will require an
    airplane flying East to use a crab angle into the
    wind in order to fly due East.
  • For example, the crab angle may be determined to
    be 3 degrees, and the airplane will need to fly a
    heading of 93 in order to achieve a course along
    90 East.
  • This will affect the camera on board the
    aircraft. The crab angle will need to be
    compensated for in order to photograph along
    straight lines on the ground

General Information
  • Aircraft modifications extensive modifications
    to the aircraft will require an FAA certificated
    Airframe Powerplant mechanic to record new
    weight balance data
  • Simple equipment brought on board for use during
    flight needs to be accounted for by the pilot
    when he or she computes weight balance numbers
    for the flight

Aircraft Avoidance
  • Because flying height should be constant for
    photogrammetry purposes, this may cause a problem
    with normal VFR altitudes related to direction of
  • A simple way to remember what altitude you should
    be flying at based on your direction is the
    acronym, ONE. Odd North East. If you are flying
    in a general north or east direction (course
    between North 0 or 360 and 179), you should be
    at odd thousand feet intervals plus 500 feet for
    VFR (3,500 feet, 5,500 feet, 7,500 feet).

Aircraft Avoidance
  • Traffic could potentially be traveling in the
    opposite direction at your altitude if you are
    heading west when flying at 3,500 feet.
  • Yield to the right, and the airplane to your
    right has the right of way (correct your path so
    as to pass behind the other airplane)

Creating the Flight Plan
  • Navigate to http//
  • Pick an area you will be taking aerial photos of.
  • Start out from an airport within this area or
    near it (i.e., type KGNV, the airport
    identifier code for Gainesville Regional Airport,
    into the Location Lookup box
  • Zoom all the way in for greatest detail

Creating the Flight Plan
  • Determine the flight lines you will fly in order
    to cover the entire area
  • To set points and create the flight lines, right
    click a spot on the map and select the GPS point
  • Determine crab angle based on wind relative to
    flight path and plan to adjust camera accordingly

Creating the Flight Plan
Creating the Flight Plan
  • Because this particular flight plan would involve
    flying back and forth through Gainesvilles
    airspace, you would want to let the tower know
    your intentions so the controller can help keep
    other aircraft separated from you
  • You would also want to monitor the tower
    frequency at all times

Creating the Flight Plan
  • Pilotage flying according to visual references
    (landmarks clearly visible on the ground)
  • Dead Reckoning estimating ones location based
    on ground speed and elapsed time between
  • Navigation backup since most airplanes are now
    equipped with some form of GPS, if one gets
    lost, he or she can simply press the NRST
    button on the GPS equipment and find the nearest
    airport (or other navigational aid) and land the

  • Code of Federal Regulations Title 14 Volume 2
    Chapter I Parts 61, 71, and 91
  • http//
  • Wolf, Paul R. and B. Dewitt, 2000. Elements of
    Photogrammetry with Applications in GIS.

The End!
  • Please fill out a lesson evaluation
  • I have Gleim Learn to Fly booklets here, which
    I think are a great introduction to flying. As
    Gleim says, If you can drive a car, you can fly
    an airplane. Please take a copy or send me an
    e-mail if you would like one.
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