Where’s That Landmark?

I originally was going to go on a cross country flight on Sunday… but decided against it in favour of some practice instead.

I headed out the Claremont training area to practice some forced approaches. This area is better than the north (cooks bay/Keswick) because it has more fields to choose from (and it’s not close to Greenbank airport).

Everything was going dandy until I decided to head back to the airport. There are a set of train tracks that run right through Claremont and go through Markham. I normally follow the tracks back to Markham, pick up the Markham water tower , then head back to the airport.

Follow along on the map.

As I was following the tracks back I saw a town that I thought was Markham (Marker 1) and decided to turn towards it. After a while I consulted the map and discovered it was Stouffville so altered my course back towards Markham. I intercepted the tracks and started following them south west again.

I still couldn’t find the water tower so I decided to start circling (Marker 2) to see if I can find it. By this point I was at 2000′ to ensure that I was under Pearsons class C. The last thing I wanted to do was bust through into controlled airspace.

It only took me one revolution before I heard on the radio a plane call up Buttonville tower saying that they were over the Markham water tower. I spotted them about a mile and a half to my right and decided to follow them in (Marker 3). About 10 seconds later, I saw the water tower.

My problem wasn’t that I was lost… Technically I knew where I was. The problem was that I couldn’t’ find where one of the reporting points was in order to let Buttonville know where I was. If worst comes to worst I could have asked for a VDF steer.

How would you have handled this situation? Leave a comment.

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8 thoughts on “Where’s That Landmark?

  1. Tune in the nearest nav aid and use that to determine your position. Or if all else fails, own up and confess to ATC.

  2. yeah.. a df steer is a possibility..
    I knew where the airport was and I knew where I was I just didn’t know where my reporting point was.
    I guess I could have just said “7 miles west of the airport”? But then I’m sure tower would just say “report over someplace” and I woudln’t know how to get there.

  3. you don’t have to worry about that reporting point any more. The Markham Water Tower has been removed (as of Nov.16/2011)

  4. If not referring to GPS, I would tune a couple local VORs and quickly triangulate.

    how did you generate that map of your route?

  5. Yes, I was actually flying last week and was looking for the Markham Water tower and cannot locate it.. And I was confused and saying to myself “Where the —- is the water tower”!??) So, instead of reporting ‘over Markham water tower’ I just say “6.3 Miles East to the field” (I got a DME) :)

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