Safety Publications/Articles

Peep show

Sometimes students have trouble finding airports from a distance when on cross-country flights. Part of the problem is the surrounding terrain. From a distance, airports tend to blend into their background (day or night).

If your student could isolate a small piece of real estate and examine it without being distracted by the background or foreground, then he or she would have less difficulty finding airports and runways.

The challenge is finding a way to focus on a small piece of real estate while disregarding the peripheral geography. For many years I've used the following technique and have introduced it to my students, who've found it extremely useful.

Take your hand and make a small peephole about the width of a pencil with the pointer finger and thumb of your hand.

Close one eye and look through the peephole with the other. With this method, you're able to focus on a small area of geography while eliminating the distracting effect of surrounding terrain.

Move the peephole around in the general direction of the airport. If it's within eyesight, you'll eventually find it.

You don't want your students doing this for long stretches at a time, because it obviously hinders their ability to look for traffic. The last thing you want to see through your peephole is the pilot of another airplane heading straight for you while he's looking through his peephole. Not a peep would be heard from either of you again. So use a little common sense with this technique.

That's the hole story on finding an airport.

By Rod Machado

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