Finding Legal Sites With Google
June 27, 2007 |
Section III Mastering The Sport | Chapter 17
also Airspace for Paramotor
These instructions show how
to overlay a sectional chart onto a Google Earth map. This allows you to
pinpoint your launch site with Google Earth then overlay the sectional
chart to see if the airspace is legal. The downloadable charts used for
this are out of date so you must verify the airspace with a current
sectional (www.Skyvector.com is
Thanks to Adam Bell for
suggesting this one from
wikiHowóit worked on my first try so it's probably fairly reliable.
Before you start, make sure
A reasonably high-speed
internet connection. If you can use Google Earth, your connection is
fast enough. Dial-up would require extreme patience.
The latest version of
Google Earth (4 or higher). From the help menu, select "Check for
Updates Online." Besides supporting these features, the new version of
Google earth also seems more stable with less memory leakage.
Use Google Earth to find your
launch site and put a "push-pin" on it. That'll let you see your site
when the chart covers up Google's aerial image. Then:
Open Google Earth and set
it up so your place names show up on the left side. Either menu select
View | Sidebar or press CTRL-ALT-B.
Download the sectional data
Open the download file.
Google Earth will automatically capture the download and, within a
minute or so you should see outlines of each sectional chart and
terminal area chart map appear as blue lines (see image above left).
You can zoom in to bring the map names into view.
Check the box next to the
map name listed under the Places menu to load that particular map. It
will load from the sectional data site (thanks to them for providing
this free service).
Terminal Area Charts and 3D
airspace are also available if you're zoomed in to within 500
milesócheck under the Places Menu. Like the rest of Google Earth, the
sectional overlays will become clearer as you zoom in.
3D airspace is not accurate
vertically meaning there is a lot of area under the B and C airspace
where you could launch from that the 3D illustration shows as consumed.
Use the chart to determine the floors. It's useful the way it is,
however, because it shows the outlines. So even if you're below the
floor of an overlying B airspace, it's nice to see where the boundary
outlines relate to your launch location for determining how how you can
Be careful, the sectionals
are old and cannot be relied upon for determining airspace legality. Use
a current chart to verify that the data hasn't changed as airspace
changes do get made periodically. Always check for temporary
flight restrictions (TFR's) before flying. These pop up with little