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Useful Odds and Ends

This page contains a collection of useful information gathered from various sources. Corrections and additions will be much appreciated.


Please do not rely on anything provided here. All information provided as-is with NO WARRANTY AT ALL.


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Rules of Thumb

1 in 60 rule

An angle of 1 degree represents a deviation of approximately 1/60.

For example, if two planes fly a course 1 degree different, after 60 nm they should be roughly 1 nm apart.

This is a very useful rule because it works in so many different places. For example:

  • A nautical mile is about 6,000 ft. That means that every 100 ft AGL 1 nm from a runway threshold represents 1 degree of glidepath. To approach at a 3 glidepath, you need to be 300 ft above the runway elevation 1 nm back, 600 ft above 2 nm back, and so on.
  • To calculate distance to an NDB or VOR transmitter, turn perpendicular to your course and time how long it takes your bearing to the station to change by a fixed number of degrees. Divide the time by the number of degrees and multiply by 60 to get the time to the transmitter. For example, if it takes 5 minutes for the bearing to change by 10 degrees, then you are 5 / 10 * 60 or 30 minutes from the transmitter.
  • If you are 15 nm from your destination airport flying directly towards it and you want to arrive 2 nm to one side of it instead of directly overhead, alter your course left or right by 8 degrees -- 15 is 1/4 of 60, so multiply 2 nm * 4.


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Address: Cape Town Flying Club, P.O. Box 31, Cape Town International Airport, 7525