A Windy Problem

I’m in the process of designing a flight planning spreadsheet so that I don’t have to keep doing all the repetitive calculations by hand. One of the calculations involves working out the heading required to maintain the desired track in windy conditions, or in other words, how much you have to turn the aircraft to compensate for the drift caused by the wind. This is usually done using a “flight computer” such as the E-6B, known colloquially as a “whiz wheel”.

But what exactly does the wind side of the whiz-wheel do? How does it work? Before I could add the calculation of the wind-correction-angle and subsequent ground speed to my spreadsheet I first had to derive the solution to the Triangle of Velocities. I thought a page showing the solution here might be useful to the next person trying to solve the problem.

Posted in Rotorcraft.

Steven Hale leads the operation and development of the international Birmingham Solar Oscillations Network (BiSON), a global network of automated robotic solar telescope run by the University of Birmingham in the UK. His research interests are instrumentation and electronics, and high-resolution optical spectroscopy techniques. In his spare time he has many interests including photography and aviation, and has a private helicopter license rated on the Robinson R22 and R44 aircraft.

This is a private blog and in no way represents opinions or endorsements from the University of Birmingham.

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