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5 Answers

45 and 90 degrees ADF intercept.

Asked by: 5045 views ,
Commercial Pilot, Instrument Rating

ADF has been my biggest pet peeve as a pilot, there's nothing else that really bothers me than ADFs. I've tried asking a few other pilots, but it seems that it is not only me struggling with the topic.

I'm looking for general advice on ADFs, but with a better insight on angles intercept. Any help will be appreciated. 



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5 Answers

  1. Brian on Sep 11, 2012

    Superimpose the ADF needle onto your DG instead of using math to determine the radial you’re on. That’s the single best piece of advice I could give anyone.

    For help understanding the instrument I found words, which normally I learn well by text based sources, to be down right useless. Maybe that’s your issue as well. What worked for me was this:


    This online simulator allows you to see what the instruments show and what the aircraft is doing on a moving map. You can adjust speeds, make turns, and a whole variety of other parameters. Play around with that a bit, it helped me tremendously. I even went as far as to do an entire lesson with an instructor using this tool.

    Good luck!

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  2. L.Jones on Sep 11, 2012

    Just remember the ADF is the simplest of nav devices. It just points to the station. Advice above is key….don’t get bundled up in the math. Just superimpose it on your DG and go from there. Key is you can’t track direct to ADF with a crosswind by keeping te needle pointed up. You’ll end up flying an arc. Play with the sim. It will help.

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  3. Wes Beard on Sep 11, 2012

    There are three things that I think are key to understanding the ADF / RMI (aka bearing pointers). I use bearing pointers in the jets I fly regularly to maintain situation awareness and to backup the GPS moving map.

    #1: Superimpose the needle onto the heading indicator. To help you visualize this, keep the moveable type ADF compass card matched with your heading indicator. You can also use a slaved RMI or, in the case of a technically advanced aircraft like a G1000, bring up the RMI needles (bearing pointers) on the HSI.

    #2. The head (the side of the needle always pointed towards station…. or waypoint with a GPS) will always fall and the tail will always rise. You can practice this in Luis Monteiro to verify it.

    #3. The head of the ADF should always be falling (or tail always be rising) towards your intercept bearing TO or course FROM the station to ensure you will intercept that radial. For an example, you are southeast of the station and the head of the needle is reading 315° relative bearing you want to intercept the 300° bearing TO the station. On your current heading of NORTH (360°) the head will fall towards (from 315 towards 300) your selected bearing TO the station.

    If, by chance, you are in the same location in reference to the station… ADF showing 315° relative bearing and you decide to proceed inbound on a bearing TO the station of 360°. On your current heading of 360°, the ADF needle will fall away from your desired bearing TO (360° magnetic bearing) and you can quickly see that this heading will NOT intercept the desired bearing TO the station. In this situation, you must get the needle to start falling towards your desired bearing TO the station. The only choice is to turn the airplane to a heading below 300° and the head of the needle will start to fall back towards your selected bearing TO the station of 360°.

    Practice, practice and more practice in a good simulator like Luiz Monteiro, Microsoft Flight, etc… and everything should start to make more sense.

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  4. Daveee on Sep 12, 2012

    Thanks so much for the replies, I took some time this morning reading them and going over Luiz’s simulator. I believe L.JONES now was extremely accurate saying “the ADF is the simplest of nav devices.”

    Thanks again guys, safe flights.

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  5. Lucas on Sep 13, 2012

    Well this video is aimed at the written test questions but should also help you shed some light on the ADF.

    It shows you the super impose method discussed above:


    Cheers Lucas

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