Wind Star Calculator

Pilot's Flight Log
Pilot’s Flight Log with a Wind star

As a student pilot  I wrote this simple tool to demonstrate the concept of a ‘wind star’ – an aid for light aircraft pilots navigating by  ‘dead reckoning’, a basic skill in which all student pilots must become proficient.

A wind star comes in handy for practicing (or actual)  ‘diversions’ – when you have to deviate from a planned route (perhaps to avoid bad weather, have a fuel emergency etc.) It allows the pilot to quickly estimate the effects of wind on a desired heading, allowing heading corrections and estimated time of arrival (ETA) to a waypoint to be made.

Example

Conditions:

  • Wind Direction = 150°
  • wind speed = 25kts
  • True airspeed = 100kts

Case 1. You want to fly a track of 225° for 25nm:

Wind correction angle = -14°, groundspeed = 91 kts
Result: Fly a heading of 211° for 19 mins.

Case 2. You want to  fly a track of 315° for 25nm:

Wind correction angle = -4°, groundspeed = 124 kts.
Result: Fly a heading of 311° for 14 mins.