Where are you in space, not only laterally, i.e., 12 miles southeast of ABC VOR, but in four dimensions? You need to work in present altitude (and rate of climb or descent), airspeed, heading/track and course intent, all as they related to your flight plan, which might include crossing or other altitude or speed restrictions. All of these factors are critical to understanding the nature of your present situation and what future actions you might need to take in the normal or adapted course of the flight.
Angle of Attack
What is your current energy state? Modern displays usually include a trend vector indicator that gives valuable information on where on the energy curve you currently reside. This is a critical part of situational awareness, especially as you get lower to the ground.
Where is the other traffic? How will it affect the safety of flight not only now but as you progress along your route of flight?
Where is the high terrain? How will it affect your future flight path? ForeFlight Mobile Pro features a cool profile view that shows you how your flight-planned route and altitudes relate to upcoming terrain. Lacking such technology, this is the kind of visual image you need to create in your own mind to manage your relationship to high terrain.
Fuel and Equipment
- That destination 2.4 hours away is imaginary if you have but two hours of fuel onboard. Fuel reserves (along with other consumables, such as oxygen or deicing fluid) plus constant systems monitoring are critical parts of the overall calculation.