IFR GPS Semantics Problem Resolved

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"The bottom line is pilots can continue using their IFR GPS units like before," according to Randy Kenagy, AOPA's senior director of strategic planning. Background: When the FAA revised policies that instruct pilots on how to use GPS units under instrument flight rules, AOPA saw in those changes reason to question IFR use for many GPS units. AOPA's aggressive action to defend against any potential (and apparently unintended) problem caused by a combination of changes to the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), an Advisory Circular on terminal and en route area navigation (RNAV) operations (AC 90-100A), and an associated list of compliant GPS units has borne fruit. The FAA has provided a letter that "makes clear that the current operational approvals will be in place for a long time to come," according to Kenagy. However, there is one caveat: "The letter makes clear that as [the] system evolves to RNAV and required navigational performance (RNP), certain older units will not be allowed to be used for RNAV standard instrument departure and arrival routes (SIDs and STARs)," Kenagy said. "AOPA will work with the FAA to ensure that members are not penalized for not having RNAV SID/STAR-capable equipment." Meanwhile, Honeywell said it is "actively involved in AC 90-100A with the FAA. Honeywell is confident that AOPA and the FAA will resolve their difference in interpretation of the navigation aid substitution section of AC 90-100A and that all currently certified Honeywell GPS/FMS systems will continue to have access to en route and terminal navigation procedures as they do today."