Webinar To Address Ambiguity Of Using GPS On ‘Conventional’ Procedures


It might seem surprising that after all these years of tracking magenta lines, GPS navigation is still considered “cheating.” But there are many procedures where it remains unclear when using satellite navigation as a primary source is a no-no, and the distinction can be confusing.

The American Bonanza Society (ABS) is presenting an FAA FAAST-sponsored webinar on just that topic.

On May 11 8 p.m. EDT, “ABS—Using GPS With Conventional Procedures” will feature ABS instructor Bruce Williams addressing considerations for using GPS guidance as “supplemental information” when flying a “conventional procedure or route” such as executing an ILS or tracking a Victor airway. ABS says, “Most IFR pilots use GPS as a primary source of navigation or to substitute for DME or other navaids. Specific FAA guidance on such ‘mixed’ use, however, is often confusing or difficult to find.”

The program will include discussion on:

-FAA guidance on using GPS to enhance traditional navigation.

-Examples of GPS “best practices” for supplemental navigation.

-Techniques to help you use GPS and conventional navaids most effectively in all phases of flight.

ABS will explain at the beginning of the webinar how virtual attendees will be able to type in questions during the event. For more information and to register for this webinar, click here.

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. “The American Bonanza Association (ABS)…”

    You got the letters right, but not the word. It’s American Bonanza Society (ABS).

  2. Many pilots may not be aware of it, but the FAA’s guidance can hardly be described as ‘unclear’ or ‘confusing.’ AC 90-108 states very clearly: “For example, if equipped with a suitable RNAV system, a pilot may fly a procedure or route based on operational VOR using that RNAV system without monitoring the VOR.” That also applies to all forms of ground-based navaids.
    “RNAV systems using GPS input may be used as an alternate means of navigation without restriction”

    The only exceptions to this are if a procedure is NOTAMed ‘not authorized;’ or using RNAV for the final approach segment of an instrument approach, or on a LOC based course.

    • I agree. There are also at least 2 sub chapters in the AIM that cover this issue. I highly doubt any controller is going to give a pilot any grief for using a GPS receiver to navigate on a victor airway. You can always ask for a “heading direct”. Used to do that all the time when flying cargo in an airplane with only 2 VOR’s to nav with (class 1 navigation in air carrier speak).

      • Controllers don’t or can’t read the equipment codes on the flight plan. So even if I don’t have GPS, I always get assigned a direct course. They just assume everyone has it…

        • How true. My plane is /A (no GPS), so I file VOR to VOR. Yet sometimes when picking up a clearance on the ground my new plan will have a Tango route.

          As for “cleared direct” when airborne – I can almost hear the eye-roll over the radio when I tell them I’m not /G. However, I do have an iPad so I’ve said if they’re willing to give me a vector I’ll find the waypoint (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

    • Agree. I don’t know why there is ‘ambiguity’ on this topic, other than some occasional confusion about the appropriate use of GPS during a localizer, NDB, or VOR approach.