Do pilots still navigate?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by CharlieD3, Apr 11, 2021.

  1. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Emotional support fiber?
     
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  2. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    This certainly isn't the first time similar debates have come up, but I really don't know why it does. I don't recall seeing any threads on car sites berating fellow enthusiasts for going on a road trip with a GPS and relying on it yet it seems common amongst aviators.

    I agree; I don't carry a paper backup and I generally don't carry an electronic backup either, unless you count the phone I always carry but doesn't have any of the charts downloaded to it. I might be able to get enough downloaded to get me out of a bind if I had to but I'm not that concerned because I do enough preflight planning to know the general direction I need to go to get to my destination and know some of the major waypoints along the way. I'm confident I could get by for a long time on most of my trips without any electronic navigation device if the need arose. If someone wants to carry some paper as a backup they're more than welcome to, I don't care, but I view it as more junk floating around an airplane cabin that doesn't need to be there.

    What I haven't seen discussed here is that even if you had a 100% gps and electronics failure you probably still have a general idea where you are and the engine won't quit as a result of that failure. The airplane will still fly and odds are high that you can find some airport to land at (in the CONUS anyway) and regroup. Even if you're in IMC at the time you probably know where some better weather is at and you could head in that direction to figure things out.
     
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  3. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Whatever you say!
     
  4. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I got your /A beat. I did one or two instrument lessons in a /U plane. That sure made a believer in DME out of me. :D Now all three club planes are /G and that /U plane was sold a few year ago. But, back then...

    My wife has a sectional open in her lap when we fly across the state of Washington. Now and then I'll ask her where we are and she'll point to a spot on the chart that GPS couldn't beat. We've driven across the state too many times and she has no trouble figuring out where we are, even if I wake her from a nap.

    Last week we flew up to look at the few tulips that were blooming (and the many daffodils that were still in bloom) just south of BVS. While the plane is /G I still used the sectional to get CTAF frequencies for airports ahead of us so I didn't have to disturb the GPS. Call me old fashioned, but I still like paper.
     
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  5. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    The market Or the magazine?
     
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  6. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bro do you even lift
    Technically, that would have been Noonan's fault.
     
  7. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I did 90% of my instrument training in a /U cherokee I owned at the time. Then when I was almost done with training I went and bought a /A equipped bonanza so I finished up in that. Having DME felt like cheating. The same thing happened when I started flying /G equipped airplanes. I still flight planned and flew like I was flying my /A airplane for a while because it just felt too easy but once the ground based navaids started drying up I got over that and started flying direct like everyone else.
     
  8. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Of course pilots navigate. It comes right after aviating.
     
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  9. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    If an EMP takes out the GPS system, you probably have a lot more to worry about than busting a bravo... :yikes:

    Up until recently, I would print a piece of sectional and stash it behind a fuselage tube. But with tablet as primary and phone as secondary (Avare, no other navaids), the odds of losing both are slim enough that I generally don't bother any more, unless I'm deliberately navigating with paper just because. But in most directions from home, there is enough airspace that the reassurance of knowing exactly where is comforting. That's the problem... the highways and rivers that are easiest to follow usually go through all the airspace one doesn't want to take a noisy /X open cockpit biplane.
     
  10. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    But when do they communicate?
     
  11. Marshall Alexander

    Marshall Alexander Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I still like my paper sectionals. I even draw the line on them and follow along sort of with my finger as I follow the GPS guidance.
     
  12. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Whenever they're not doing other things, and then only if needed. We hope.
     
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  13. GaryM

    GaryM Line Up and Wait

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    24/7/365 on this board. Well over 100,000 posts!
     
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  14. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    please show me where I asked someone if they were with their Mom.
     
  15. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    It sounds as if you are implying that I insist on flying with a paper chart and DR. I am able to file slash golf with both my planes and use a minimum of three GPS receivers of varying descriptions every time I fly. I am not living in the dark ages as you imply. I just happen to pitch a few pieces of paper within reach that I fully expect that I will never need.
     
  16. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    However, looks like there was a misunderstanding due to Stephen editing his post from "18 hrs of age" to "18 yrs of age". If you read things prior to the edit, you're making fun of his typo. But after the edit, it looks like you are making fun of him not acting like a grown-up.
     
  17. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    It was early on.. but it sort of "set the tone"
    I don't totally care one way or the other. It's an odd thing to argue about. I used to carry paper charts but started feeling ridiculous carrying a 20 lb flight bag with flashlights, batteries, a hood.. all this stuff. All I carry now is headset, iPad, notepad and pen, and PLB (and ofcourse license and medical). I've been flying around this neck the woods for a few hundred hours so know it well. Maybe when I go to OSH this year I'll pack a paper chart and AFD as a super backup..
     
  18. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Okay, the Mom comment was because someone said they flew at the age of 18 HOURS. They obviously meant 18 YEARS, but I was making a joke about flying when 18 HOURS old. Would anyone be able to do anything at the age of 18 HOURS unless they were with their Mother?

    Good grief fellow! Read!
     
  19. timrb

    timrb Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What a bizarre comment.

    Tim
     
  20. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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  21. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I never carry paper sectionals.
    But after thinking over this thread for a while, there is still one scenario I keep paper around: approach plates.
    I primarily use my iPad/EFB for shooting approaches.
    But since it's the only mechanism I have, I also print out the approaches I'm planning and keep them on my kneeboard, just in case.
    It's a little bit of a different scenario: IMC vs VMC.
     
  22. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Pattern Altitude

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    I learned to fly pre-gps. I’ve done the water tower trick and even shot an NDB approach to circling mins during an emergency in a Lance.

    That being said, I no longer use paper. We take long 7+ state cross country trips regularly. The pain of having an entire box full of sectionals, low alt charts, approach plates, etc that have to be updated regularly simply doesn’t make sense for me.

    If my iPad dies (multiple on board charging available) and my iPhone dies (same) and my IFD550 and my IFD540 and my EX500 (all with charts) all somehow die, I’ll have ATC vector me to an airport. If they aren’t available then I’ll just consider it a very unlucky day and figure something out to get on the ground safely.

    No knock on those who do still use paper. To each their own.
     
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  23. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    I see things differently. If you're really in a bind and don't have an approach plate for some reason an ILS is fairly easy to do with a little help from a controller. Or get them to do a surveillance approach...
     
  24. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Yep. I often angered several FNGs when I could prove I was able to navigate visually for most of a certain Asian country.

    It got to be so much fun, I would even guess the MGRS grid for just about anywhere and be within a few km.

    Relying on map reference alone has gotten a few people either killed or in big trouble. "Navigating" is more than just following a map...
     
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  25. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    That kind of flying involved KNOWING the area you were flying in and knowing it well! There was an additional weather element that we don’t ordinarily deal with in civilian flying. The additional element is Pb (lead.)
     
  26. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Pattern Altitude

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    I use pilotage all the time in the work airplane, especially going back to the homedrome. Turn final for 16 over the bridge with the lights, follow 95 to get lined up for 34.

    I know there are plenty of youtube haters on this board, but this is a good video on the subject of getting back to pilotage, and a somewhat interesting mission using pilotage.

     
  27. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    If you have a phone, you can always use that as your approach plate backup. Then no guessing about which approaches you need to have printed out. My phone is surprisingly usable as an EFB and approach plate display. I have to squint a bit, though. If GPS system, panel COM, electrical system, EFB tablet, and phone all die at the same time, that's some pretty bad luck goin' on. I'll still have emergency COM. All those concurrent failures are pretty far down the probability chain.
     
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  28. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    I’ve never understood why electronics have to have multiple backups, but when navigating with paper charts no backup is required. I know I’m not the only person who’s had his paper charts depart the airplane in flight.
     
  29. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    I believe it is because paper has a fewer number of failure modes than electronics.
     
  30. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    How many failure modes of your waistband would it take before both belt and suspenders are required? (Along with maybe a piece of rope and some ratcheting straps.)
     
  31. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    at the rate my waistband is expanding, who knows........
     
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  32. Maxnr

    Maxnr Pre-takeoff checklist

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    At times, navigation can be a burden. I was flying a S-76 with a lavish panel. Departed a structure a ways out in the Gulf of Mexico a little after midnight under a full moon. My course was real close to 360. The big dipper was right there in front of me. Located Polaris and rocked back in the seat and enjoyed the next hour home.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  33. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    But "departing the aircraft" is a pretty significant failure mode... "complete loss of functionality" from a reliability engineering standpoint.

    Of course, you could drop your phone, too.
     
  34. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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  35. texasclouds

    texasclouds Cleared for Takeoff

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    Paper does make a nice windshield sunshade. Try that with your hippy dippy eye pad thingy.

    /thread.
     
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  36. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Yep. I have the phone on the yoke and pad in the lap and that’s usually where I go to refer to a plate. Occasionally though, my printed and laminated plates are easier to get at and read. I printed and laminated the plates I use commonly and had them laminated. No reason to throw them away.
     
  37. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    There are great YouTube videos, and there are horrid ones!
     
  38. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    I don’t think it’s about paper vs electronics, but rather pilots getting lazy.
    Back when airliners (or corporate) navigated across the country using VOR’s, the pilots had to be engaged in the process. They were always on top of their position simply because they were changing over VOR freqs and so forth.
    Hopefully we are all still engaged, thus my earlier post about having airports/VOR’s displayed in the MFD.
     
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  39. Johnbo

    Johnbo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have developed a familiarity with the compass and the intended direction of travel.
     
  40. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Pattern Altitude

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    Stef makes some great ones, IMHO. He was planning a RTW trip last year, but had to cancel for obvious reasons.