No GPS Instrument Checkride in 2021?

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by Mach Diamond, Jul 17, 2021.

  1. Mach Diamond

    Mach Diamond Filing Flight Plan

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    If you’re wondering if it’s still possible to train and get your instrument rating without a GPS equipped aircraft, this post is for you. I just passed my checkride this past week and I did it in an aircraft that has never had GPS installed. I imagine I’m not the only student pilot and/or owner who does not have IFR GPS in their aircraft that wants to be instrument rated in the 2020s. From my personal experience I can tell you it is definitely still possible where I fly. However, if you don’t already have DME, I would strongly encourage you to have it installed which is what I ended up doing a month before my checkride.

    In late August last year, after logging a few hours with a local instructor in his Cessna 152 to escape the pandemic, I flew commercially from Tampa to Omaha and purchased a well maintained 1973 Piper Cherokee. Flying her to her new home in Tampa was the first cross country I had ever logged and quadrupled the time in my logbook. It was an incredible experience! The instructor flying right seat had me work the radios and request flight following the entire trip down. Crossing the Mississippi river valley with a large blanket of low ceiling below, I heard a pilot in distress with low fuel not able to get down through the cloud layer. It was good reminder of the limitations of only being able to fly VFR.

    The avionics in my Cherokee are minimal and pretty much original except for the ADS-B skyBeakon. Even the clock is original and has to be wound up by hand.

    - COM/NAV 1 Terra TXN 920 with Tri-NAV indicator (includes glideslope)
    - COM/NAV 2 King KX170B with a KI-201C indicator
    - Transponder King KT76A
    - Audio Panel King KA134

    A week after purchasing her I soloed. A month later I had my PPL. The first thing I did was fly up to St. Louis and take my dad flying for his 80th birthday. He had always dreamed of learning to fly ever since watching Spitfires flying overhead during WWII. He passed that dream onto me. I also had other fun adventures flying to Texas, Virginia, a few trips up into the Smokey Mountains to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail, and a business trip to Huntsville, AL. Six months after purchasing her I had logged 200 hrs.

    So why not just install GPS you might ask? As long as I was flying VFR, I never considered it. I was perfectly content with my ipad running ForeFlight and my portable WAAS GPS Sentry ADS-B in receiver. Most avionics shops in the area are backed up six months. The cost of installing GPS is at least $10k, even with a used Garmin 430W. At this point in my flying career, I would rather spend that money on training and flying. $10K is enough gas money to cover 300 hours of flying in my Cherokee! I realize there are other expenses, but thinking in terms of hours of gas money keeps it simple.

    Issues flying IFR without DME (or GPS substitute)

    A big issue I faced flying IFR without DME (distance measuring equipment) was that most ILS/LOC/VOR approaches require DME. Without DME (or GPS as a substitute), training in my area was basically limited to two VOR approaches at Lakeland International and the ILS/LOC/VOR approaches into Sarasota International. Tampa Executive ILS/LOC was NOTAMed out the entire time I was learning to fly.

    The other issue I experienced was the limit I had on being able to train in actual IMC. Depending on wind direction and any NOTAMed out navaids, whenever we flew in actual IMC, we faced the prospect of having to land a considerable distance from Zephyrhills and either wait for weather to improve or take a long Uber back home.

    About a month before my checkride I decided it would be best to install DME. I purchased a used King KN 64 DME unit from an avionics shop that had been pulled one from an aircraft getting a GPS upgrade. They sold it to me with the tray for $100. A local A&P allowed me to do an owner assisted install. Between the A&P’s time helping me with the install/paperwork and other expenses such as a new DME antenna, wiring, etc., the total cost of the installation was an additional $200. So, for an all-in cost of $300 I basically quadrupled the number of approaches I could fly IFR. When flying in actual there were now plenty of options for landing at local fields with just a short Uber ride back to Zephyrhills.

    Once DME was installed, I was fortunate enough to get quite a few hours of actual IMC in my final month of training. On one of those training flights, my instructor had me fly the LOC 09 approach into Lakeland and go missed as published. We were holding at PLUMY on the 330 radial. I was just about to ask ATC for another practice approach into Lakeland when a distressed VFR pilot asked Tampa Approach for assistance. He was trying to land at Hidden Lake in a Cessna 152 and had inadvertently gone IMC and couldn’t see the ground. ATC immediately informed him his transponder was reporting 300 ft and that he should climb to avoid towers. It was a stressful 10 minutes flying the hold listening to the situation unfold. Eventually the pilot was able to exit IMC and land at Brooksville.

    A week later I got a chance to fly IMC again. We were flying the LOC 09 approach into Brooksville through moderate turbulence and what ATC called moderate precipitation. The ceilings were 400 feet and visibility 3/4 mile. It was a humbling experience for me. Just as we were breaking out at the MDA my instructor told me to go missed. I saw what an approach looks like at both limits. It’s not something I ever want to see again without an experienced pilot sitting next to me. I suggested we request a hold at the initial fix over the Gulf of Mexico and wait for the weather to improve. The initial fix was blue skies with the gulf and coastline basking in the morning sunlight below. It was hard to imagine that 11 miles away our runway was at minimums. It was a good lesson on how quickly weather can deteriorate when flying IMC. After holding for 10 minutes we flew the approach again and this time the minimums were well within my comfort level.

    Missinformation

    I’ve heard some people say that in today’s GPS environment it’s hard to get ATC to approve flying a VOR approach. I never experienced this. However, most of my training was limited to early morning or late evenings to avoid the thunder storms. Sometimes we would just fly the approaches at Sarasota until the tower closed at midnight. ATC was always accommodating. Only once was I vectored off an approach at Sarasota due to an airline coming in behind me. The tower simply vectored me around to rejoin the localizer behind arriving traffic. During all my time training, only once was ATC too busy to accommodate my request to practice an approach. They suggested I contact tower, which I did, and I was still able to practice the approach. Even if winds didn’t favor the only approach I could fly at that particular airport, I would typically be granted circle to land or they would simply break me off early. Doing my 250 NM cross country before I installed DME wasn’t an issue either. There are still plenty of airports in Florida with approaches that don’t require DME.

    The other thing I hear people say when they hear I don’t have GPS is the fact I can’t fly direct. I do not believe this is true. You can be approved to fly direct without being GNNS equipped in a radar environment (see 5-1-8c). In fact, most of the time when flying cross country on an IFR flight plan, ATC cleared me direct. I just had to request radar vectors and explain I had no GPS (they don’t always pick up on this detail).

    I also hear people say VORs and DME’s are going away. This is not true either. The number of VOR stations is being reduced, but the network is not going away. According to the FAA’s VOR MON (minimum operation network) policy, there will always be a network of VORs that can be used for navigation in the event of a GPS outage. VOR MON also assures at least one airport will be within 100 nautical miles with a conventional navaid approach.

    The Checkride

    Most DPEs in my area don’t seem to mind you not having GPS in your aircraft. I got the impression my DPE actually liked my old-school aircraft. Before I installed DME, I even had a DPE lined up near Sarasota who said it wouldn’t be an issue doing an IFR checkride with just two VORs and a glideslope.

    There was something interesting that happened on my checkride as a result of not having GPS. I was instructed to track the 330 radial out of Lakeland and hold at PLUMY as published. After going missed I intercepted the 330 radial. However, according to the approach plate on Foreflight, I was not on the 330 radial. I was off by at least a few degrees according to Foreflight. Was my VOR really that far out? It had only been 1 deg out at the last VOR check? I remembered this happening before at this particular hold. I explained to my DPE that I had a discrepancy, that my course was diverging from that depicted in Foreflight, but that I would fly the needles and use Foreflight for situational awareness only. While flying the hold I remembered the VFR pilot who had gone inadvertent IMC the last time I was flying this exact hold. I also remembered the VFR pilot over the Mississippi who was low on fuel and needed help getting down through the clouds. I was thankful that today was the day I was finally going to be instrument rated.

    During the post brief, the DPE told me that the hold is always off on Foreflight on that particular approach plate. A lot of applicants “fly the ipad” but I did the right thing by flying the needles. The DPE also said it was clear I always had complete control over every situation, always knew where I was, and had complete control over the aircraft. I attribute that to great instructors and all that time flying actual/simulated over a two-month period without autopilot.

    My final thoughts on flying IFR and taking a checkride without GPS:
    - Staying proficient trumps GPS. If you don’t have the cash to fly regularly and install GPS, consider DME instead and keep flying regularly.
    - Make sure you’re a pro at navigating solely with VORs. When flying IFR, Foreflight is for situational awareness only.
    - Try to get as much actual as you aircraft’s capabilities and local climate will safely allow.

    What’s next for me? Not sure. Once I save up again I’ll have to decide if I want to train further or install GPS. Although a nice new shiny Garmin GPS would be nice, if I have to choose, I would rather stay proficient and keep flying!
     
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  2. Jim K

    Jim K Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    The checkride is one thing, the real world is another.

    I definitely salute your resolve to get it done on the cheap, and you're probably a better pilot for it, at least as it involves actually navigating and knowing where you are. A gps makes everything easier, which obviously is why everything is moving that way. The plane i trained in has a non-waas GPS, and even with that it was hard to find alternates. It usually winds up being the nearest c or b with an ils (which are also being decommissioned). In the real world that's not THAT much of a limitation because in a light single you're usually not flying when the weather is that low.

    You'll also find that most of the small ga airports you actually want to go to only have GPS approaches. I personally wouldn't own an airplane without a waas GPS if i was planning to use it for travel. Adding the dme was a good move, especially for that little money. Once you get a waas GPS though, you'll wonder how you lived without it.
     
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  3. DogoPilot

    DogoPilot Pre-Flight

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    Agreed. While it's certainly possible to find a place to land that has more than just GPS approaches, I'd say about 75% of the airports I've flown to over the last two years don't have a non-GPS option. I'd end up 50 miles away from my intended destinations if I wanted to travel IFR without a GPS.

    I do think there is value in having that experience navigating without the GPS but I think the limitations will start to become apparent as you travel more.
     
  4. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    I flew IFR in the real world without RNAV until late 2017, and it worked fine. I rarely had longer routings, and didn't find the conventional approaches difficult.

    What's changed (and was already changing in 2017) is that a lot of the VORs and NDBs I used to use aren't there any more. Many smaller airports that used to have an NDB approach (common in Canada), for example, now have only RNAV. I don't dislike RNAV—my GTN 650 is great—but it was a forced move for me, not so much an improvement.
     
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  5. geezer

    geezer Line Up and Wait

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    Mach, Congratulations for the new skill that you have added. The improvement in your ability to get where you wish has jumped a long way, and clearly, you understand your personal limits, in the plane you are flying.

    The most important thing that I take away from your story, is that you committed to a set of limitations that you had reasoned out and found that they met your personal needs. You then became proficient in the tools that you had, and flew well.

    Private pilots flew millions of miles and hours with less capability than you had, and thought that they were state of the art, because that was what was available then. Yes, the VOR/ILS/ADF world is shrinking, but the FAA is committed to keeping the bare minimum, so the out of date aircraft still has reasonable options.

    It has been my experience with the many pilots that I have flown with, the ones who were proficient and confident in the installed equipment flew well, and those who depended on technology to overcome their personal limitations were unsafe.

    Your choice of instructors was either fortuitous, or well researched. They trained you well. I had such an instructor for my PPL, and again for the INST and COMM. The were quite a contrast to some that I flew with and quit. I like your DPE's comment about the errors in Foreflight. The actual definition of the location is the VOR radial. GPS just approximates it. GPS draws straight lines, and VOR radials are gentle curves, and the curve varies with altitude. This came home to my understanding in a big way when I started flying with a certified IFR LORAN, and watched the VOR needle slowly go off to the side, and the needle of the second VOR was off a similar amount at the changeover point.

    Keep plenty of gas in the tank, and there will be an airport with an approach for when the clouds go down at your planned destination.
     
  6. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    I wish that were true, because I would have saved the $$$ installing an RNAV GPS.

    Unfortunately, what the FAA and Transport Canada have committed to is having enough of a skeleton network of radio navaids to get you on the ground somewhere in a GPS outage emergency, not enough to get you to where you actually want to go. And even worse, they're not committing to maintaining the network for continuous reception altitudes below 10,000 ft, so it will be nearly useless for piston IFR in the northern half of the continent from mid fall to mid spring when the freezing level is usually at 10,000 or below.

    FWIW, I love the old stuff — I was practicing an NDB approach a few weeks ago (the last one within 45 minutes of Ottawa) — but it worked 10–20 years ago only because the navaids were there. Once they're gone, the avionics can't do much (my ADF can still home in on commercial AM broadcast towers, which is something).
     
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  7. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If ya wanna have some fun with your ADF, go down to Florida. Fly back and forth between Key West and Marathon on B 646
     
  8. sarangan

    sarangan Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I agree with your thinking. GPS might be becoming more prevalent, but you can still do a lot of IFR flying without it. Regarding flying direct, in a radar environment (which is nearly most of the country) you can always ask for vectors direct to a destination. You can even "suggest" a heading to ATC using a tablet or iPad. I have not seen any VOR stations disappear, but I have seen NDB's disappear. I have also seen ILS approaches disappear, to be replaced with RNAV. Regardless of what you have in the airplane, the examiner will most likely expect you to have a working knowledge of GPS approaches.
     
  9. tspear

    tspear En-Route

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    5k is the USA.

    Tim

    Sent from my HD1907 using Tapatalk
     
  10. Deelee

    Deelee Pattern Altitude

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    Congrats on your rating.

    Hope you are able to save up enough for a GPS. Maybe an autopilot, too. Really makes flying single-pilot hard IFR for extended periods of time more enjoyable. At least in my experience. Am I proficient enough to fly VOR-2-VOR and fly DME arcs, ILS/DME/VOR approaches, holds using a manually wound clock (yes, I have one too in the Arrow).... yeah I am. But do I like being able to get in to airports that don't have those types of approaches?... Do I like to reduce workload and improve SA by taking advantage of modern tech? Yes and yes.

    Probably will cause too much controversy to say I don't even have a vacuum system in the Arrow.... replaced by.....

    I know I know...... this is like not even being a pilot at all.....

    (glass)
     
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  11. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    I’m surprised that this subject even came up. The requirements for an instrument checkride are very clear and there is no requirement whatsoever for anything beyond instruments necessary for the listed approaches. A LOC/GS VOR will fill the bill although you would be very busy and it would be more difficult. Add a second VOR and you can get by. I expect that many DPE’s would even feel an extra bit of respect for someone pulling off a successful checkride in such a plane.

    Believe it or not, aircraft have been flown all over the place for a hundred years or so without GPS to include instrument flying most of that time. Charles Lindberg taught himself to fly in the clouds on instruments so rudimentary that it would make a DG and VOR look like an antiaircraft missile system by comparison.

    Big congratulations to the OP on the rating BTW.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2021
  12. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks for the post, Mach. I am also flying a non-GPS aircraft. GPS is wonderful, no argument there, but some of us are financially challenged :). Does that mean we can't fly IFR in the modern age? Absolutely not, as you have proven.
     
  13. geezer

    geezer Line Up and Wait

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    I am not anti GPS or technology. I bought the first handheld GPS that Garmin made, and still have it. I used it as backup in a plane with an IFR certified LORAN with full database, updated regularly. I also had a handheld VOR VHF transceiver, and a battery pack that could power both for over an hour.

    The plane had dual VOR's with ILS, flipflop frequencies for all frequencies, and marker beacon receiver. Altitude encoding transponder, ADF that worked, and I knew how to use.

    When Garmin had a good moving map GPS, we bought one with VOR and com included. Fortunately, since the LORAN system was still up, we kept the LORAN, and put it in the Last/Long mode, proper scan compared the Garmin and LORAN position. That proved to be important, as our early Garmin froze up, with no alarms, and had an unchanging position. Including the LORAN in the scan made that obvious long before you noticed the failure to advance if you were flying straight ahead. Pilots who did not use the LORAN in that manner had ATC call them for drifting off route.

    3 trips to the Garmin factory did not find any problem, and after the third, it seems to be OK. That is why I admire those who can continue to fly in instrument conditions when the GPS fails.

    When Mach has the money to buy a GPS, he will doubtless get a very good one, possible used and install it himself. In the mean time, he is not sitting at home wishing he had a modern panel, he is just limiting his choices of destination and weather to remain within his planes and his capabilities.

    As an instrument rated pilot who has only made one approach to 200 feet, ILS real weather, I am well aware that you must be skilled in what you have installed. My use of the rating was primarily to fly above puffies and layers, for a smooth ride. That took me out of the 5 miles viz and bases at 3000 feet, a dangerous place to be. Departure was in that, and arrival as well.

    I might add that I filed "direct" from airport to airport, and the controllers never asked how I was going to do that. The LORAN did great circle perfectly. It also did direct to any nav aid, or the center of any airport.

    I have flown very technologically advanced equipment, and had no problem when the tech took a dump.

    Mach will be equally at home if the technology he adds later takes a dump. Among the equipment that I operated and maintained was an IBM custom 360, and even big Blue went down from time to time, but it was on line continuously.
     
  14. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Gosh geezer, you must be as old as me. Did code that was run on a 360 in college ca. ‘71 - ‘75. First real job was assembler, interfacing peripherals on a DEC PDP11.
     
  15. geezer

    geezer Line Up and Wait

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    MBDiagMan I had a PPL when you were in college.

    The IBM 360 shipped with metal panels on each side, which were removed when the were bolted together. 5 bay unit had 8 of those panels from the interior. We had 2 planes, and used 6 of them under the wheels to prevent mudholes from developing. Pieces of rebar with one end bent driven through the bolt holes held them in place.

    I had 20 years in the company when I placed that in service with a pair of IBM men. Coincidentally, the club I was in was all IBM except me. Programing was not my thing, but finding which component or card had failed, and replacing them was. There were custom cards in that unit that the Tech's did not understand, I found the card that was failed, and they ordered a new one.

    Real time control of a fairly large power system is intensive calculating , and down time is impossible to tolerate. Most failures were isolated, and then the main functions continued.

    We also had an archaic analog system for backup of the most essential information so that mere humans could still run the system. I also maintained those mechanical marvels.

    Electrical failures have been the lifeblood of my career, and I have strong feeling for the possibility that anything electrical will fail, and you must be prepared for that eventuality.

    Flying, I have lost the alternator in instrument conditions, and the tube type radios were dead immediately. A radio caught fire, and I shut down the entire stack after announcing that I was landing at RDU. The repeated failure of the Garmin was the most insidious one, though, as it had no apparent defect, just continued to show a nice straight flight along the magenta line, but there was no actual motion.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2021
  16. Jack R.

    Jack R. Filing Flight Plan

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    I really appreciate the write up. I'd like to do the same thing, although IMC isn't much of a thing here in the desert southwest. Spending 5-figures on avionics and then doing the training isn't very appealing, neither is renting when you own a plane.
     
  17. Datadriver

    Datadriver Line Up and Wait

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    Congrats on your checkride, I'm building an aircraft and am skipping a certified GPS.
     
  18. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    Also worth remembering that too few of Lindberg's fellow airmail pilots from the 1920s died of old age, and even less so for those who tried crossing the Atlantic. He was an outlier

    The IFR ground infrastructure we had in place from the 1950s on — VOR and NDB airways and approaches, DME, ILS approaches at big airports — was perfectly safe and functional, and I would have been happy to keep using it if the FAA and Transport Canada hadn't decided to rip most of it up to save money. But comparisons to past are facetious if the same infrastructure doesn't exist any more.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
  19. thito01

    thito01 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Good for you. I got my IR well before GPS was even defined and have kept my ADF 'just for fun'. The only suggestion is that due to the loss of non-GPS approaches to many airports, always "over-fuel". Your alternate may be unavailable and you may have to go a longer distance to get to somewhere you can actually find an approach above minimums. And, don't be afraid of the big airports with multiple ILS approaches as an alternate to your alternate. (I once had to divert to Orlando International due missing at Orlando executive in my C-182.)

    Also, back when flying pre-IFR GPS, I used to request "Heading 312 until receiving MSL", when MSL was 3+ hours away. You can do the same today using your iPad to generate the initial heading.
     
  20. aterpster

    aterpster En-Route

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    It depends how much access you want. LPV is an invaluable improvement and many GA airports.
     
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  21. WDD

    WDD En-Route

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    I applaud and congratulate you on getting the IFR rating. M2C - as I plan on flying with a GPS nav computer like the GTN 650 in the future, my training now includes it as I wish to become as proficient using it as possible. My POV is that more and more airports have RNAV approaches, many only have them, and much less have and less will have VOR, etc. ILS seem to be only at the larger airports, and I don't think that list is expanding.

    If you are all good with VOR approaches, all power to you. My POV is that while "being proficient (with VOR) trumps GPS (having a GPS but not knowing how to use it)", my path is "being proficient with VOR and GPS trumps being good at VOR".

    To each his/her own. Sounds like you're happy and good at what you do. Again, cograts!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
  22. sarangan

    sarangan Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    While the DME/ILS etc were perfectly functional, they were limited to a handful of large airports. Most GA airports were lucky to get an NDB approach. Now every little airport has a GPS approach, many of them with LPV. They require no ground antennas, no miantenance or even power. Although I learned all my IFR stuff during the pre-GPS days, I am happy with the way things have progressed.
     
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  23. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    No complaints either — just pointing out that while there was a safe and functional IFR navigation infrastructure before RNAV, going back isn't a realistic option with so much of that infrastructure disappearing now. The fact that VOR, DME, NDB, and ILS were good enough in 2011 has no bearing on 2021 forward.
     
  24. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

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    PDP-11 - Nice.
     
  25. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    I don't think there is any argument here that GPS is the future, just that all of us may not be able to afford to spend $15k or more on installing new equipment then another $500/year for database updates. But, that doesn't mean we can't still fly IFR.
     
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  26. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    That's a good point (it's why I didn't upgrade until 2017), but your numbers are a bit high. The minimum cost of entry for IFR RNAV is about $10K (a new Garmin GPS 175 for $5K MSRP + maybe another $5K for installation), and about US $275–300/year (not sure of the conversion rate) for the basic required Garmin navigation database subscription.

    On the bright side, you don't also need to pay for a Garmin Pilot or ForeFlight EFB subscription if you're on a tight budget — the free FltPlan Go app will give you all of your charts and approach plates for the U.S. and Canada. I used to spend a few hundred $$$/year to subscribe to the paper copies that were required back then for IFR.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
  27. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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  28. coma24

    coma24 Line Up and Wait

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    coma24
    Great post and congrats! I resisted GPS for a very, very long time, largely because I kept running into IFR pilots whose primary form of enroute navigation entailed following the plane on a moving map while kinda sorta trying to remain on the purple line. As a result, I had preconceptions of how they were to be properly utilized. Once I realized GPS navigators provide a means to track an arbitrary course with automatic sequencing between legs, I came to appreciate them more and more. The combination of DTK, TRK and XTK is extremely powerful and I love it to pieces.

    You have a wonderful foundation having completed your training without GPS, however, if the time comes where you're ready to make the move, understand that it will take some time to properly utilize the units in an IFR environment.

    I'm not sure what sort of trips you plan on taking, but I'm curious if the "Slant ForeFlight" trick will always work when you're /A or /U in terms of off-airway enroute navigation. Thus far, I don't think I've heard of controllers pushing back on it, so I'm guessing it's a non-issue from a practical standpoint. The lost comms ramifications are a little sketch as for all intents and purposes you are going to have to fall back to a non-TSO'd navigation method...but let's be honest, the lost comms thing receives a disproportionate amount of attention and concern when you see how many instances actually occur.

    About the only thing I'd keep an eye on over time is how often you find yourself not being able to get into your intended destination due to the airport not having any non-RNAV approaches, or due to the WX being below the non-RNAV mins. If that happens often enough, then I think you have your answer.

    Lastly, thus far you've only mentioned WAAS GPS solutions....you could still install a non-WAAS GPS which can be had for a song in the used market. I assume you have your ADS-B out all squared away, so assuming you've got a WAAS position source feeding that solution, you could still install a Garmin 420 or Garmin 430 and be good to go for /G. Alternate planning has more constraints, but it does open up RNAV approaches to the LNAV minima.

    Congrats again, enjoy it!
     
  29. BrianNC

    BrianNC En-Route

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    I had a friend (and member here) pass his instrument with no GPS and only one radio a year or two ago. Also his CFII in the same plane if I remember correctly.
     
  30. nrimmer

    nrimmer Pre-Flight

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    Good work. I agree with what some others have said that you have a better IFR foundation learning without GPS. Without GPS you have to get comfortable flying in the soup without following the line on a screen - that is a good skill to have. I did the same for instrument training - installed a used DME to supplement the old dual nav/comms, no IFR GPS. Once I passed my check ride we gutted the panel for an overhaul and in the process installed a GNC 355. The DME came out and I started learning to fly with the GPS, which once you learn the box itself, is far simpler than flying needles. I probably wouldn't have flown VOR approaches during training had I had a GPS installed. Now that I have GPS I'll probably never fly a VOR approach again, but it was a great learning experience.
     
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  31. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

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    " . . . is far simpler than flying needles.

    Being a Luddite - correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it required that you fly the needle and not the moving map when flying a GPS approach.
     
  32. Jim K

    Jim K Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    You are absolutely correct. In fact following the magenta line on the screen instead of the needle has been blamed for fatal crashes.

    What makes gps so much easier is that the box gives you a "desired track" and a "current track". Get the needle centered, make those two match. No more chasing the needle and figuring out what wind correction you need, then chasing it again as the wind changes in your descent. Then there's the fact that the sensitivity doesn't change as you near the vor, there's no "cone of confusion", no "scalloping", no tune & identify, I'm sure I'm missing some.

    Add an electronic hsi and it's even easier. Gps steering driving the autopilot... coupled approaches... why am I here again?....oh right somebody has to flare this thing.
     
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  33. nrimmer

    nrimmer Pre-Flight

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    You are correct - I misspoke. My GPS is tied into G5s leaving the Nav indicator the only old school "needles", but realize a lot of GPS are not tied into glass and have their own needles.
     
  34. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think what you did is great from a training and certification perspective. Your big picture Situational Awareness and ability to visualize what is and will soon happen are undoubtedly favorably affected by this path.

    If you attempt to get out there and use this equipment for actual travel under IFR I agree with what some others have said -- the utility isn't quite there the way it once was. If the price/utility matrix works in your favor (and maybe you're only intending on occasional flying "in the system" anyway in this particular aircraft) maybe you can do this indefinitely. These days there are so many airports which are served by only RNAV approaches -- particularly smaller/less traveled destinations, which we tend to use a lot in GA -- that you may simply not be able to utilize them if the weather is less than VFR.

    My hat is off to you for training without GPS. I've done a couple of checkrides in aircraft equipped without an IFR GPS and I enjoyed it very much. It is nice to see applicants willing to put the work in to learn the fundamentals to a high level of demonstrated ability. It's easy enough to learn GPS later.
     
  35. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yeah. Being able to keep the ‘picture’ in your head instead of just looking at a picture on the whiz box is immensely valuable. I dunno about “....It's easy enough to learn GPS later...” though.
     
  36. PPC1052

    PPC1052 Final Approach

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    Interesting. Do you have any examples? Just curious how that happened. Thanks.
     
  37. Jim K

    Jim K Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    This is the one I was thinking of, I'm sure there have been others.
    https://www.maxtrescott.com/max_tre...ly-flown-ifr-approach-unneeded-fuel-stop.html
    Lots of other risk factors in this one, and of course we don't know for sure what he was looking at, but max is convinced he was looking at the screen because the flight path was offset from the actual approach.
     
  38. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    In a non-G1000 aircraft, I use both: The CDI tells me whether I am on course, and if the magenta line is vertical (with the display set to "track up"), that tells me that my heading is correct to remain on course. (With a G1000, the magenta diamond serves the latter purpose.)
     
  39. PPC1052

    PPC1052 Final Approach

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  40. David Megginson

    David Megginson Pattern Altitude

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    This one wasn't specifically from looking at the magenta line instead of the CDI, but it does show the risk of just trusting the magenta line.