Avionics Report

January 1998 Issue

Simple GPS Ahead?

The FAA says yes, the box makers say maybe. (A little.) We suspect extensive training and practice will be required.

“I can’t figure this damned thing out, let’s just fly the VOR approach and be done with it.”

We don’t have any hard data on the subject, but judging by reader comments we’ve heard, this phrase has been uttered more than once by airplane owners checking themselves out on a new approach-approved GPS receiver.

For various reasons, during editorial trials and flight training with these devices, we’ve hurled our share of epithets as well. There’s little disagreement that IFR-certified GPS—the best the industry currently has to offer—are by degree enigmatic, hard to use, inconsistent from brand-to-brand and occasionally unpredictable.

Like personal computers, their mysteries yield to s...

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