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filing an alternate airport question (almost got in a fight with my roommate about this)

Asked by: 794 views FAA Regulations, Instrument Rating

Hello. I'm an instrument student pilot out here in AZ. I fly out of KDVT. 50 miles out to the west, we have an uncontrolled airport E25 (Wickenburg) which is non-towered with no IAPs.

My question is:

I file an IFR flight plan into E25, then I must file an alternate,

Can I file KDVT as my alternate (KDVT only has RNAV approaches into R 7R and 25L)

I know that the regulation says either of your destination or your alternate can have GPS approaches but not BOTH

But what about in this case? We will obviously be flying VFR into E25. Can we not file GPS only approach into KDVT as our alternate?? Please help me come to an end on this unending debate!

Thank you!

Kyung In Kwon

1 Answers

  1. John D Collins on Jul 25, 2016

    First, there is no explicit regulation dealing with GPS as an alternate. However, guidance is provided in a few places, in the AFMS that is associated with the GPS installation and in the AIM. The Limitations Section of the AFMS is regulatory. The AIM is not. The only regulations that bear on the use of GPS as an alternate are 91.169 which requires an alternate anytime the destination does not have an instrument approach. The second regulation is 91.205 which requires navigation equipment suitable for the route being flown. If the GPS is a WAAS GPS, it meets 91.205 by itself. With a non WAAS GPS, other means must be available to satisfy 91.205 and this is usually a VOR receiver.

    With the current AIM policy, the guidance is that GPS may be used at either the destination or the alternate, but not both. Since it is not used for an approach at the destination, it may be used at the alternate, but it would be foolish to not also have an airport that met the criteria with a VOR or ILS approach at a nearby airport and within the fuel range for the flight. In the end, this is a fuel planning requirement/exercise and there is no restriction on diverting to another airport that is not your filed alternate if common sense makes it a better option. ATC doesn’t know your alternate in the first place, and will ask your intentions if you can’t descend from the MVA/MEA to your destination.

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