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GPS Direct w/o WAAS

Asked by: 620 views FAA Regulations, General Aviation, Instrument Rating

I found a couple of related questions in this forum, but could not find an answer to the following question. This is taken from the AIM:

Aircraft using un-augmented GPS (TSO-C129 or TSO-C196) navigation equipment under IFR must be equipped with alternate approved and operational means of navigation suitable for navigating the proposed route of flight.

Should I interpret that to mean that I cannot file and fly an airport-to-airport direct route using a non-WAAS GPS since I would not be able to navigate that same route using VOR (assuming there are no on field VORs at the airports or the distance between them does not provide navigation reception along the entire route).

I'm asking this question from a legality standpoint, not a best practices standpoint.

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2 Answers

  1. Best Answer

    John D Collins on Sep 09, 2017

    The supplemental means of Navigation restriction does not mean you may not file point to point direct. It means you may not file point to point direct without another means of navigation, in particular VOR. So your GPS fails or RAIM is unsatisfactory, fly to the nearest VOR or airway and continue your flight. There are also certain restrictions on planning (RAIM) and on the choice of a filed alternate you must comply with, IOW the alternate or the destination must have an approach that is not based solely on GPS.

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  2. Russ MacDonald on Oct 16, 2017

    What John wrote is correct, but you can request ‘direct’ to any point with any equipment and ask for own navigation. ATC will then check your equipment suffix, and if you do not have the proper equipment for own-navigation they can still issue a direct clearance as long as you will remain in radar contact. Technically, it will be a radar vector when they issue this clearance. Back in the VOR only navigation days, I used to go direct from one VOR to another when they were spaced over 300 miles apart (plains states USA), as long as I climbed to 10,000 feet to remain in radar contact. Then, when the ‘from’ VOR signal disappeared I would simply remain on the current heading until the ‘to’ VOR began to be received. If I strayed off-course a little, ATC would correct my heading. Today, IFR pilots request and legally receive direct routings using a non-IFR gps (even an ipad) as long as they correctly list their navigation suffix on their flight plan (it’s illegal to file /G without IFR GPS). ATC will see from your suffix that you do not have certified equipment for direct, but they verify that you will be in continuous radar contact and they don’t care how you get there, because technically you will be on a radar vector. On the other hand, it is illegal to file on a T-route without an IFR GPS, because the route could theoretically be out of radar contact.

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