RNAV(GNSS) GPS Training Courses

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A great oportunity to update your skills - by joining our mentoring programme or renewing your IMC / IRR rating - and fly with expert members of PPL/IR (europe). You can learn with us how to fly GPS approachs at Gloucester, and Shoreham, with Blackpool and others available shortly. All include the necessary instructor sign off. Our key tips..

The Importance of Training
Before flying GPS-based approaches it is essential for all pilots to receive training. This includes flying practice RNAV procedures with an instructor. Trials by the CAA indicate three or four practice approaches are needed in order to become proficient. To fly the approaches in the UK you will need at least a current IMC rating – but you can revalidate an IMC/R by flying the RNAV procedures.
The equipment (permanently fitted and visible) in the aircraft must also be approved - requiring individual certification in the Flight Manual or Pilot’s Operating handbook - showing that it is approved for RNAV(GNSS) NPA operations. Further details are provided in the document CAP 773 (download from the CAA website).

Know your equipment

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It is essential that you are completely familiar with the GPS unit you will be using.

The most commonly fitted equipment is the Garmin 430/500W series - and fully approved in our aircraft.

A good start is to gain familiarity is by using one of the PC based simulators - available from the Garmin website.

Plan Carefully

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GPS approaches can look deceptively straightforward. However, there are many potential pitfalls!.
Extra thought and planning is needed - involving pre-flight checks of NOTAMS and NANUs (Notice Advisories to Navstar Users) that might affect the GPS signal. You must also confirm that the RAIM (Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring) function will be available throughout the planned RNAV approach.

Either use the RAIM prediction function built into the GPS, or access the information from the EUROCONTROL Auger website- at least 24hours before your intended flight. Before loading the approach into your GPS flight plan, check that it has the latest version of the navigation database installed and compare the waypoints, tracks and distances with those shown on the approach chart.

Flying the approach and R/T procedures
When inbound using a GPS activated flight plan, or ‘direct to’, you normally proceed to the most convenient Initial Approach Fix (IAF), but before reaching it you need to request clearance for the procedure from ATC. The GPS will show the distance to the IAF and then to the next waypoint in the approach sequence. This is an important difference from conventional DME based approaches. As each way point is passed the distance will revert back again – and initially this can be quite confusing.

To maintain situational awareness you need to know the name sequence and distances of each waypoint by reference to the printed plates (ie Aerad or Jeppeson). As you fly to within 2nm of the Final Approach Fix (FAF), the GPS should change to Approach Mode – (if not you must abandon it!) and the CDI sensitivity gradually changes from 1nm to 0.3nm at the FAF

Missed Approaches.
Initially in the UK at least - RNAV(GNSS) missed approach procedures will be based on conventional navaids, so you will need to remain current using an ADF or VOR for the foreseeable future.

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