October 3, 2008
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation is now providing Web links to both operation manuals and simulators for all major Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. The links are particularly helpful for renter-pilots who frequently encounter a variety of GPS equipment.
"GPS navigation has become a navigational standard," said Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. "Unfortunately, GPS receivers are anything but standardized. These links will help pilots understand operation of the units and directly improve safety of flight."
Manuals and downloadable simulators are available for GPS navigation units manufactured by Bendix/King, Garmin (simulators for Models 430 and 530 only), and UPS Aviation Technologies. The link to Lowrance offers all manuals and sample flights for both the AirMap 100 and AirMap 300. A manual only is available for Northstar GPS units.
"Too many pilots have the technology but not the techno-knowledge," said Landsberg, adding that the manuals, demonstrations, and simulators will help renter-pilots learn how to operate the many different models of GPS receivers they may encounter.
The Air Safety Foundation has long advocated standardization of basic GPS functions to help pilots avoid confusion. In 1996, ASF sponsored a series of meetings with government regulators, GPS manufacturers, and consumers in an attempt to define which GPS functions should be standardized.
Since 1997, ASF has presented live seminars on proper GPS operation to more than 30,000 pilots and flight instructors around the country. The current seminar, "GPS for VFR Operations," offers pointers and cautions on using the equipment and shows how it can lead pilots astray.
One humorous anecdote used in the seminar tells of a determined pilot headed for Cheyenne, Wyoming (CYS), who nearly ran out of gas blithely following GPS guidance toward CYT—which is in Yakataga, Alaska, nearly 2,000 miles away.
The ASF links to both manuals and simulators are available onlinee.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation was founded in 1950 to improve general aviation safety through research and pilot education. Today, it is the largest such organization in the world and yearly reaches more than 75,000 pilots.
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