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Relief for IFR-certified GPS owners

Relief for IFR-certified GPS owners
FAA clarifies policy after AOPA points out problem

GPS receiver

Older IFR-certified GPS receivers (and many new ones) are OK to use as they were intended, thanks to a clarification of the rules sought by AOPA. A previous interpretation by the FAA had caused a panic among some 26,000 users.

The FAA has begun tying up a number of loose ends created when it revised policies that instruct pilots on how to use GPS receivers when flying under IFR. In a letter to the FAA, AOPA had drawn the agency's attention to the consequences of the combined changes to the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), an advisory circular (AC 90-100A) on terminal and en route area navigation (RNAV) operations, and an associated list of compliant GPS units.

"The bottom line is pilots can continue using their IFR GPS receivers like before," said Randy Kenagy, AOPA senior director of strategic planning.

In a June 1 letter to AOPA, the FAA confirmed that pilots can use appropriate GPS receivers (TSO-C129/129a) in lieu of ADF or DME. It also lets them continue using T routes, which allow properly equipped general aviation aircraft to safely transition through some of the busiest airspace in the nation and access some remote areas where no other ground-based navigation equipment exists.

"The FAA's letter provides some much-needed relief to pilots who've installed expensive GPS receivers in their aircraft," said Kenagy. "It makes it clear that the current operational approvals will be in place for a long time to come.

"But it also says that as system evolves to RNAV and required navigational performance (RNP), certain older receivers will not be allowed to be used for RNAV standard instrument departure and arrival routes (SIDs and STARs). AOPA will work with the FAA to ensure that members are not penalized for not having RNAV SID/STAR-capable equipment."

June 1, 2007

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