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FAA policy change restricts many IFR GPS receivers

FAA policy change restricts many IFR GPS receivers

GPS receiver

Those older IFR-certified GPS receivers (and some brand-new ones) that you've been relying on for years may now be unapproved for flying many instrument procedures, thanks to some recent FAA policy changes.

"This doesn't make any sense. In most cases, this is not a safety of flight issue," said Randy Kenagy, AOPA senior director of strategic planning. "Pilots affected will lose access to approaches and published routes unnecessarily."

The FAA has committed to work with AOPA to resolve the concerns over these policy changes. AOPA staff met with the FAA on May 24 and spoke with key officials again the following day. The association will continue pressing for a quick resolution.

The issue came about in March when the FAA updated avionics compliance tables in Advisory Circular 90-100A and made changes to the Aeronautical Information Manual. It means that up to 26,000 GPS users no longer comply with a 1998 FAA policy that allows GPS to be used in lieu of ADF or DME.

Only three GPS models — the Garmin 400-, 500-, and G1000-series — are legal, according to the FAA documents. Other models made by Garmin, including the new GNS 480 WAAS receiver, as well as receivers manufactured by Chelton, Honeywell, Northstar, and Trimble are listed as "noncompliant." See the avionics chart.

Many members have removed ADF and DME navigation equipment from their aircraft because of the 1996 policy, and they will no longer have access to conventional and precision approaches where the equipment is a required element. Complicating matters further, the older GPS boxes are prohibited from flying RNAV routes and terminal RNAV procedures.

AOPA has brought the matter to the FAA's attention. AOPA told the FAA that all IFR-certified systems should still be approved for use in lieu of ADF and DME and for flying T routes and certain departure procedures where pilots manually enter the waypoints. Except for major metropolitan airports, the use of older boxes should not be restricted.

Updated: May 25, 2007, 2:53 p.m. EDT

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