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GPS Tips and Tricks. Presented by Jim Pitman. Schedule. 9:15 GPS Basics 9:50 Andrew Eagleton – Phoenix PD 10:00 Short Break – Sign Wings Cards 10:10 Interactive Demos 10:40 Using GPS in the Real World 11:00 Closing Remarks - UBS.

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GPS Tips and Tricks

Presented byJim Pitman


  • 9:15 GPS Basics

  • 9:50 Andrew Eagleton – Phoenix PD

  • 10:00 Short Break – Sign Wings Cards

  • 10:10 Interactive Demos

  • 10:40 Using GPS in the Real World

  • 11:00 Closing Remarks - UBS


Develop a good understanding of how to use your particular GPS unit

Before learning the specific functions, there are several basic GPS concepts that are important to understand

After learning the basics, you can focus on the details that will be important to the type of flying you are doing


How it works
How It Works GPS unit

  • GPS is one type of area navigation (RNAV)

  • GPS uses time/speed calculations to determine distance from several satellites

  • Because the GPS unit knows precisely where it is and where it was, it is able to calculate where it is going to be

Terminology GPS unit

Accuracy GPS unit

SA = Selective Availability

The fancy stuff
The Fancy Stuff GPS unit

  • The internal database allows the GPS unit to perform basic calculations that provide a wealth of information and features, including:

    • Ground speed

    • Current and desired ground tracks

    • Time, speed, and distance to any waypoint

    • ETE, ETA

    • Nearest airport, NAV aid, intersection, SUA, ARTCC, FSS

    • Ability to create and store flight plans

    • And much more!

Limitations GPS unit

  • Not available everywhere

  • Not available all the time

  • Check GPS NOTAMS

Autosequencing GPS unit

  • TO-FROM navigation

  • TO-TO navigation

  • When you want autosequencing

  • When you don’t want autosequencing

Cdi sensitivity
CDI sensitivity GPS unit

Enroute = 5 NM

Terminal = 1 NM

Approach = 0.3 NM

Receiver autonomous integrity monitoring raim

There are generally two types of RAIM messages: GPS unit

Not enough satellites available to provide RAIM

A potential error that exceeds the limit for the current phase of flight

Perform RAIM predictions

Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (RAIM)

Baro aiding
Baro-Aiding GPS unit

  • Requires pilot to set the current altimeter setting in the GPS unit

  • Allows RAIM without as many satellites in view

Vfr gps vs ifr gps

  • Handheld units

  • Panel mounted units

  • IFR approaches are simply pre-loaded flight plans that are based on approved instrument approach procedures

  • Requirements for IFR use

10 minute break be sure to get your wings card
10 Minute Break GPS unitBe sure to get your Wings card GPS unit

Live gps demos
Live GPS Demos GPS unit

Inflight considerations

Flight Planning GPS unit

Navigating airspace

Situational Awareness


Inflight Considerations

Gps risk management

Find a good mentor who knows your GPS unit GPS unit

Practice on the ground

Use simulator software

Ground power unit at aircraft

When flying, don’t fixate on the GPS unit

Take an extra safety pilot to scan for traffic

Practice, practice, practice

GPS Risk Management


Know the basics GPS unit

Learn the unit you fly with

Practice makes perfect

Exercise good risk management

GPS resources are available online at:


Questions GPS unit