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

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GPS Tips and Tricks

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GPS Tips and Tricks

Presented byJim Pitman


  • 9:15GPS Basics

  • 9:50Andrew Eagleton – Phoenix PD

  • 10:00Short Break – Sign Wings Cards

  • 10:10Interactive Demos

  • 10:40Using GPS in the Real World

  • 11:00Closing 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

  • 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



SA = Selective Availability

The Fancy Stuff

  • 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!


  • Not available everywhere

  • Not available all the time

  • Check GPS NOTAMS

Distance Information


  • TO-FROM navigation

  • TO-TO navigation

  • When you want autosequencing

  • When you don’t want autosequencing

Degrees vs. Distance

CDI sensitivity

Enroute = 5 NM

Terminal = 1 NM

Approach = 0.3 NM

There are generally two types of RAIM messages:

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)


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

  • Allows RAIM without as many satellites in view


  • 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

Phoenix Police Air Support Unit

10 Minute BreakBe sure to get your Wings card

Live GPS Demos

Flight Planning

Navigating airspace

Situational Awareness


Inflight Considerations

Find a good mentor who knows your 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

Learn the unit you fly with

Practice makes perfect

Exercise good risk management

GPS resources are available online at:






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