Changes To AIM, Advisory Circular Raised Concerns
This just in from the FAA: pilots
may continue to use their IFR-approved GPS units for instrument
approaches, at least for now.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association tells ANN on Friday,
the FAA began to close the lid to the Pandora's Box of questions
stemming from the agency's recent revision to policies that
instruct pilots on how to use GPS units when flying under
instrument flight rules.
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 on terminal and en
route area navigation (RNAV) operations (AC 90-100A), and an
associated list of compliant GPS units.
"The bottom line is pilots can continue using their IFR GPS
units like before," said Randy Kenagy, AOPA's senior director of
In a letter to AOPA on Friday, the FAA confirmed pilots' ability
to use appropriate GPS units (TSO-C129/129a) in lieu of an
automatic direction finder (ADF) or distance measuring equipment
(DME) -- 1930s and 1950s technology, respectively.
As ANN reported, a recent
change to the AIM had raised questions about pilots' authorization
to make the GPS substitution.
"This is an important step that ensures pilots' ability to use
IFR GPS," Kenagy said. "In addition to allowing them to use GPS in
lieu of ADF and DME, it lets them continue using T-routes."
T-routes, or Tango routes, 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 units in their aircraft," said
Kenagy. "It makes clear that the current operational approvals will
be in place for a long time to come.
"But the letter makes clear that as system evolves to RNAV and
required navigational performance (RNP), certain older units will
not be allowed to be used for RNAV standard instrument departure
and arrival routes (SIDs and STARs)," Kenagy cautioned. "AOPA will
work with the FAA to ensure that members are not penalized for not
having RNAV SID/STAR-capable equipment."