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Backup GPS


Roadtorque
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Is it really that important to have a "backup" Gps with you? I was big on the idea and always told myself when I go to the GOM I would make a purchase (Garmin 495) but one day it hit me that the only thing I would be over is water. The map page would be all blue and no terrain to worry about. Do you really get that much use out of it? What percentage of GOM pilots would you say carry a backup gps of some kind?

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I don't fly in the GOM however, I can add a few things. A back up GPS may not be so bad. The chances of the one in the aircraft failing or pretty slim though.

 

Yes, the screen will be mostly blue. However, you can program a course to a platform and you will see yourself on the screen and the course line along with other info. So it wouldn't be useless out there.

 

JD

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waste of money unless you just want another GPS toy to carry around to different places and aircraft.

I'm so happy I learned to fly before there was GPS.... we used to do the craziest cross countries where we would fly without VOR (because in the mountains you can't get any signal anyways) It was called DEAD RECKONING!!! We only used the compass and that thing almost never fails!!

LOL

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For those of you flying in the gulf - are there other navaids available to you such as VOR's in the event of a GPS failure?

 

I wasn't sure how many VOR's there are down along the coast, and if you would commonly be within the reception range of them, or if the aircraft commonly have VOR receivers.

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I was told you couldn't carry a personal GPS flying the gulf. Well you can, it just has to be in your bag.

Who told you that? Of course you can carry a personal GPS, and it doesn't have to be in your bag. You just can't use aircraft power to run the GPS, and you can't attach it to the aircraft.

 

For those of you flying in the gulf - are there other navaids available to you such as VOR's in the event of a GPS failure?

I wasn't sure how many VOR's there are down along the coast, and if you would commonly be within the reception range of them, or if the aircraft commonly have VOR receivers.

If your aircraft is equipped with a VOR then it will work at whatever service volume the VOR is rated at. Unless one of the GOM companies decides to install a VOR on a platform (unrealistic at best) there are no VORs offshore to the best of my knowledge.

Edited by PhotoFlyer
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There are VOR transmitters along the coast, for use by fixed-wing drivers, but very few light helicopters are equipped with VOR receivers. You can carry a backup GPS, but not many do so, since the helicopters are equipped with them, and it's not that hard to navigate by dead reckoning. I used to do that before GPS came along. If you really need to get to the beach, just turn until your magnetic compass reads 'N', and you'll find land eventually. Back in the day, we learned to read the water, and I can still tell the wind direction, and the wind speed within a couple of knots. Knowing the wind, it's not that hard to set a correction and find a platform a hundred miles or so out, even with no electronic navigation devices. I used to regularly do it in 500/1 weather, using just a watch and the compass. GPS does take most of the stress out of it, though.

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There are VOR transmitters along the coast, for use by fixed-wing drivers, but very few light helicopters are equipped with VOR receivers. You can carry a backup GPS, but not many do so, since the helicopters are equipped with them, and it's not that hard to navigate by dead reckoning. I used to do that before GPS came along. If you really need to get to the beach, just turn until your magnetic compass reads 'N', and you'll find land eventually. Back in the day, we learned to read the water, and I can still tell the wind direction, and the wind speed within a couple of knots. Knowing the wind, it's not that hard to set a correction and find a platform a hundred miles or so out, even with no electronic navigation devices. I used to regularly do it in 500/1 weather, using just a watch and the compass. GPS does take most of the stress out of it, though.

Sounds like you got skills, my friend! I'd like to learn how to "read the water". I think it's a shame when skills like that are no longer taught, in light of technological advances. We all know that technology fails from time to time...

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A back-up GPS is a must have. When your GPS fails (and it will) you can seamlessly carry on

your your business with no stress. I really don't want the feeling of dread of getting low on fuel

because I screwed up my own navigation. I have a $100 Garmin Geko that gives me great piece

of mind and has come in damn handy. As far as reading the waves, it really can't be taught. I

guess it could, but it's kind of like learning to hover. It takes time and experience.

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Yes, learning to read the wind from the water is something that takes time and attention. The guvmint does publish some charts and pictures of what various wind speeds look like (Google 'beaufort scale') but it's not nearly detailed enough. Flying for a week at a time, every other week, far offshore with no navigation aids in the aircraft raises the incentive a lot. For me, GPS when VFR was just an aid. When IFR, of course, it's absolutely essential, but we're not talking IFR here.

 

Charts offshore are a help, and are required to be carried. The platforms are mostly marked on them, more or less, and the lease blocks are laid out, so if you see a platform you can identify you can easily find yourself on the chart and get a quick read on the bearing you need to take to your destination. If you can't identify the platform from a distance, you can fly over it and read the numbers on it so you know where you are. If you can't navigate by pilotage, you have no business flying around out there.

Edited by Gomer Pylot
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That's all well and good when you're over land...

 

 

Actualy, there are checkpoints that can be used over water. Shoreline features. If you can't see the shore, breakwaters, charted bouys, and most of all, other platforms can be used as well.

 

Some other pilots and even crew are suprised I check with my aviation chart on a regular basis since I have a GPS in the aircraft. Some even have 2 and we may be getting another one.

 

I always like to keep track of my route via a chart for several reasons. One, GPS can fail. Two, more likely and has happened, I will get diverted to another call enroute back to base. With 17 restricted airspaces in my service area I better have an idea of where I am on a chart and see if I need to get in one.

 

I did my flight training with out a GPS as they started coming along later on. The GPS is just another tool to reduce work load but not eliminate charts and flight planning. Something I found when I was a stage check CFI(now that most training helicopters had GPSs) was that students couldn't navigate well with out it. Some go lost. Most of this blame can be put on their CFI but also the student should take charge and learn how to fly with out one.

Edited by JDHelicopterPilot
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Hey JD

 

I agree about not relying on GPS. I've heard it said that if you can't fly without it, you probably shouldn't fly with it. A few of the aircraft that I trained in had GPS, most didn't. Some had VOR's, some ADF's, and the IFR trainers had HSI's. I was taught to navigate using several different types of navaids, but to also use a terminal/sectional.

 

I didn't think there would be many checkpoints or charted features (other than platforms) available to navigate by in the gulf. It sounds like there are more of these features available than I had imagined - I was picturing just mile after mile of water, and platforms being a long way apart. It still must be harder than navigating over land where there is usually no end of towers, railroads, highways, power lines, rivers, lakes, mountains, cities... you get the picture...

 

Does your GPS not show the restricted areas? Or are you saying that you follow along with your chart so that you don't bust into one in the event of a GPS failure?

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Why do think you shouldn't rely on GPS? It's incredibly reliabe and accurate. Sounds like someone

was flying around way below minimums. I don't know anyone in the GOM that doesn't carry a

personal GPS. Many use their own instead of the one in the helicopter.

 

OK, I'm confused - your earlier post said...

 

A back-up GPS is a must have. When your GPS fails (and it will) you can seamlessly carry on

your your business with no stress.

 

You asked why "people shouldn't rely on GPS"? Well, why do you carry a back-up GPS if it is "incredibly reliable"? Because things break, right?

 

I don't think relying on GPS is necessarily bad, so long as you have a back-up GPS - like you do. It's the people that rely on GPS and have no back-up GPS, no accessible chart (folded up under the seat doesn't count :rolleyes: ), and no other means of navigating, that concern me.

 

Obviously to not have a back-up navigation plan is a bad idea, be it a chart, dead reckoning, other navaids, or a back-up GPS.

 

I don't think that anyone would argue that GPS isn't relatively reliable and accurate, however that does not eliminate the need for a back-up navigation plan.

 

It seems that as GPS becomes more common, less emphasis is put on learning other forms of navigation. Soon "fly North" will be "fly towards the top of the screen"... :D

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Gps is becoming a crutch for driving cars as well. I have friends who put the GPS on just to drive to the store down the street from their house. I get a kick out of it but in the air I don't think it should be such a crutch. A back up plan is always a must. I'm sure a 2nd GPS would be a much easier back up plan, especially in the GOM I could imagine.

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When referring to "GPS reliability", I am referring to the whole system - satellites & receivers. Obviously, if any part of that system goes down, it's useless. I understand that receiver malfunctions are more common than satellite malfunctions.

 

I agree with Rotormandan, that GPS shouldn't be so much of a crutch. I can see though, that in the GOM, it makes life infinitely easier. I think in a flight training environment, that students would be better off flying without GPS and learning to fly by pilotage, dead reckoning and other NAVAIDS. There's plenty of time to learn about GPS later. If students don't learn other means of navigation early-on, they probably won't learn them.

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Since they're relatively cheap, it's not a bad idea, but I don't believe it's a requirement. If you can't navigate by pilotage offshore, what are you going to do when the GPS in the aircraft dies, and the backup has corroded batteries from being in the bottom of your bag for months?

 

I'll say it one more time, speaking from > 25 years of flying offshore:

 

If you can't navigate offshore using pilotage, you have no business being out there. Learn it, and learn it soon. Turn off the GPS and learn to find platforms without it. Or at least don't look at it until you have to while you're learning. It's a valuable skill, and one that will make you very happy to have it someday.

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Do you honestly think there are a bunch of pilots flying around without basic navigation skills offshore?

Or are you just trying to be insulting? The guy wants to know whether he should carry a spare

GPS (as every pilot I know in the GOM does). The answer is yes!!

Were you really routinely flying around with 500/1 VFR?

Edited by helonorth
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Staying on course with the OP....

 

Should you have a backup GPS offshore? YES.

 

I was going to post a long response to all of the posts, but thats for another topic.

 

I carry one and use it EVERYDAY. Its all about situational awareness. Fly with a chart only like in the "old" days and be one of the statistics from the "old" days. The GOM is safer now than it ever has been. Is that because the pilots are just better? No. Pilots that do not learn from the mistakes of others are doomed to repeat those mistakes. Training and technology are making it safer. It's still the same old crappy weather, same flying machines, and platforms.

 

So if you want to fly around muddling from platform to platform in terrible viz...go ahead.

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For some reason Gomer thinks it takes some magical skill to navigate out there with no GPS (which he assumes I don't possess). It's as basic as it gets. Where else to you have 4000+ landmarks that tell you EXACTY where you are? Give it a rest. A spare GPS just makes it so much easier.

Edited by helonorth
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To the question- "Is it really that important to have a "backup" Gps with you?"- No.

Would I carry one? I might get around to buying one someday, they're great tools.

 

You'll be shocked to hear that there are working professional pilots who regard a working GPS as go/no-go item, in a service area they've covered for years. I know one who sets up his personal unit in every aircraft he flies, including dual Garmin installations with a separate moving map.

I know another who couldn't find the US from South Pelto lease area.

Edited by Wally
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