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I am new to the helicoper world and i have a question about navigation. I realize that maps are still used but how does a GPS unit work when you are flying? Do you just fly to where it shows like the ones that are in a car or is it more complicated than that? Thanks for your help.

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You fly to where it points, but it's more complicated than that. Most aviation GPS units have a database of airports, cities, etc, but in a helicopter you often have to put in your own coordinates, so you need to know the lat/lon of your destination. You can get that in various ways. The GPS may or may not have a terrain database, which shows obstacles and terrain elevation. It may or may not show weather data overlaid. Different units display the navigation information in different ways, and most can display it in several ways, depending on what you want to see. If you want to learn more, you can download the manual for most units from the manufacturer's website. Garmin, Magellan, and others have them freely available, and there are also software and DVD versions of training materials available. You can get Garmin simulators for free, and see pretty much what you will see on the GPS, displayed on your PC monitor.

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If you are flying airport to airport they work similar to ones in your car. You put in the identifier for the airport you want to fly to, and it usually comes up with a moving map, shows a little plan symbol to indicate you then shows a line to where your destination is. There are also other views and screens you can select to get to your destination. It will also show you any airspace boundaries you are near so you don't bust airspace. A lot of them give you more information, like airport information and frequencies.

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It's pretty simple. If it is not already in the GPS data base, you have to enter the coordinates

(lat/long) as a "user waypoint" and name it anything you want. You can then usually enter

"direct to" into the GPS and it will give you your distance, bearing and heading. You can then

either use a moving map or azimuths or both to navigate to the waypoint. I usually just use

the page that shows my heading and bearing to the waypoint, but the moving map can give

you a little more "situational awareness". Everyone does it a little different. My GPS is pretty


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