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Filing Direct....Whats the real story?

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Well-known member
Dec 17, 2001
Can I file IFR direct with my handheld GPS? Some say yes, b/c I have radar from an ARTCC and VOR's. Others say no b/c it's not IFR certified. Whats the real story?
You can file direct. You can only use the handheld for navigation if it is certified IFR, which I doubt it is. The handheld will work though because I used one in the past.

Plain and simple you can do it just don't tell the fed you were using it for navigation.
Is your GPS certified for enroute navigation? Being that your GPS is handheld, I'd say no. If it's not certified you shouldn't be filling direct.
He can file direct just based on the vor navigation. We used to do this constantly in the check flying business. Your right though, using the handheld as sole means of IFR navigation would not be legal if a fed were on board.

No fed on board, have fun with the handheld. It sure makes flying safer and more relaxing. No more getting lost! LOL!
It's your call, the FARs require you to fly a straight line between points defined by your flight-plan/clearance. 91.181 How you do this is up to you. You can dead reckon as was previously mentioned. There was an article about this very subject in the one of the aviation safety type magazines, "IFR Refresher" I believe. The controllers said if you want to do it they don't care.
The question remains whether you would do it with a FED on board and the answer is probably "no". However most of us don't fly with the FEDs every day so have at it and be prepared to double check yourself to make sure everything is as it should be. Don't rely on that handheld exclusively and fall asleep on the way to your destination.

As you may have noticed ATC gives you headings direct if you request it. Your handheld just saves a step in the process.

That's my take.
727 Drivers

I have heard that some 727 drivers at the majors would occasionally bring a handheld GPS for nav. They would tell ATC that they had a xxx heading to somewhere and would ask for a vector on that heading. Technically, they are on a radar vector, but they would fly off the GPS, so they are still legal.
Ok now I can't remember where I heard this, but I know I have. Someone once told me that you can file direct anytime you can triangulate your position with VOR's or NDB's. Since I have nothing to do during the day I will read though the FAR/AIM tommrow and see if I can come up with a reference for you. We have GPS in all of our 207, 402, BE99's and they are VFR only so we file /A or /U on our flight plans and for our route just put direct in there and I have never have been questioned. Heck when they give us an intersection we have to ask for the lat/longs becuase we don't intersections in our GPS's.
i think you are all missing the main point here.The fligth plan that is where the FED will get you. You can only file golf if your gps is IFR approved "AND" if you have received appropriate trainning from a qualified person, so it is not even a question of having a FED in the aircraft, it is about how are you going to get there!!!
This is why the 727 drivers (read post above ) are asking for a initial heading , that is the only way to stay on the legal side using a VFR GPS

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