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.
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
YES you can file direct anytime with a handheld. You don't even need your handheld to file direct. As long as you can fly between two points and do not deviate from your 4 mile wide corridor you are legal to do so. Whether you just have an ADF onboard to get between those points, or the most sophisticated navigation systems known to man, it is all legal.
Starchkr and A Pilot I agree 100% with both of you. Filing /G you should only do when you have an IFR GPS on board and you have the proper training to use the thing. So just file /U, /A, or /I whatever you are and file direct like Starchkr said when you have a GPS on board just don't file /G when you are not. Hey Starchkr I guess this goes to prove that us night freight pilots do it best!!! By the way where are you based out of????
I am based in Jackson, MS. All of our flight plans are canned as /I, but sometimes that equipment does not even help out. That is when you need to be good at triangulation and keep track of your flight progress. I currently have a plane with just an ADF and two navs to get from place to place (this is the backup plane that no one ever wants to fly because of the equipment). It is difficult, but i can depart JAN flying direct to HOU (~300 miles) and have no problem finding it, even after they give a reroute onto the arrivals. Of course after months of flying this route you kind of get a feeling for the direction you need to go, and when it is clear you can verify your position over known lakes and towns and stuff like that. The whole point is is that we are always filed direct, and it is legal because we can get there without breaking regs.
What we use to do is ask the controllers for a heading or request a certain heading then direct when able...fully seeing on the non IFR certified GPS that it was a particular heading. "Any chance a 275 degree heading and when able direct XYZ?"
legally to file GPS under IFR you have to have a TSO Certified GPS with terminal and approach capability. no handhelds currently meet this requirement.
that being said you can use a handheld GPS to your benefit, most of the tricks and tips here are valid. Here's one, say you have a flight plan with several VORS. Pick the one that is almost to your destination, say you're recieving it and ask for direct.
also the "we're showing 255 heading to houston, can we get direct?" works pretty well too.
In order to go direct you need the approved equipment to do so. This of course shows up in your equipment suffix as in /G, /I, or if you are a big guy /E, /F, /R. If you have vor/dme RNAV (eg, a KNS80) and file /I the ole handheld GPS works just fine and you are legal. If you file /U, /A you better not accept or ask for direct to anything beyond VOR reception range. If you file /G or /I you better have em.
You don't have to have a /R or /G to go direct. All you have to say is "request direct XXX" ATC doesn't care - it probably helps them out. The issue is the legality - don't say "GPS direct" or "RNAV Direct" just "Direct". Claim pilotage or DR. Back yourself up with VORs/TACANs and be smart if a FED is onboard.
You don't have to have a /R or /G to go direct. All you have to say is "request direct XXX" ATC doesn't care - it probably helps them out. The issue is the legality - don't say "GPS direct" or "RNAV Direct" just "Direct". Claim pilotage or DR.
Several people have mentioned it is OK to file or request direct and use pilotage. People, remember that we are talking about an IFR flight plan, which assumes you will have no problem navigating your route in total IMC!!!! Man, if you people can navigate by pilotage from the inside of clouds, you guys must be some pilots!
As far as it being OK to request direct with non-certified IFR GPS and the like based on the fact that you are in a radar environment, I disagree. What happens then if you lose Comm? And are in IMC? This is why you need to really be able to navigate on your own if you go direct. If you request it and get it, then be sure you can do it without running into something.
FAR 91.205(d)(2) requires...navigational equipment to the ground facilities to be used
AIM Table 1-1-8, footnote 4 ..vfr and handheld GPS systems are not authorized for IFR navigation...ONLY an aid to situational awareness.
/R is now only to be used for RNP qualified systems which generally are multisensor ....including GPS PLUS VOR/DME RNAV PLUS INS etc
PLUS does not mean OR. VOR/DME does not qualify for RNP thus /R can not be used...use /I
Chocks..... TACAN ??? All those with TACAN please raise your right hand. If your "backup" is VOR you better really study up on your DR techniques and methodologies that allow you to go direct so you can splain it to the man ( and the rest of us too).
Like most issues it aint a problem until it's a problem ...like a gross navigational error in IMC with lost comm while you're DR-ing. GOOD LUCK!!