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Old 08-26-2019, 06:32 PM
DCBrown198 DCBrown198 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Dallas
Posts: 13
Default Is it time to forgo VHF navigation?

With the world rapidly moving to a GPS/RNAV enroute and approach environment I'm struggling with whether to even install VHF nav capability into the airplane.

I did a quick search of airports in my home state of Texas. There are RNAV approaches overlying most if not all of the VHF based ones - including LPV approaches to all of the existing ILS approaches.

The plan is to slowly decommission VORs and ILSs over time.

I can go everywhere I want to in the clouds today using RNAV and get down low with LPV capability.

Sure would be nice to forget a couple of antennas.

Anyone else been pondering this?

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Old 08-26-2019, 06:50 PM
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Weasel Weasel is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Brooksville, MS
Posts: 745

Lots of IFR in the -10 over the years and never ran into a GPS outage but installed antennas and radio just in case. Just my experience and don't take this as a recommendation.
RV-4 715hr Sold
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:51 PM
Desert Rat Desert Rat is offline
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: 50-50 Wichita KS & Scottsdale AZ
Posts: 570

I'm years away from an avionics decision, but I've been thinking about the same thing.

Assuming that the satellite constellation stays intact, pretty much the only practical issue I can think of is that approach will vector you closer in to intercept final on an ILS than they will on a GPS based approach.

Having said that, maybe I'm just old, but it makes me queasy to think about putting all of my eggs in the GPS basket if I'm really shooting an ILS down to minimums. If I was buying a panel today, it would have a Nav in it.

Edit: actually, I just thought of another reason: If you need to file an alternate I believe it's gonna have to be to LNAV minimums if you don't have an ILS (may have to look that one up, but I think that's right).
Terry Shortt
AGI, CFI, CFII, MEI, A&P, Janitor
RV7 Empennage & Wing done
Fuselage in process

Last edited by Desert Rat : 08-26-2019 at 07:20 PM. Reason: Thought of something else
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:58 PM
NewbRVator NewbRVator is offline
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: CA
Posts: 274

I like my radios. Redundancy is nice. Also alleviates stress if you can confirm your position with a different system.
20 dues paid member since 2018
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:21 PM
PilotjohnS PilotjohnS is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Southwest
Posts: 1,417
Default Just me

I still get concerned about out a gps outage. Seems it is possible and still happens occasionally in the desert out west. Dont know what the future holds so I am putting it in. Besides, I figure it is an easy way to get a different type of IFR approach for currency.
John S

WARNING! Information presented in this post is my opinion. All users of info have sole responsibility for determining accuracy or suitability for their use.

Dues paid 2021, worth every penny

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Old 08-26-2019, 07:22 PM
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N941WR N941WR is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: SC
Posts: 12,887

I wouldn't bother, except for one little detail. I hope to start my instrument training and I need the VOR/ILS for the training and checkride.

I'll be installing an Archer wingtip antenna. No real weight gain, other than the cable.
Bill R.
RV-9 (Yes, it's a dragon tail)
O-360 w/ dual P-mags
Build the plane you want, not the plane others want you to build!
SC86 - Easley, SC
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:37 PM
RV74ME RV74ME is offline
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Auburn, AL
Posts: 212

Exactly what I did (no vor/ils). I'm GPS only equipped. But I have my own personal IFR mins that are higher than standard. Hard IFR in single-engine just isn't smart, IMHO.

The few times I lost a GPS signal, it was merely a few seconds each time. And we are talking a handful of times over the course of 30+ years of flying.
Steve T.
RV-7, Lyc IO360
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:38 PM
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gyoung gyoung is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Spring, TX
Posts: 282

Consider your own equipment failure too. I had the antenna for my 430W fail while dodging clouds in sketchy VFR. It's unnerving when that warning pops up saying your GPS took a dump. I spent some anxious moments breaking the pairing between the 430W and 796 so I could use the 796 as a stand alone. I could have and should have had my 2 NAV radios setup for backup. I do now.

1950 Navion - flying
RV-6 - first flight 5/6/2021
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:38 PM
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rv6n6r rv6n6r is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Gearhart Oregon
Posts: 315

I'd say skip the VHF. Just one opinion and bear in mind I rarely get enough "real" approaches to not have to go up for some hood time every 6 months. Maybe I'd feel differently if I did more IFR flying...? Hard to say.

I have a NAV/COM/GS and Garmin WAAS receiver. The RNAV came later and the ILS takes so many fewer button pushes that I kept on flying ILS approaches for years before finally buckling down and learning the right buttons to push for RNAV approaches. Now I virtually never use the VOR or ILS except on currency flights.

Yes there's the redundancy question but that should be weighed against the added complexity, cost and weight. Backup can be a portable GPS, a handheld VHF radio with VOR, and sectional chart.
Randall Henderson
RV-6 / O-360 / CS, 1600+ hrs, 1st flight Sept. 1999
Outstanding Workmanship OSH 2000
Airport committee chair & ASNV for Seaside, OR Municipal (56S),
Donated August 2020
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Old 08-26-2019, 08:44 PM
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catmandu catmandu is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 943

I can't fault one for skipping a navigation radio. But, I still bought and installed one one. Guess I am officially an old man.
Mike C.
Sierra Nevada
RV-6A bought flying
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