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Old 09-11-2020, 02:33 PM
sloengineer sloengineer is offline
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Small Town, Alabama
Posts: 76
Default IFR without VHF?

This question is looking for folks with GPS only IFR aircraft....

The plan for our 14A build is Garmin G3X displays with a GNX375 navigator for IFR. No VHF radio installed. I would have a handheld VHF backup, but nothing installed.

Does anyone have a GPS only IFR setup? I will finish my IFR cert before the kit is finished, but would one be able to take the IFR check-ride or subsequent flight reviews without a VHF radio installed?

The regulations say 1 precision and 2 non-precision. Would LPV or LNAV/VNAV for the precision and LNAV and/or LP for the non-precision suffice?
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:35 PM
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Raymo Raymo is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Richmond Hill, GA (KLHW)
Posts: 2,308

Are you referring to not having a NAV radio installed for VOR/ILS? I don't think a handheld radio would be a good idea.
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Old 09-11-2020, 02:37 PM
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RONSIM RONSIM is offline
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Location: Largo, FL
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Default Did you mean VOR?

If so, some folks have not included the VOR capability and have successfully done their IFR checkrides --- I am old school and love the additional VOR capability from my 650 and 430. I even left the CDIs for both radios, even though I have the HSI on my AFS 5600T.

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Old 09-11-2020, 02:53 PM
ColoradoSolar ColoradoSolar is offline
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Westcliffe, Colorado
Posts: 104

Just as a counter point my local examiner said no dice with just a GPS, needed VHF nav capability. I have heard rumors of people in other areas being able to take the check ride without VHF nav.
Eric Vickery

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Old 09-11-2020, 03:12 PM
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airguy airguy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Garden City, Tx
Posts: 5,360

Can't shoot an ILS that way - what would you do when the GPS loses lock?

With something as mission-critical as an IFR approach, I can't figure out for the life of me why people continuously try to find the cheapest, most ill-equipped way to get there.
Greg Niehues - SEL, IFR, Repairman Cert.
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Old 09-11-2020, 03:17 PM
Scott Hersha Scott Hersha is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
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You probably need VHF NAV for an ILS approach for your check ride, but you don’t need it for a flight review, or to legally fly IFR if you have an IFR approach capable GPS installed. If are are capable of flying an LPV approach, your minimums will be almost as low in most places. My last RV8 had a Garmin 625, which is IFR approach capable, and no VHF NAV equipment. That never slowed me down, or affected any trip I took with it.
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Old 09-11-2020, 04:37 PM
Desert Rat Desert Rat is online now
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: 50-50 Wichita KS & Scottsdale AZ
Posts: 544

The check ride question is one for your examiner. Some will likely not want to do a check ride without an ILS. But then again, some won't do a check ride in an experimental no matter how well it's equipped.

As others have said, It's no big deal for a BFR.

Checkride question aside, theres no way would I fly hard IFR to low minimums without the capability to do an ILS. That's my opinion, others have their own comfort level.

If you're more of an enroute IFR guy that stays home when the ceilings are less than 800' then yeah sure.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to shoot LPV approaches, but the idea of having all my eggs in the GPS basket and maybe being stuck if it craps out and everywhere within reasonable is socked in leaves me a little uneasy.

Also, If you're doing vectors to final, Approach will vector you closer in on an ILS that they will on a GPS approach.
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Old 09-11-2020, 05:10 PM
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rv6n6r rv6n6r is offline
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See this thread from about a year ago:
Randall Henderson
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Old 09-11-2020, 05:14 PM
BobTurner BobTurner is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Livermore, CA
Posts: 7,304

The preface to the ACS (nee PTS) says the two non-precision approaches must use different ‘nav aids’. Some examiners will say that gps is a nav aid, the second one has to be something else. Others say it means different procedures, so LNAV and LPV to 300’ agl or higher are different ‘nav aids’. Ask your examiner what he thinks. BTW, the rules for an IPC are the same. I do have a work around for GPS only aircraft, which I think meets the spirit of the law.
As to the ‘gps only’ question: I have seen the GTN 650 degrade from LPV to LNAV, then to no nav (big red X) while shooting the rnav approach into LVK, so I know it can happen. We were in vmc at the time, so we just landed. But if in IMC and no other navigation, it would have been an interesting missed approach. LVK is in a valley, with 4000’ hills north and south, and below radar coverage. So you can guess my opinion as to carrying a vhf nav receiver around.
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Old 09-11-2020, 05:15 PM
sloengineer sloengineer is offline
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Small Town, Alabama
Posts: 76

Thanks all for the feedback. I know people have very passionate arguments around VHF which I completely respect. My light IFR mission profile is completely satisfied with GPS only. Red or magenta dots on Foreflight keep me in the hangar telling flight tales around the coffee pot.

I was just polling for feedback from GPS only aircraft owners as it relates to flight reviews. I guess worst case I have to rent the local 172 for reviews.
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