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Occasionally there are technical innovations in aviation that propel the industry forward at accelerated rates. Past examples of such quantum leaps are the invention of the aileron, the variable pitch prop and the jet engine. Today's quantum leap is Global Positioning System (GPS). Never before has there been a navigation aid available capable of providing pilots with such precise navigation information in all phases of flight.
However, GPS receivers require more pilot attention than traditional VOR or ADF receivers, particularly during the approach phase. They are essentially navigation management computers, with many features, modes and controls. Before flying a stand-alone approach in instrument conditions, a pilot must be completely familiar with GPS fundamentals, system operation and the approach procedure to be flown.
Commercial and corporate operators are required to have approved training programs to qualify for GPS stand-alone approach approval.
General aviation pilots are not required to undergo an approved training program nor is there any special licence endorsement to qualify them to conduct GPS stand-alone approaches. Nevertheless, general aviation pilots are cautioned about the level of complexity of GPS approach systems. It is strongly recommended that pilots take advantage of GPS receiver stimulation modes, commercially available training and every opportunity to fly practice approaches in visual conditions. Pilots are also encouraged to develop and adopt standard GPS operating procedures for enroute, approach and missed approach phases of flight.
General Aviation pilots flying aircraft equipped with GPS receivers can anticipate being asked to demonstrate their ability to operate the receiver during Flight Tests in all phases of flight, including GPS stand-alone or overlay approaches.