Part 3 — Departure


To facilitate the student learning:

  • to initialize the GPS receiver
  • to create a flight plan in the GPS from the point of departure to the destination
  • to take-off and fly the aircraft to the first waypoint enroute


Preparation for departure is the foundation of a safe and effective flight. Pilots must be able to initialize and verify the functioning of the GPS receiver and accurately program it while ensuring that the essential duties of operating the aircraft are conducted safely.

Essential Background Knowledge

Explain how to turn the GPS receiver on

Explain how to operate the GPS receiver controls

Explain how to complete the receiver initialization with pilot inputs, if required

Explain the function of the flight plan (FPL) mode of the GPS receiver

Explain how to create a flight plan in the GPS

Explain how to confirm whether RAIM will be available for the approach at destination

Explain how to modify the flight plan by deleting or inserting waypoints

Explain how to create user-defined waypoints

Explain how to add a SID to the flight plan (not all receivers have this capability)

Explain airspace advisories and alerts

Explain the importance flying the aircraft at all times and of not fixating on the GPS operation

Advice to Instructors

As this phase tends to be time consuming, the more time spent in the classroom learning the programming functions of the receiver the better.

Ensure that students don't get so involved in learning to use the GPS receiver that they forget to fly the aircraft. This applies to all phases of the flight.

Using this system, especially in the early stages of the learning curve, tends to draw pilot attention into the cockpit, be careful, and remember to keep a close eye out for other aircraft.

Ensure that students cross check GPS positions with other navigational equipment. Databases have been known to be wrong. Moreover, there is a regulatory requirement to verify the coordinates of database generated waypoints against flight information publications when conducting GPS stand-alone approaches.

Air Instruction and Student Practice

Have the student operate the GPS receiver as much as possible. The student will be slow at first and will make mistakes, resist speeding up the process by jumping in to help. Allow the student to make mistakes and the time to figure out where he/she went wrong, within reason.

Emphasize the need to be accurate when information, especially waypoint coordinates, are entered into the receiver. As input errors are the largest single source of system errors, have the student double check all information as it is entered.

Completion Standards

The student shall be able to:

  • turn on and operate the GPS receiver
  • monitor and verify the receiver self test and initialization
  • verify the data displayed on the receiver self test page is the same as the data being displayed on the aircraft instruments interfaced with the receiver, if applicable
  • verify the external annunicators illuminate as designed, if any
  • verify the database is up to date
  • complete the receiver initialization with pilot inputs, if required
  • create a flight plan in the GPS receiver
  • modify the flight plan, including inserting and deleting waypoints
  • create user-defined waypoints
  • if the receiver is capable, retrieve airport information from the database
  • add a SID to the flight plan, if the point of departure has one
  • take-off and fly the SID or ATC clearance to intercept the track to the first waypoint enroute
  • maintain track to the first waypoint enroute within 1/2 scale deflection of the track bar
  • maintain assigned altitudes within 100 feet
  • understand the function of the message page and to take appropriate action