Aerial View of Plant City Airport courtesy of Google EarthGreg Greene Pic Plant City (PCM) Runway 10

Testing phase offered FREE  

VFRGPS Procedures,LLC

Fellow pilots, a 21st Century development in VFR GPS Arrival Procedures and Preflight Planning geared for the VFR community has been developed and is now in the testing phase offered FREE by VFRGPS Procedures, LLC a local Florida company.

Is this something I can use as a VFR or IFR General Aviation Pilot?

The answer is most definitely YES, if you want to make your flying more enjoyable, feel more confident and enhance safety by workload reduction during VFR Arrivals you are in the right place. It is as easy as connecting the dots, as you will soon learn.

It takes the guess work out of the arrival and creates a visual standard pattern for all pilots to use. The VFR GPS Arrival Procedures are designed to keep aircraft within gliding distance of the runway once in the pattern, promotes a stabilized descent and standard rate turns to reduce over banking, and overshooting turns in the pattern which can lead to stall spin accidents.

It is like having a roadmap in the sky to guide you safely from enroute to touchdown.

There are currently over 13,500 arrival procedures available and will grow in number if private use airports wish to participate.  

In addition to VFR GPS Arrival Procedures, a totally new and innovative 3-D Preflight Planning system using Google Earth has been developed and is available to visually depict the over 13,500 runway arrivals in the U.S. with links to many major sources such as SkyVector for airspace analysis, Lockheed Martin’s 1800wxbrief for legal weather briefs, FAA National Flight Data Center airport information and FAA AF/D to name a few.

Please read the following article and at the conclusion we invite you to become a beta tester which will gain you access to all of the over 13,500 procedures plus the 3-D Preflight Planning and allow you to be part of this historical evolution into VFR Arrivals by providing feedback , you can go to www.vfrgps.com  all of the information required is there. There is no obligation or charges. It is informal, free, beneficial, educational, confidential and will be fun and informative. This is an unlimited invitation so pass this along to your fellow pilots the more the merrier. AND…You don’t have to be a computer expert to participate.

This first in a series of articles will provide some insight into how and why these procedures were created.

Let’s start by briefly discussing the history of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology to see how we got to this point.

Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology was initially developed for a myriad of military applications. It quickly evolved to civilian use in the Marine and Automobile industries with moving road maps showing your real-time position on the maps (georeferenced).

It was then introduced to the aviation community as portable handheld GPS devices that provided similar features to that of the automobile moving map (georeferenced), but for simple airway navigation.

The next evolution was the development of IFR GPS Procedures as an adjunct to ADF, VOR and ILS arrivals, which were the mainstay in the IFR world of the 20th Century.

In order to comply with FAA mandates, all of the IFR GPS equipment had to be certified by the FAA, driving the cost of this equipment up.  In fact, the cost is still relatively high for IFR GPS certified equipment today and must be permanently installed not portable.

The average VFR Pilot recognized the benefits of GPS technology thus creating a demand, which manufactures seized upon, to produce a portable VFR moving map (georeferenced) GPS device which the FAA ultimately approved for situational awareness.

Since these devices did not have to comply with the stringent FAA IFR requirements, the VFR only GPS portable devices were relatively inexpensive.

Today there are a myriad of inexpensive dedicated portable VFR only GPS devices available.

As the cellular phone business grew a new generation of “Smartphones” emerged. These phones were capable of many functions that can be programmed into the Smartphone with small programs called Apps.

Many of the Smartphones have built in GPS Receivers that allow the phone to be programmed to act just like a dedicated portable VFR GPS device. The cost of an App is very reasonable and todays Smartphones with the use of purchased Apps can make the phone do just about everything you could buy in a Radio Shack store back in the 20th Century. There are thousands and thousands of Apps available today. It is very common to hear,  ”There is an App for that” when people ask, can your phone do this??

It has been said that today’s Smartphones have more computing power than the original Space Shuttle and if you were to buy the same computing power of today’s smartphones back in the 80’s, you would pay millions of dollars and it would fill a room, and not fit in your pocket.

Today smartphones have grown into Tablets that have large bright screens at very reasonable prices. A 10” diagonal screen is not uncommon in a tablet today.

The Smartphones and the Tablets generally use the same computer brains known as Operating Systems (OS) that allow programmers to make Apps for both the smartphones and tablets.

While we can’t get into all of the geeky details of operating system, basically the two main operating systems are Android OS and Apple’s iOS.

The Apple iPhone and iPad tablets use the iOS operating system while the large majority and variety of smartphones and tablets use the Android operating system.

The next emerging technology, and where we are today, is the FAA mandate for Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADSB) that will require all aircraft flying in the National Airspace where transponders are required to be equipped with Certified GPS ADSB-out equipment by Jan 1, 2020.

You can learn more about ADSB at http://www.faa.gov/nextgen/

The FAA will be eliminating many of the ground surveillance radars and NAVAIDs that will be replaced by ADSB-out positioning equipment driven by certified ADSB GPS in the cockpit. This means all aircraft flying where transponders are required must have a certified ADSB GPS onboard to make position reports to the FAA system.

In order to entice private aircraft owners to convert to ADSB-out the FAA set up a system to display Next-Generation Radar (NEXRAD) weather radar, ASOS, AWOS and surrounding aircraft traffic position and altitudes (TIS-B) that can be displayed on portable ADSB-In GPS devices at no charge. The GPS for ADSB-In does not have to be certified. As a result of not having to be certified, Smartphones and Tablets with the appropriate App lend themselves very well to display this valuable information to the pilot at a very affordable cost. Your current smartphone or tablet with the appropriate App will function very well as an ADSB-in display and eliminate the need to purchase addition expensive panel mounted or portable displays to display this information.

 As a result of reasonable cost smartphones and tablets and the great benefits offered by Apps designed for Aviation, a new term used by pilots for this combination is the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB).  We are now starting to see a plethora of these EFB’s carried by pilots. Many pilots carry two EFB’s for “duality” one to use and one for backup.

Another benefit of EFB’s is elimination of expensive paper charts which may go way someday. In a small EFB, all of the previously required paper charts carried by pilots can now be displayed on EFB’s, and pilots have access to all charts in the nation with just a few touches of the screen. A whole article could be written just on this subject.  One good source of information can be found at http://ipadpilotnews.com/2015/03/ipad-legal-briefing-pilots-need-know/ that explains what is required to replace paper charts in your cockpit.

Based on the fact that pilots are starting to carry EFB’s today and that the number of EFB’s will increase as we get closer to the 2020 Mandate for ADSB, we at VFRGPS Procedures, LLC see this as the roadmap of the future.

Now that we have a understanding of why and where we are today with in-cockpit displays that can provide visual roadmaps like our procedures, and we have an understanding of some of the terms that are with us today, once again we invite you to participate in our beta test by going to our website at www.vfrgps.com and following the step by step instructions.

 To be continued in article 2. (Click this link to go to Article #2)

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