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So here we are in this great age where we have all these cool toys to get us from "A" to "B" and still i hear of people who do not use a GPS. What are your thoughts AND experiences with using either or both?

 

Arguments about how "kids" these days don't know how to read a paper map and if the US government ever turned off the System or made some kind of adjustment to it for strategic purposes such as for a military operation. Or just plain and simple if the system crashed that it would become useless to civil users, we've all heard comments like that since this technology became available to us.

 

Then there is the failure of the receiving unit its self, how would you deal with that if for instance you were searching for a fuel cache or your way back "home" in unfamiliar territory? Not the worst thing in summer, bugs and some wild life aside, but in winter it could become much more problematic (and Polar Bears give me the willies all year around!).

 

I have long heard the argument about always having your map out but i have never had the GPS System fail or my unit for that matter except having the battery give out (not hard wired to the machine) once when i was 1 minute away from an unfamiliar airport (thank you ARCAL!, lol). I carry a small hand held as a spare as well as a full compliment of paper maps of the area i am flying in.

 

Thoughts and comments...

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Sirlandsalot, why are you so surprised by such a question? I know lots of pilots who either don't use a GPS (afraid of the technology?) or use a GPS exclusively and don't even bring "Charts" (thank y

I agree with you 100% sirlandsalot. I thought the answer was obvious as well. I have had a chart with a track-line marked on it for every x-country flight I have done for the last 20 years. I had a ju

No worries Sirlandsalot, no feelings hurt. As i have said before i have big shoulders both literally and figuratively. Also a basic understanding of Psychology (you can call me The Professor if you

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I always have a map with me. GPS databases can end up being out of date at the worst time, batteries fail at the worst time, coverage from the sats can be lousy etc etc etc. I'm just as guilty as anyone else is about over-reliance on the GPS (the f/w Diamond aircraft with G1000s have spoiled me), but the ability to identify where you are based on terrain features and a map is always useful.

 

That said, that's with most of my flying in SW Ontario where there's, y'know, buildings and roads and other handy man made, readily identifiable whatevers.

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I have had different GPS quit multiple times, always have a map with a basic lie drawn, mark the line every once in a while so WHEN!, not if the GPS quits, you know where you are within 10 miles on the map. Customers like to see that you are backing yourself up, looks bad when GPS quits and you have to land to see if you have a map then take 10 min to try and find where you are.

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I have had different GPS quit multiple times, always have a map with a basic lie drawn, mark the line every once in a while so WHEN!, not if the GPS quits, you know where you are within 10 miles on the map. Customers like to see that you are backing yourself up, looks bad when GPS quits and you have to land to see if you have a map then take 10 min to try and find where you are.

 

Another thing is if you have a map out you can draw on cabins, runways, fuel caches and such. On bad weather days it is nice to know all these things.

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Always have my map out and read it while on ferry flights I believe is still the law isn't it? On the job, depends on job, fires with division boundaries will have that map out, seismic, the first few days, etc. But will have a map available regardless. Have two gps units in most aircraft not for want but the panel mounted one is usually boat anchor model not condusive to programing, the other a 296 or 196, like to have one set on fuel cache or nearest airport kind of nice if have an emergency which may need to have a nice flat area to land at.

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A guy should have both. I have had GPS units stop working as well.

 

When the weather is low and you find yourself needing a new route through the mountains, its nice to have a GPS with topo v4 and detail enough that you can determine a route without messing around with the map with one hand though.

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Try flying in or out of Long Beach, Cal. without a map (VTA) !!!??!

It is all to common these days too see pilots that rely totally on a GPS, not just for navigation, but also airport information !I have spent most of my years in a two pilot cockpit (kinda explains my warped sense of humor ), and it is very disconcerting too witness the amount of bad habits pilots develope , or basic skills that get lost.

When I go south to the states too fight fires, the co-pilots usually look at me strangely when the first thing I am looking for or at , are the maps and their condition......oh yeah, now where is that flight information publication ???

Mandatory reading as I remember.

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I like both.

 

Use the map until I am familiar with the area I am operating within, then usually use the GPS for the other basic stuff, like fuel caches etc. Good to use for time and distance stuff when asked questions.

 

But a map with a line on it is the most basic and elementary tool there is.

 

Have been stuck in very low ceilings where a good topo map was instrumental in locating a way out of the mess, and good mapreading skills have helped a lot.

 

Our company sends out the machines with a very large stack of maps, and CFS, so no need to operate without.

 

In the US now, you can get updated map software that will allow you to print specific portions of maps without problems, and they usually have updateable databases for obstacles etc. Lots of the EMS companies use this software.

 

I used it to plan my flight from Torrance to Ontario in an R-44. Prevented me from having to buy the entire US selection of sectionals before I knew which ones I needed.

 

Cheers

H.

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Interesting replies so far, and here's some trivia for you.

What you guys are talking about are actually charts, not maps.

 

A map does not have lines drawn on it portraying latitude and longitude, though degrees of lat and long may be listed on the edges of a map. Therefore it is harder to plot one's position or calculate a direct route on a map.

 

A map has pre-determined routes on it such as roads and railways.

 

A chart has parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude drawn on it so that you can calculate your position and plan your own route. Boats and aircraft use charts because they are not restricted to the routes of existing roads.

 

Personally, I use a chart more as I get closer to a big city/terminal area, especially in the US.

 

Before take-off, for fuel/leg planning in Canada I use an online planner such as,

http://www.ece.unb.ca/cgi-bin/tervo/flying/list2.pl

In the U.S. I use,

http://www.airnav.com/plan/fuel/

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A guy should have both. I have had GPS units stop working as well.

 

When the weather is low and you find yourself needing a new route through the mountains, its nice to have a GPS with topo v4 and detail enough that you can determine a route without messing around with the map with one hand though.

Excellent advice. At the beginning of the season I glom onto a data card and load it up with detailed Topo charts of the area. As some of our units have no data card, I just keep swapping it to the next Hx I'm in.

 

The Canada Topo maps have very good detail which can be followed much more easily in poor weather than trying to fumble with a paper map. I find it best to take some minutes in the beginning and customize the screen to manage all the detail; it can be nearly useless otherwise (Garmin 296).

 

It helps to have pre-entered some key waypoints first or record a poor weather track, store it for later use or convert it to a route. Then save it all on your laptop if you'll be back to the area.

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