Navigation

Concerns were raised about the misuse of Global Positioning System (GPS) as a navigation tool when pilots are using GPS to the exclusion of maps. Map reading skills as one pilot stated, "are becoming a lost art". Dependence on GPS can lead the pilot into a false sense of security that he cannot get lost, that the unit can't fail. If the pilot is operating in reduced visibility conditions and is relying on the GPS for navigation information, he may be monitoring the GPS rather than keeping a look out for traffic and obstacles.

SR 31 - Recommend Transport Canada continue to publish articles in the Aviation Safety Letter and Vortex newsletters about the safe, proper use of GPS and the hazards associated with its misuse.

IA 31 - Recommend air operators inform their pilots about the operating limitations and company limitations of GPS equipment. Recommend pilots be aware of and respect the operating and company limitations of GPS and practice good airmanship by having back-up navigation equipment tuned and identified and by referencing maps when operating VFR.

The accuracy of GPS makes it a very efficient navigation tool, but its accuracy has potential negative safety implications if opposite direction traffic is climbing or descending through the same altitude or operating at the same altitude.

SR 32 - Recommend Transport Canada promote the practice of using offset GPS tracks or other means to reduce the potential for conflict between opposite direction traffic on the same route and altitude.

IA 32 - Recommend pilots make position reports, monitor appropriate VHF frequencies and remember that they are responsible to see and avoid other traffic when flying in Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC).

Computer generated VFR navigation charts (VNC) do not contain enough detailed topographical information for pilots flying at low level. The charts appear to be more acceptable for pilots operating at higher altitudes, since the detail is representative of what a pilot would see at about 8000' AGL. Pilots flying at low level have difficulty getting accurate fixes to determine their position.

SR 33 - Recommend NAV CANADA revise VFR navigation charts to include more detailed topographical information.

When aeronautical charts are updated, flight training schools and other chart dealers are required to return the "coupon" that is attached to the out-of-date maps within 30 days or they will not receive a rebate for returning the out-of-date maps. This administrative procedure has resulted in many chart dealers discontinuing this service which makes it more difficult for pilots to access maps or obtain current charts.

SR 34 - Recommend Transport Canada notify the Canada Map Office that the accounting procedure for chart dealers has caused some to stop offering the service, resulting in diminished availability of current charts.

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