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Well, Rich, I think the ball is in your court. You're the one who gave the determination that none of the rest of us can verify. It is easy to find references to show that an IFR certified GPS can be used to substitute for a DME in some instances, but I've not found one citation to prove that a non-IFR certified GPS is acceptable. I hope it is the case. I just don't trust an FAA briefer to know when it is my ticket on the line.

 

The FSS guys are used to handling IFR traffic and it would not surprise me if their mind works in IFR circles.

 

They are by no means experts on equipment code determinations. BTW, there is a new code table coming out in Oct but changes are only for RSVN and similar stuff and my CT won't go to FL280, darn it. The tables are getting in sync with ICAO, as well.

 

I hope you are right, and if I have occassion to call a briefer I'll try to remember to query and get a reference.

 

 

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Hi Jim,

 

That's why I called last night, to verify what I was told previously. However, I'll give our FSDO a call to see what they have to say. It may take awhile, as they're hard to get on the phone.

 

Rich

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Good afternoon,

 

I just got off the phone with the Harrisburg, PA FSDO. Here is the reply.

 

In the technical sense he understands how the suffix "A" could be used but in the LEGAL sense it cannot. He realizes that the 796 and other GPS's are very accurate but NOT certified, therefore, the suffix "U" should be used. If it were a certified panel mount then "A" would apply.

 

He also stated as a scenario that if you violated a TFR or other airspace using a portable GPS, you'd be busted, even though your track indicated that you were clear. He stated that Legally it's no better than a sectional and you wouldn't have a leg to stand on. On the other hand, if you had a certified unit and violated an airspace due to a malfunction in the unit you'd get that leg back.

 

The FSDO also stated that the briefers at Lockheed Martin may not be up on all the pertinent info when it comes to this section.

 

So, I'm happy that we had this discussion and I stand corrected. I'll be calling 1-800-wx-brief to change my profile suffix from "A" to "U" and discuss what I've learned from the PA FSDO so they'll be updated also.

 

Rich

 

 

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Not even a month and a half, only two pages, and we seem to have a definitive answer! Some kind of record for the forum I'm guessing. ;)

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Not even a month and a half, only two pages, and we seem to have a definitive answer! Some kind of record for the forum I'm guessing. ;)

 

That is not an answer, it is an opinion from FAA personal at a FSDO. It becomes an answer when you have a ruling from FAA legal. There have been many times where someone from a FSDO has given the incorrect answer to a question, like when our FSDO told someone they could not do the required endorsement for airspace to a sport pilot in a non light sport aircraft.

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OK Tom, I suspect no one is taking this to legal, and they probably wouldn't waste their time on it... I'll take it as an answer until something else changes it. Sometimes I am ok with using things I don't have complete knowledge of. You know, like gravity or light, for instance.

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Rich, thanks for taking the time and interest to follow up. Your findings are very useful. I admit that Tom is right - one FSDO's opinion is just that unless FAA Chief Counsel has ruled, but, hey, I think you did right and the answer seems consistent so I'll use it.

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I have always used /U and never been questioned.

 

I would never use the guys at LM for reference on anything. I have called a few times and been going over the weather along my route while looking at the radar on many an application only to question if they had a complete view of the weather based on what i was seeing and what they were telling me. Don't get me wrong, I have had some excellent service. I just don't like how spotty it is and I worry about the newly minted pilot who may not know how much to ask. I would say that the service has definitely declined since LM got the award and again it is just my opinion based on a snapshot in time.

 

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Some how I think todays FSS system is step backwards. They may have all the latest gee whiz stuff but in the old days you could walk into one of the many FSS and get personal service and excellent advice relevant to where you were flying by people that actually knew the area and the route.

 

My 2 cents.

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I really don't depend on them for weather (I have researched that well before I call). I call them to avoid surprises, and to give some assurance to my wife that they will know where to look for me if I need finding.

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A call to FSS means you are on record in the event of a TFR. I agree with comments that good or better weather and other information is available elsewhere. There are other ways to get on record that one received a briefing, as well.

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I recently changed from phone call to FSS to CSC Duats (after my own on-line self briefing). Its much faster than the phone call and records the brief for legal purposes. WF

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