CHAPTER 3. Navigation

The Flight Planning Page

Every FMS unit includes a page dedicated to entering a flight plan. Typically, entering a flight plan is a simple matter of “filling in the blanks”—entering the en route waypoints and instrument procedures that make up the planned route.

En Route Waypoints and Procedural Waypoints

Entering a flight route into the FMS unit requires you to enter the waypoints that define your route. FMS distinguish between two kinds of waypoints: (1) waypoints that are published, such as departure, arrival, or approach procedure points; and (2) user defined waypoints. The approved system software (the internal programming) allows the pilot to manually enter airport and en route waypoints. However, you are prohibited by the software from entering (or deleting) individual waypoints that define a published instrument procedure, since misspelling a procedural waypoint name or deleting a procedural waypoint (e.g., final approach fix) could have disastrous consequences. Any changes to the selected database approach procedure will cancel the approach mode. Changing to go direct to a waypoint will not, in most units, cancel the approach mode (such as receiving radar vectors to final and bypassing an intermediate fix).

Entering En Route Waypoints

Looking at the planned route in Figure 3-8, it is apparent that San Carlos airport (KSQL), and SUNOL and TRACY intersections are not part of any instrument procedure that pertains to the planned flight. These waypoints can be entered into the unit, as shown in Figure 3-9.

The remaining waypoints in Figure 3-8, starting with the initial approach fix at ECA, are part of the Oakdale GPS approach procedure. Waypoints that are part of a published instrument procedure are entered by a different technique that will be introduced later. In some cases, you navigate along an airway that contains a string of waypoints, such as the one shown in Figure 3-10.

In this case, it is only necessary to enter waypoints along the airway that represent course changes. In Figure 3-10, REANS intersection is a changeover point that joins the Pomona 073-degree radial and the Twentynine Palms 254-degree radial. For this airway segment, you could enter POM, REANS, and TNP, keeping in mind that the remaining waypoints do not appear in the programmed route.

Entering Airways

More sophisticated FMSs allow you to enter entire airways with a single action into the unit. When an airway and endpoint for that airway are selected, all waypoints that occur along the airway are automatically inserted into the flight plan. Figure 3-11 shows a navigation unit that allows airways to be selected.

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