CHAPTER 4. Automated Flight Control

GPS Steering (GPSS) Function

Many autopilots offer a global positioning system steering (GPSS) function. GPSS does all of the same actions as the navigation function, but achieves a higher degree of precision by accepting inputs directly from the GPS receiver. Consequently, the GPSS function follows the desired track to the active waypoint more aggressively, permitting only small excursions from the desired course. On some installations, pressing the autopilot NAV button twice engages the GPSS function.

Following a VOR Radial

The FD/autopilotís navigation function can also be used to directly track VOR radials. The navigation display must be configured to show indications from one of the aircraftís VOR receivers. Once you have tuned and identified a VOR station and selected the desired radial, you can select the navigation mode to track the selected radial. Figure 4-7 demonstrates how to use the navigation mode to follow a VOR radial.

When the navigation mode is used to follow a route defined by VOR radials, you must still tune and identify each new VOR facility manually and select the appropriate radials along the way. The autopilotís navigation function cannot automatically manipulate the VOR receiver. However, some highly automated FMS units tune and identify VORs along a defined route, such as Victor or Jet routes. You should check the FMS documentation and installed options.

Depending on the FMS, the highly automated flight that results when the navigation mode is used to follow a published route from the database uses a different skill set from using the navigation mode to track discreetly tuned VOR radials. Learning how to select preprogrammed routes from the database of airways can be challenging. Programming or tuning discreet VORs en route in turbulent conditions presents different challenges. Either skill set can result in a greater sharing of duties between pilot and technology and an increase in safety.

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