Essential Skills Checklist

Chapter 3: Navigation

Flight Planning

  • Determine if the FMS is approved for the planned flight operation.
  • Determine if your FMS can be used as a primary navigation system for alternate requirements.
  • Understand how entries are made and canceled.
  • Understand how each unit is installed, and how it is programmed or jumpered for optional functions.
  • Determine which navigation sources are installed and functional.
  • Determine the status of the databases.
  • Program the FMS/RNAV with a flight plan, including en route waypoints, user waypoints, and published instrument procedures.
  • Review the programmed flight route to ensure it is free from error.
  • Find the necessary pages for flight information in the databases.
  • Determine which sources drive which displays or instruments, and where the selection controls are located.
  • Determine and understand how to use and program optional functions and equipment installed with FMS/ RNAV basic unit.

En Route

  • Select and monitor the en route portion of the programmed flight route, determining waypoint arrival, approving turn anticipation, and waypoint sequencing.
  • Approve or select the correct course automatically displayed or manually tuned.
  • Determine if the FMS makes fuel calculations and what sensors and data entries are required to be made by the pilot.
  • Ensure that the track flown is that cleared by air traffic control (ATC).
  • Determine that the display CDI sensitivity is satisfactory for the segment being flown.

En Route Modifications

  • Proceed directly to a waypoint in the programmed route.
  • Cancel a programmed or selected waypoint or fix.
  • Select a different instrument procedure or transition.
  • Restart an approach sequence.
  • Immediately find the nearest airport or facility.
  • Edit a flight plan.
  • Enter a user waypoint.


  • Determine the descent airspeed to be used with concern to turbulence, aircraft descent profile, and powerplant cooling restrictions.
  • Program, observe, and monitor the top of descent, descent rate, and level-off altitude.
  • Plan and fly a descent to a crossing restriction.
  • Recognize and correct deviations from a planned descent path, and determine which factor changed.

Intercept and Track Course

  • Program and select a different course to the active waypoint.
  • Select the nonsequencing waypoint function (OBS, Hold, or Suspend) to select a specified navigation point.
  • Reactivate the sequencing function for route navigation.


  • Select a preprogrammed holding pattern, or nonsequencing mode.
  • Select and set up a non-preprogrammed holding pattern inbound course.
  • Determine the proper sequence of software commands for the holding pattern, transition to approach, approach, and MAP navigation.


  • Select an approach procedure with an arc.
  • Select the course, or determine that automatic course CDI setting will occur.

GPS and RNAV (GPS) Approaches

  • Load and activate a vectored GPS or RNAV (GPS) approach.
  • Select a vectored initial approach segment.
  • Determine the correct approach minimums and identify all pertinent mode transitions.
  • Determine the published missed approach point (MAP), courses, altitudes, and waypoints to fly.
  • Determine how missed approach guidance is selected.

Course Reversals

  • Select a type of course reversal procedure.
  • Determine the correct sequence of mode control actions to be accomplished by the pilot.

Missed Approaches

  • Acknowledge a missed approach procedure.
  • Set the FMS/GPS for a return to the same approach to fly it again.
  • Select a different approach while holding at a missed approach holding waypoint.
  • Program an ATC specified hold point (user waypoint) for selection after the published MAP/hold procedure.

Ground-Based Radio Navigation

  • Select any type of ground-based radio navigation approach.
  • Correctly tune and set up the conventional navigation receiver for the procedure in number 1.
  • Correctly monitor the navaid for proper identification and validity.
  • Correctly select and be able to use the desired navigation source for the autopilot.
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