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GPS do you use yours is it worth the money


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Hi

I am planning on buying a gps to use when paramotoring/paragliding well may be. My main question is are they worth the money they seen expensive and do you use yours all the time you fly or just when you go XC. There also seems to be many different types out there now and as simon posted this morning you can even get an app for the i phone!!!!

I mean if you have a map and a compass then surley a normal car gps will be enough to tell you where you are if you loose track on your map.

Am i missing something here. forgive me if i am but i have never used a gps unit other than in my car :oops:

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I think some of the extra features of GPS are plotting in way points (you can probably do that on your car GPS), but you can also export them. You can 'track' your route and then display it on googlemaps/earth (and also share that with people). You can download not only airmaps, but airspace indicators and proximity warnings etc. You generally get a better altimeter reading also. Erm, not sure what else really - somebody will add some more. Generally, car sat navs give you and concentrate on roads (obviously), other gps units are better for 'terrain'.

Also, with some other units, you can add/install/hack software which will give all the functions of xcsoar (http://www.xcsoar.org/mediawiki/index.php/Main_Page)

Ben

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Morgy,

We are natural gadget junkies and nearly all believe that GPS is the be all and end all to navigation. Truth is that one of the most satisfying skills you can aquire after getting airborne consistently is navigation with just a map and compass. After that skill has been mastered using the most basic but valuable information from your GPS, instantaneous track and ground-speed, will supplement your map and compass skills to the point of perfection. Most GPS units, even the cheapest provide that information.

Sadly most people want the biggest colour screen they can lay their hands on with airspace overlays and all the trimmings. In fulfilling their dreams, they miss out on a lot of fun.

Try this little PDF, it might help you decide.

PPG Pilot Nav 5

PPG NAV PDF updated - please re-download.

Edited by Guest
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I plan to use the ViewRanger Mapping & Navigational software on my mobile phone as I have just order a handy wrist strap so that I can attach it to my forearm. It allows me to plot routes, see my distance and speed etc.... another cool feature is the buddy beacon which allows me to track other pilots who have the software, great for flying in a group.

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After much trawling of the forumns I went and brought a cheap secondhand Garmin Etrex Vista HCX, and I cant recomend it enough. It does everything I need like ground speed, altitude (barometric), distance, flight time and tons of other things. I use it to log all my flights and it only takes a minute to upload them all into Google Earth. It's also very compact and has good battey life. It's the only electronic thing I fly with.

Phil

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Aye just ordered the new Oregon 550, it has a built in camera but the bestest part is it talks to other Garmins like the Colorado so you always know where your flying buddy's are (coordinate sharing). Colour, touch screen, SD micro chipster ooey lala see tripple dub garmin dot com

GPS = safety feature is wot I tell the dragon lady to justify the brutal cost...i.e. it's a TOOL not a TOY.

I'll be explaining that to her in the very near future :roll: .

Have mercy,

Marko D

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After much trawling of the forumns I went and brought a cheap secondhand Garmin Etrex Vista HCX, and I cant recomend it enough. It does everything I need like ground speed, altitude (barometric), distance, flight time and tons of other things. I use it to log all my flights and it only takes a minute to upload them all into Google Earth. It's also very compact and has good battey life. It's the only electronic thing I fly with.

Phil

as above :D

Dave

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Gordon,

I find myself in a small spot here because whilst I agree with you in one sense, I hold the views I do about GPS usage and abuseage.

Take the Tip to Tip exercise as an example.

The navigation throughout was very accurate and frankly I doubt that it could have been flown without GPS as the navigational demands in the north around East Midland/Nottingham/Manchester were exacting to avoid airspace incursions. This isn't a negative comment about the guys who flew the event, they did well to use their kit as effectively as they did, but they were using the kit and not navigating in a conventional sense. Few if any (I believed at the time, wrongly as has been later established- edited for accuracy) of them had been trained, acquired or practised map and compass skills to the level that would have achieved the same result.

That brings me to a conclusion.

GPS has been responsible (imho) for keeping all forms of GA much safer from that (airspace incursion) perspective than it might otherwise have been and in that light it would be foolish to disregard GPS in the name of aeronautical 'academic' dogma. The downside is that it brings heads into the cockpit and increases other risks. That's why I have tried to bring it together with 'proper' navigation to balance the skill set of our pilots, then we can have the best of both worlds.

PMC PPG1 and 2 are structured to develop our pilots in this way, GPS is not available as a navigational aid for qualification, it is used to log tracks to assist the debrief of the Trainee after his navigation exercises.

Map and compass navigation isn't an 'old fashioned' anachronism from the time before we had GPS. It is an essential core piloting skill that is trained intensively by civil and military flying training organisations of all persuasions.

Do you want to be a myopic screen watcher or an aviator, because the choices you make early on mould your development later.

Edited by Guest
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And the fact also remains, that we should none of us be using GPS as our primary means of VFR navigation.

Another point worth mentioning is that I have come across two people recently with Garmin units, who were unaware of the WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) function on their sets. By default this function is left turned off, but accuracy can be greatly improved by turning it on, somewhere in the setup menu system. Older Garmins won't have the facility, but I understand that most new sets do.

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I have not used mine for any sort of XC yet, but would be taking a map also, the GPS I see more as a supplement rather than a main means of navigation, one usefull feature I have used is the trackback after getting a bit disoriented when flying from the flagpole one time.

I have also used it to observe my ground speed in different directions, wich is usefull for telling the windspeed at a different altitudes.

Dave

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I will shut up in a minute but....

Paul is right of course, but what people actually do on the day is a matter of choice and rotates around their comfort zone. More to the point, around their training and experience.

A point to ponder.

If you are becoming too reliant on your GPS during your flying it will come out in a couple of ways.

  • 1. You will feel uncomfortable flying without it.
    2. You may actually fear its loss or failure.
    3. You may be limiting what you are prepared to do with your flying - where you will be willing to go etc.
    4. Or worse, doing things with GPS that you wouldn't dream of without it. Where does that leave you when it packs up?

GPS is easy to use. Easy to use casually as an aid to map reading. It takes a bit of study and understanding to use it effectively in a supporting role to conventional navigation. When you have invested the effort you will find your cross country exercises will become very much more rewarding in that you will feel the glow of achievement and lose the fear that comes with over reliance.

Without wishing to blow too hard on my trumpet I can tell you that sound pilot navigation techniques (no GPS) have worked for me over deserts, oceans and jungles all over the world. They WORK. Using these skills routinely makes you proud of the effort you expended working at them as the reward far outweigh the effort involved. Better still, get reasonably good at it and you can really relax up there and enjoy the scenery, and THAT is what this is all about.

For what its worth and just another point of view.... :D

PS: Gordon, very nice précis of what GPS can do on your link.

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well put Norman, since buying the GPS I have been studying all I can on "dead rekoning" and "pilotage", I have an xc close to home that I have planned and programmed into my GPS, using the traditional method of navigation I am going to fly the route with the back up of the GPS, I figured that as I am flying over an area I know very well, if all else fails I will not get too lost should either the GPS or my nav skills not live up to the task.

I will use map and compass then once flown I will download my track to memory map and see how well I did. :D

Dave.

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Thanks for all of the input guy's :lol: I guess if you have a gps on you dont mean you have to fly by it only looking at it. i like the idea of coming home and plotting my route onto my laptop and poss over laying it onto google earth. Also i guess it will alsol tell you if you have set way points your track and bearing ground speed.

I suppose now i will have to choose one :?

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Gordon,

I find myself in a small spot here because whilst I agree with you in one sense, I hold the views I do about GPS usage and abuseage.

Take the Tip to Tip exercise as an example.

The navigation throughout was very accurate and frankly I doubt that it could have been flown without GPS as the navigational demands in the north around East Midland/Nottingham/Manchester were exacting to avoid airspace incursions. This isn't a negative comment about the guys who flew the event, they did well to use their kit as effectively as they did, but they were using the kit and not navigating in a conventional sense. Few if any of them had been trained, acquired or practised map and compass skills to the level that would have achieved the same result. That is my point.

That brings me to a conclusion.

GPS has been responsible (imho) for keeping all forms of GA much safer from that (airspace incursion) perspective than it might otherwise have been and in that light it would be foolish to disregard GPS in the name of aeronautical 'academic' dogma. The downside is that it brings heads into the cockpit and increases other risks. That's why I have tried to bring it together with 'proper' navigation to balance the skill set of our pilots, then we can have the best of both worlds.

PMC PPG1 and 2 are structured to develop our pilots in this way, GPS is not available as a navigational aid for qualification, it is used to log tracks to assist the debrief of the Trainee after his navigation exercises.

Map and compass navigation isn't an 'old fashioned' anachronism from the time before we had GPS. It is an essential core piloting skill that is trained intensively by civil and military flying training organisations of all persuasions.

Do you want to be a myopic screen watcher or an aviator, because the choices you make early on mould your development later.

Norman, I love you like a brother, you know that. However I have to dissagree with your statements.

As the main person navigating the tip to tip I did have GPS (Garmin 76C) which I used extensively. However, as a basic GPS without airspace information on the screen keeping out of airspace required accurate ground to map recognition. I did need to use the maps to navigate the complicated sections you described. (The maps you so kindly provided :) ).

The route you planned (agian excellent waypoints for GPS use), was followed fairly extensively but detours were included avoiding higher ground poor weather etc which required real map and compass navigation :?: . Also the GPS does have a tendancy to lose sat nav contact and quiet frequently in poor weather or when in valleys etc :shock: ' which I realised early on in the expedition so ensured I had gross error check location on relevant map at all times :D . So I have to dissagree with you there.

Today I have flown a planned route covering Cornwall using map and compass only. (GPS on but for recording route time and distance) A few deviations from route occured due to low clouds at Lands End penincular and very active Perranporth aerodrome (free fallers and visitors (see NOTAM)), other than those I followed the map + compass the whole route. The planned route was designed to utilise X winds as much as possible to maximise distance for out and return. The flight plan was for a route expected to be >100 miles estimated to take approx 4 hours, (max for my fuel tank with a bit reserve, Fresh Breeze Sportix 20L tank). Flight was 104 miles over 3 hours 30 mins. Av speed 30.08mph Max 50.6. Used approx 17 L fuel.

The flight was a wonderfull mix of experiences. Low flying multiuple beaches, flying over cloud on south coast. Watching my shadow dash across freshly ploughed fields. I flew the Lizzard peninsular for the first time, low over flat gorse chasing my shadow. Arriving on the North coast of the lands end penininsular thermaling over very active rocky outcrops before heading over to St Ives and Hayle to the Golden beaches and turqouise blue waters. Then x-country getting nearer home before another low level south coast beach flight and a lazy zig zag home knowingly breaking the 100 mile xc. Fantastic.

Occasionally I have a very magic experience in this sport and today I had many.

I will down load the phots to my album.

Ive had my fix for the day (month): Now drinking lager in the sunshine of my garden feeling great.

Regards.

Whitters.

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:lol::lol:

Having re-read my missive I have to admit that it doesn't read quite the way I wanted it to.

Thinking again about it I was working on the feedback that I got from you guys only as far as Mere and later generally. The trials of the later stages are still largely unknown to me and I shouldn't have made a general comment about the whole deal.

Please don't think I am trying to diminish the achievement of the T2T team, I just had the distinct impression that GPS played perhaps a greater role than it did. Your navigation through EMA/Manchester was exemplary and to do that section did take a good deal of cross (GPS/Manual) navigation skills. You would have needed to assign positions to airspace boundary's etc.

Please accept my apologies if I it seems I casted nasturtiums on the task vis-avis navigation, as you know I had my heart in my mouth as you transited that area.

Cut me a portion of crow pie and pour a couple of pints please... :oops:

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Please accept my apologies if I it seems I casted nasturtiums on the task vis-avis navigation, as you know I had my heart in my mouth as you transited that area.

No apologies needed. Looking forward to navigating the Cornish coast with you sometime soon. Now I am off to google nasturtiums to work out what you are saying. :D

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:lol:

Of course Richard, "Cast dispersions" corrupted for humour to.... "cast nasturtiums".

Yes, that beach has become a bit of a mission for me. I want to fly it before the summer is out!

Close, but it's 'aspersions' that are nominally cast. ;-)

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:lol:

Of course Richard, "Cast dispersions" corrupted for humour to.... "cast nasturtiums".

Yes, that beach has become a bit of a mission for me. I want to fly it before the summer is out!

Close, but it's 'aspersions' that are nominally cast. ;-)

Or is that supposed to be "normally cast" ;-)

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