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The Finer Points of Flying
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:12 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:09 pm
Posts: 2
I'm a relatively new IFR pilot in Norther CA. I fly IFR most of the time these days with a WAAS equipped Garmin 430. I'm looking for tips for filing IFR flight plans to get maximum benefit from the GPS. I understand that I can fly direct with the GPS to a fix; but it seems like each clearance I get back has me flying Victor airways. While thats not a problem, it usually means the long way around. I try and ask for direct to a fix with ATC and sometimes they clear me, most times they don't

I always make sure that I use the /G suffix on my flight plans.

So I guess the big question is what does everyone else do? Any Tips or suggestions?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:01 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:59 am
Posts: 124
Location: Atlanta, GA
There are some places in the country that have new special GPS airways that you can file for as a /G flyer. Not sure if any are available in your neck of the woods but look for them as a blue line on a low-altitude enroute chart.

Other than that, ATC will take your requested filing as a suggestion, but they'll always route you based on the overall needs of the system and in congested airspace that usually means you'll be flying airways at least initially. However, once you get clear of major congestion you can always ask the controller if they can give you a direct routing, and often they'll be able to.

Just this Saturday I filed direct from Atlanta PDK to 3M5, a little grass strip up near Huntsville AL. The routing I got back was predictable, radar vectors toward an intersection west of the ATL bravo airspace and then airways north toward Huntsville. But once I got west of ATL bravo they rerouted me direct to Moontown. That's usually the way it works near any large metro.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:03 am 

Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:42 pm
Posts: 466
Location: San Francisco, California
I have to agree with Moski, your route will be determined by the overall needs of the system at that moment. I have found that although I will be cleared on Victor Airways, often after a request for Direct, they will accommodate me as soon as they can.
I would think there will be increasingly more room to use the GPS but until the system is standardized, /G users will have to remain flexible.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:11 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2006 1:43 pm
Posts: 16
Location: KPAO
A bit of background on how the ATC system works will help you understand why Direct is *still* a bit of an issue for ATC. Don Brown is an ARTCC controller in the Atlanta area. He wrote a fantastic series of articles on avweb a number of years ago. I really learned a lot from the entire series, but here is the one specifically on GPS:

And here is the one on the still antiquated system:

Happy reading.
CFI, CFII, MEI and BE20 Charter Pilot

 Post subject: answers...........
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 4:06 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 4:54 pm
Posts: 1
Location: stuart fl
hope this helps. in busy airspace direct is not really possible but try comparing your flights by actual and calculated direct flight time. you might be surprised the difference is not that much. in ifr flying in busy airspace there are many factors that keep you from going straight. learn your local area from local pilots for any "short cuts". flying vfr when possible or on top will help. keep negotiating for a straighter route. out in the middle of country away from b and c restricted and moa airspaces direct is easy otherwise do your best and compare actual and direct. keep flying and enjoy the benefit of IFR flight. :mrgreen: [/img]

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