GPS procedures and visual approaches

Pro Member First Officer
HowardsRock First Officer

Can someone give me the basics on how to use GPS procs to land a plane via visual approach onto a runway that does NOT carry an ILS frequency?


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Pro Member Chief Captain
Tailhook Chief Captain

HowardsRock wrote:

Can someone give me the basics on how to use GPS procs to land a plane via visual approach onto a runway that does NOT carry an ILS frequency?


I'm not too clear about your question. Once you've entered your destination into the GPS you can zoom in and out at will and see where you're at. You can land your a/c with or without ATC.

Does that help?

Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

Have a look at the GPS Approach guide in the above post. It's at the bottom 😉

Pro Member Chief Captain
Greekman72 Chief Captain

If you have set up your flight waypoints from flight Planner they automaticly load in your GPS.
You have to turn the NAV switch to GPS and set up AP by pressing AP(of course) NAV and ALT(its obvious that first you have to set up your ALT and your VS speed.)
When you reach a speed level more than 120-140 knots enable your AP and you are going to follow the GPS route.
A small trick you can do when you approach your destination and have contact with ATC about the runway you are going to land is to,turn your NAV switch to NAV,disable the NAV option of your AP and enable the HDG.
Then by trimming your Heading switch in your Heading Indicator you can setup your course in order to lining up with the runway(of course you have also trim your decent rate ,your speed,and your flaps).

These are my poor knowledges for a semi-auto approach.
Personaly about 1-2 miles and sometime further(depends on the weather conditions or my willing 😉 )from airport i disable AP and im always landing manual.I make clear that im not talking about heavies.

Of course Jons (ULTIMATE ❗ )guide is more specific about this procces. 😉

Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

Unless I am mistaken, the original poster is asking about GPS procedures, not just GPS flying. Some airports have published GPS approaches I think, which takes one over different waypoints than a "non RNAV enabled" STAR. It's not very common though I think. I'll try to find an example.

There's one for Boston:

So they look like regular STARs, but they can only be flown with GPS equipment on board.

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

Alright Howard, let's make this all simple: Visual Approach with GPS using the autopilot (AP).

I assume you can program your GPS to go Direct and/or load a flight plan.

1. Close to destination(<50 nm or so, not critical) select [proc] key on GPS.

2. Using the small knob, highlight a approach and select Vectors and Load. ILS, VOR,GPS,NDB,LOC. You are using the GPS not the ILS signals, no vertical guidance available.

3. When very close to destination(25 nm or so,not critical), Press [Proc] key. Highlight [activate approach] using small and large knobs as required.

4. You will see a magenta line on the GPS from your destination to a point approx. 10 nm away. Set heading bug to your current heading. Select HDG on AP control panel and set your heading bug so that your aircraft will cross or intercept that extended line. You don't have to cross the magenta part of the line, just anywhere along the imaginary extended continuation of that line. Set HSI course pointer to DTK (Desired Track) shown on LH side of GPS. This is for correct reference only, it has no effect on navigation.

5. Heading intercept angle should be less than 45 degrees. Once established on the intercept heading and cleared for approach, select NAV on autopilot control panel. AP will intercept GPS course. Altitude control is up to you. Use rule of thumb, 300 feet per mile AGL (Above Ground Level). 15nm=4500 ft., 10nm =3000 ft., 5nm=1500 ft.,etc.. Set altitude selector to 500 feet AGL ,above airport altitude found in MAP mode. Hold that until intercepting the VASI or PAPI, if installed on the runway,then Autopilot and flight director off.

What your doing is using the GPS in good weather to line up with the runway via GPS approach courses for a Visual approach.

Note: If the approach doesn't have the runway number in the name(VOR-A,NDB-B) you may not be completely lined up with the runway as you approach. You will have to turn slightly (normally not more than 30 degrees) to line up with the runway. 🙂

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