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Which of these 32 optional equipment upgrades would you insist on when instructing?

(Very basic) Radio Navigation is part of the PPL syllabus, so a VOR receiver and a CDI should be onboard…ADF is becoming obsolete in many countries so it really depends.
All the other equipment is a very nice to have but, in my opinion, they tend to distract the student that will start looking inside much more and depending more on what’s on the panel, developing bad habits instead of consolidating the basics of VFR flying.
But for a student flying solo ADSB-IN and an iPad with Skydemon can increase safety and peace of mind.

EHLE LIMB, Netherlands

How would the particular GPS application affect e.g. a PPL examiner’s assessment of performance

Mostly because examiners (of PPL) seldom have any clue whatsoever about “modern” VFR navigation.

Of course they should be able to in terms of the actual results, but when the syllabus is all about magnetic deviation and similar irrelevant concepts for the results when using SD, the whole thing becomes hopeless.

It’s the price we all have to pay solely due to GA being stuck in the 1960s.

The other side of this, is if all old tech was to be abolished, then SD or similar for sure will be mandatory. This is IMO a worse situation.

The elephant is the circulation
ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

I found the responses really interesting (and varied) as you might expect on this forum.

Of the original list, the one feature that I miss most is a heading bug. I find it useful even in the circuit (align it with the runway, then position at 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 9’oclock etc. to get a rough idea of what direction you should be flying (ignoring wind-drift). Plus helps confirm which runway you should be landing/taking off from. Then of course very helpful when learning to fly straight and for VFR navigation. I had one student who seriously asked me if he could train for his CBIR without a heading bug. He did manage the IRR without one but thankfully subsequently upgraded to a new aircraft for the more advanced course.

As an instructor, I absolutely need my own noise cancelling headset, and it was only when it broke last month that I realised just how loud and distracting the ordinary ones are. Most clubs have cheap basic headsets, which then encourage the more dedicated/enthusiastic/wealthier students to buy their own (and look after them). I agree it’s an expensive and fairly delicate item to offer, and only one club I work for does that. I really liked one student who had two Bose hard-wired in with storage hooks in the cabin ceiling – there were no batteries to run out at inconvenient moments.

Again at PPL level, I much prefer an eHSI with a diamond track indicator. Some would say it’s cheating, and that the method of positioning the diamond for the track you want and setting the heading bug to keep it there is cheating. But in reality, I suspect it’s what many PPL pilots at all levels actually do. For that to work properly, it does need a GPS navigation box to drive it, but I usually limit PPL instruction to configuring a VOR and entering Direct-To with the correct CDI mode.

Peter’s impression of PPL navigation training is undoubtedly still the case at some schools. However, all the schools I instruct at do insist on teaching the basic navigation methods first – create a plog, fly the calculated heading for the calculated time, and students continue to be amazed that this gets them to their planned turning points. But once that’s mastered, and for solo navigation flights, the student is permitted to carry a tablet/app and encouraged to cross check from time to time. I don’t require any student to learn how to use the whizz-wheel because at PPL level it’s permitted to use a flight computer (I lend them mine for the theory test). We want them to be prepared and trained for how they would actually fly after they’ve passed their test, not have to learn that for themselves afterwards.

There has been an initiative in the UK to install low cost electronic CO2 detectors, but that doesn’t seem to have worked through to most schools. Based on @Gallois costing of 1% per hour, the 25 Euros would result in an hourly rate increase of 25cents. The dates on those old cardboard detectors are often illegible, incomplete and don’t state expiry (only date opened). I would have thought the payback period for school investments would at least 1,000 hours (or more), so 0.1% per hour might be more realistic.

I’ve not had a problem with tablet overheating for many years. The newer tablets (iPad mini 6) seem to have lower power consumption, combined with not being set on full brightness and not charging in flight has not failed me.

For IFR training, I feel that both a GPS and eHSI are pretty much mandatory these days. For those thinking of progressing on to CPL/IR, you learn techniques that would then follow through to the commonly used G1000 on a Diamond DA42.

FlyerDavidUK, PPL & IR Instructor
EGBJ, United Kingdom

Peter’s impression of PPL navigation training is undoubtedly still the case at some schools. However, all the schools I instruct at do insist on teaching the basic navigation methods first – create a plog, fly the calculated heading for the calculated time, and students continue to be amazed that this gets them to their planned turning points

It is far from just my impression. It indeed does work – except when it doesn’t, and then the air in the school goes rather quiet, with the FIs worriedly waiting for a phone call from the student who landed, hopefully in one piece, somewhere else, or perhaps in a field Been there, seen it… the nature of getting lost is that you are quite sure of your position until some time after “the mistake”.

That is incidentally why, IME, all “cross channel fly-outs” had an FI in the RHS.

encouraged to cross check from time to time

That is however not using GPS properly. It is like using a Trabant to tow a VW Golf, in case the Trabant breaks down and then you have the Golf. Proper integration of GPS is a different thing.

Anyway, we’ve done all this before. Obviously I am in favour of GPS. I just pointed out the challenges in getting it formalised. And I can overheat my Ipad Mini anytime

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
44 Posts
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