Any way to do RNAV Navigation without GPS?

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amrick615
Airman Basic
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Joined: 17 Sep 2023, 12:57

Any way to do RNAV Navigation without GPS?

Post by amrick615 »

Hello All!

I was doing a flight on Vatsim from KSBA to KSNA via VOR-to-VOR navigation. I'm training myself to not use a GPS and only rely on the radio stack. About 30 nm from KSNA, the controller told me to proceed direct to the airport. Thankfully, I was already on an appropriate heading to the SLI VOR such that I can just continue straight, but how exactly would I do this in a situation where I didn't have that advantage? As far as I understand, the radio stack wouldn't be able to assist me, right? I basically just use Navigraph charts to verify my position and track, but it kinda feels like cheating while I'm trying to practice proper pilotage and dead reckoning.

Is using maps just going to be the answer here or is there a way to leverage the radio stack?

Thank you!

amrick615
Airman Basic
Posts: 2
Joined: 17 Sep 2023, 12:57

Re: Any way to do RNAV Navigation without GPS?

Post by amrick615 »

After doing some light research, I think I had a fundamental misunderstanding about what RNAV means.

If I can revise the original question a bit, how exactly do I proceed direct to an airport like KSNA, where there’s no VOR to help direct me? (Hopefully I’m not misunderstanding plenty more by asking that :lol:)

flapman
Staff Sergeant
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Joined: 10 Oct 2013, 21:35

Re: Any way to do RNAV Navigation without GPS?

Post by flapman »

"Unable, I'm only filed slash alpha."

:mrgreen:

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jeepinforfun
Technical Sergeant
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Joined: 06 Dec 2013, 23:58

Re: Any way to do RNAV Navigation without GPS?

Post by jeepinforfun »

Usually, a Vatsim comptroller knows from your flightplan what avionics you have in your plane and will not ask you to do anything beyond those limitations. Beyond that, as a pilot you should know where you are at all times using your map, time and distance and visual clues below you. From there you should have an idea of which direction your destination is if asked to go direct.

When doing your flightplan to an airport with no VOR it is good practice to find the intersection of your destination using two other VOR's when possible. This is easy to do using PlanG, Lil Navmap or any other flightplan service or even drawing your flightplan on a paper map using compass and ruler.

When asked to go direct you can also ask ATC for a course and distance to the airport by first saying you are unfamiliar with the area. Hope this helps a bit, I'm not an expert.
Take care, Brett

SWLights/AccuFeel/Cub/Mustang/Skyhawk/Cherokee/Skylane/Comanche/Thunderbolt/Spitfire/FlyingFortress/Stratocruiser

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MkIV Hvd
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Re: Any way to do RNAV Navigation without GPS?

Post by MkIV Hvd »

amrick615 wrote: 17 Sep 2023, 13:04 Hello All!

I was doing a flight on Vatsim from KSBA to KSNA via VOR-to-VOR navigation. I'm training myself to not use a GPS and only rely on the radio stack. About 30 nm from KSNA, the controller told me to proceed direct to the airport. Thankfully, I was already on an appropriate heading to the SLI VOR such that I can just continue straight, but how exactly would I do this in a situation where I didn't have that advantage? As far as I understand, the radio stack wouldn't be able to assist me, right? I basically just use Navigraph charts to verify my position and track, but it kinda feels like cheating while I'm trying to practice proper pilotage and dead reckoning.

Is using maps just going to be the answer here or is there a way to leverage the radio stack?

Thank you!
Hello amrick615 and welcome to the forum!

That’s a good question that deserves a more comprehensive answer than this one, but the process for accomplishing that is all part of basic pilotage and radio navigation. The idea is to look at two different VORs and plot on a map the radials and distances from the VOR to the waypoint; in this case KSNA. It’s a bit of a ponderous process and certainly one that wouldn’t be very user friendly in the scenario you’ve described, but the idea is to pick appropriate VORs to use. There are lots of VORs to choose from and here, I think I’d use LAX and SXC. I’ve found Skyvector to always be a good resource for flight planning stuff and a quick look shows KSNA to be 32 nm from LAX on the 107° radial and 33 nm from SXC on the 042° radial. So, what we’d do is set up NAV 1 on 113.6 and 107° and NAV 2 on 114.15 and 042°. The last part of the process is to use your map and Mk1 eyeball to come up with a rough heading to get you started. When both CDIs are centered, you should be over KSNA.

Now, having said all that, I would never try to pull this off in the middle of LAX airspace! You didn’t say whether you were flying IFR or VFR, but I suspect IFR, in which case it would have been appropriate for you to have asked the controller for a vector…if and only if, you’ve filed an equipment suffix of /A, indicating that you don’t have RNAV capability. If your flight plan indicates that you do have RNAV capability, then you’d be expected to use that rather than ask for vectors.

I hope that makes sense and is somewhat useful!!

Cheers,
Rob
Rob Wilkinson
A2A: Civilian Mustang, T-6, Bonanza, Comanche, Cub, C182, Spitfire, P-40, Cherokee, P-51 - VATSIM P4 and some other stuff...

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