I've just completed my cross country solo flight this weekend which I'm delighted about! Everything went smoothly except that the wind was quite rough and there were a few showers kicking around. The reduced visibility after departure (due to some showers) threw me a bit. I even contemplated turning back but noted that the weather was significantly better just 10 miles further ahead so kept going. I always had the surface in sight and was able to dodge between the showers and remain clear of cloud. In any case, I decided to purchase a GPS so that when I'm flying to other locations after qualifying I will always have a better idea of where I am, even if the weather does take a turn for the worse.
So I've just bought a SkyDemon Mobile MD GPS. Having read a lot of information on the various GPS systems on offer, this one impressed me the most for the budget I have. Does anyone have experience of using these and if so do you think I've made the right choice?
I'll respond further to this topic when it actually arrives and let you know how I get on with it.
So was I. I guess my instructor thought the showers would clear fairly quickly - which they largely did - and then the vis was excellent. The wind was still quite choppy though, but I've flown in worse - albeit not solo.
Ive had the SkyDemon MD since November of last year, wouldn't fly anywhere without it to be honest, not mainly for nav work, but mainly for airspace and NOTAMs, which are depicted visually. I like the way it prints your plog for you and gives you frequencies which could be used en route. Granted the screen isn't that good when the sun is shining on it, so a bubble canopy may not go so well with it. I bought a yoke mount from RAM Mount too, because the sucker that is provided isn't very clever in my opinion. The lads who are in the share with me are against GPS because they are old school, but slowly when I go flying with them they are asking me to bring it with me. It certainly came in handy when I went to Le Touquet recently, especially around the new class D near Manston!
I decided to purchase a GPS so that when I'm flying to other locations after qualifying I will always have a better idea of where I am, even if the weather does take a turn for the worse.
Just remember that you need to have a backup system for nav purposes. Those whom I have flown with who use GPS, use it in addition to their other normal nav techniques (Dead Reckoning / use of traditional navaids) rather than instead of them. They create a PLOG (perhaps by printing it out from Sky Demon), write the route on a paper map. Then in the air they fly their plog, noting their time at each point, but then confirm their position using the GPS.
In less than ideal weather, it certainly makes cloud dodging much easier, but I wouldn't totally rely on it. A software issue, signal issue (jamming...), battery issue etc could leave you in trouble.
I don't intend to use the GPS as my only form of navigation. It would leave me in big trouble if something went wrong with it! It'll be nice to just have that little bit of extra assurance as to where I am though. The groundspeed aspect will also help me establish whether my initial wind calculations were correct too, which will be handy.
What I actually meant was that I've found on a few occasions the forecast wind - and my related calculations - have not resulted in correct timings over waypoints. As a result I have had to modify my ETAs in the air a few times. My calculations were correct as per the forecast wind, so the actual wind must have been different. GPS will help me work out whether the forecast wind and actual wind are similar by reference to my expected ground speed and actual groundspeed. This will allow me to make minor corrections without the need to get lost, if I'm not mistaken?
I think that drift rather than groundspeed is more likely to result in "temporary uncertainty of position" although both might play a part. I don't feel I should knock the standard wizzwheel teaching for students whilst you are pre licence, since I suppose it has some theoretical academic learning value, but chuck it away once you have a licence all the same...