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Updating Your Global Positioning System?

The following was taken from a daily occurrence report:

In IFR conditions, a Saab 340 with 20 people on board was cleared for the approach into an MF [mandatory frequency] aerodrome. It was on short final when the FSS staff observed a Robinson RH22 inbound near the approach path to the runway.

The helo was not in radio contact with FSS and was not monitoring the MF. The Saab pilot was able to land safely and saw the helicopter on short final.

FSS staff approached the pilot of the helicopter after it landed and the pilot said [that] he had been communicating on 118.0 [MHz] (that frequency had been decommissioned [three] years previously). He said [that] this frequency was provided by his GPS equipment, but, on [being] questioned, admitted that the GPS database had not been updated for "a couple of years." He did not consult his copy of the [Canada] Flight Supplement, which was on the seat beside him, because he was "too busy." When FSS staff asked for his name, the pilot declined to give it, and said [that] "[he hoped] nothing would come of this.

Upon departure, the pilot did not file a flight plan; rather, he flew on a company flight note.

Weather at the time of the incident was 700 ft. broken [and] 2000 ft. overcast, [with] visibility 5 mi. in light rain and fog.

Communicating on the right frequency in an MF is mandatory, but it should also be too easy. Having an up-to-date Canada Flight Supplement and looking at it or getting your GPS database updated regularly may cost a few dollars, but a mid-air collision could ruin the day for a lot of people.

Originally Published: ASL 4/1997
Original Article: Updating Your Global Positioning System?

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