As to be expected, I’ve already been on the receiving end of some good humored ribbing about using modern navigation on this trip. My pilot friends who hail from the times when loran navigation wasn’t even a concept are razzing me about using a GPS. They are saying, “A GPS!? You should use an old paper map like they did when the Prince was new.” And because the purist in me feels a twinge of guilt, I have spent more than a few minutes mulling over the decision to use satellite navigation and justifying my choice to do so. Here are some great justifications: 1) I don’t want to get lost. Especially when I am east of the Rockies where ground features are nil and I won’t’ always be following the roads. Also, it can become quite hazy, reducing flight visibility and making it challenging to navigate. 2) I’ve spent years navigating solely with my finger tracing my flight path on a sectional while muttering to myself, “OK, here’s where the power line crosses that road, there should be a funny looking lake ahead, there’s those hills, now it should be right around here somehere….. oh geez where in the heck is the airport? I should be right over it. Oh! I AM right over it”! (sigh of relief). So I’ve more than proven to myself that I am quite adept at old school navigation. 3) And this one is embarassing; I have become quite spoiled/lazy over the years flying modern jets with satellite navigation. It’s a nice feeling to watch your estimated time en route counting down, how much fuel will be remaining at destination, and other the other myriad details that are so relevant and constantly updated . It relieves a lot of work and stress. 4) And dammit (this is the kicker), does anyone in their right mind think that Mr. Charles Lindbergh himself wouldn’t have opted for a GPS to supplement his way across the Atlantic? I daresay we all know the answer to that.
But in spite of all my justification gyrations which make taking a GPS with me seem the only logical choice, the barnstormer in me still does feel a wee bit sheepish. Not enough obviously, but I sure hope Richard Bach doesn’t find out.