Fly Responsibly with User Waypoints

On a recent flight over the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range I spotted a prominent landmark — Half Dome — a massive rock formation at the end of the valley at Yosemite National Park. While I had an idea of where it may be located from looking at the Sectional Chart, I didn't know exactly where it was since it was not marked on the Garmin G1000 system I was using to navigate.

Flying over these national treasures is an immense pleasure, but it is important to do so responsibly. When flying over national parks and wilderness areas, the FAA requests that pilots fly at least 2,000 feet above the highest point in the area to minimize the disturbance to visitors and wildlife. It is therefore worth marking these locations on the moving map display to help you fly responsibly and minimize the chances of further regulation, as have been adopted over some tourist destinations such as the Grand Canyon.

Knowing the park was beneath me, I was flying high enough not to create a disturbance. But by creating simple user waypoints I am now reminded where this popular national park is on my moving map.

Creating a user waypoint is generally simple on any panel mounted GPS, MFD or other moving map display. On the G1000, you simply push the range joystick on the MFD, move the cursor to the location of your desired waypoint and push ENT. You then select a name for the waypoint with the FMS knob and push ENT. If you want to create a user waypoint at your current location, you simply go to the waypoint page with the FMS knob, push the NEW softkey, name the waypoint and push ENT.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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