I was working with another CFI this week who wanted more practice on using the Garmin 430. The sim provides an ideal venue for doing this, and I had been taking full advantage of it, putting him into all sorts of scenarios involving the 430. One completely unplanned teaching experience occurred however, and it is well worth sharing with readers.
He had been working through a series of exercises using the FPL0 page. He was on a route from KANE (north of Minneapolis) to KSTC, about 50 miles northwest of KANE. There is an intersection between the two airports, named PLUGS intersection. I asked the student to modify his route in FPL0, so that he would first go to PLUGS and then to KSTC. So he went to the FPL0 page, turned on the cursor, scrolled down to where he wanted to insert the PLUGS waypoint and started the necessary knob twirling to insert the waypoint. By the time he got to the “U” position, the 430 had enough information to try an auto-complete of the waypoint. So it completed the waypoint as shown below.
He then proceeded to hit ENT and PLUGG was inserted into FPL0. In this case, however, the 430 had led him astray. The intersection he wanted to insert was PLUGS. However there is a PLUGG intersection, but it happens to be in the southeast part of the country. A quick “sanity check” would have prevented the error. The lesson here is to always check the waypoint you are inserting is really the one you want. The GPS will try to help you out by auto-completing waypoints, but you must always check what it is helpfully offering to you.