- Introduction The three Q routes over the northern portion of the Gulf of Mexico, Q100, Q102, and Q105, have different navigation equipment requirements and are not the same as the RNAV Q routes over the continental United States. Operators flying any of the three routes require aircraft equipped with a long-range navigation system, as defined in 14 CFR Part 1, § 1.1. Operators may not rely on ground-based navigation aids alone for operations on the three Gulf Q routes.
- For U.S. commercial operators, i.e., those operating under 14 CFR Parts 91 subpart K, 121, 125, and 135, navigation systems acceptable for flying the Gulf Q routes are those incorporating and/or inertial systems inputs, and authorized in their Operations Specification/Management Specification/Letter of Authorization B034. For operators flying under part 91, an acceptable long-range navigation system is one approved for IFR navigation and incorporating and/or inertial system inputs. Operators' Airplane Flight Manual, Pilot Operating Handbook, avionics manual, or other manufacturer-provided documentation should reference AC 20-138 as the source of guidance for airworthiness approval of applicable positioning and navigation systems.
- Pilots should fly the route centerlines at all times and must notify Air Traffic Control (ATC) of any loss of navigation capability that affects the aircraft's ability to track the route centerline. Pilots must not use Strategic Lateral Offset Procedures (SLOP) on the three Gulf Q routes.
- Aircraft without -based capability that are relying on inertial navigation systems to fly the three Gulf Q routes are limited to 1.5 consecutive hours between inertial position updates (e.g., a update of the inertial navigation system). Timing of the 1.5-hour limit begins when automatic updates of the inertial navigation system are no longer available or immediately following the flight crew's manual inertial system position update.
Routes Q100 and Q102 are co-designated Y280 and Y290 respectively. The route filed in the flight plan governs the navigation equipment and performance requirements. Filing for Y280 on the route designated Q100/Y280 requires the aircraft to be equipped with GNSS and flown with 2 performance on that route, in accordance with section ENR 7.10.
ATC normally provides radar monitoring along the three Gulf Q routes. Pilots can expect ATC to advise them when radar monitoring is unavailable and to adjust aircraft separation as necessary.