Northstar built an excellent reputation when Loran was king. Their Loran units were highly sophisticated, yet they remained the among the easiest to use. If you have operated a Northstar M1 Loran, you already know how to use an M3 GPS! The Northstar M3 GPS Navigator functions just like the "Approach" version, but it is restricted to VFR operation when used as the primary navigation source. The Northstar M3 GPS Navigator performs the following GPS functions:
- Pre-flight planning - The unit can tell you the distance and bearing to your destination, the distance and bearing of any leg in your flight plan, or the total flight plan distance. It can also tell you if any portion of your flight plan will pass through restricted airspace.
- Position finding - When operating in flight, the M3 always knows where it is and can provide the bearing and distance to any point in the database.
- Direct navigation- Regardless of your location, you can choose a destination from any waypoint in the database, and the M3 will guide you there directly.
- Route navigation - The M3 can automatically follow any of 100 user routes, as well as any Victor airway or Jet route.
- Controlled airspace alert - If your current or future track will take you near restricted airspace, the Airalert feature will warn you and either help you avoid the airspace or enter it legally.
The only down side to the M3 is that it does not have an internal moving map. It may, however, be used to provide position information to an external moving map, such as an Argus display. This combination gives you the flexibility to show navigation information on the Northstar M3 GPS Navigator, plus a larger display! Other Northstar M3 GPS Navigator features include:
- High intensity alphanumeric LED display - The left and right sides are independent, allowing you to tailor the information to your needs. Automatic brightness control makes certain that the display is readable in sunlight, but not too bright at night.
- Pilot-focused operations - The M3 has great features for pilots, such as the Airalert airspace warning (Class B, Class C, SUA). There is also an internal electronic CDI. The full range of standard GPS navigation calculations are included.
- Ease of use - The best feature of the M3 is its ultra simple and straightforward operation. Even the controls are simple, with dual concentric knobs and illuminated pushbuttons. This GPS proves that powerful does not have to be complicated.
- Peace of mind - An emergency search will bring up the closest airports, based on your current position.
- Database capability - The Jeppesen database is comprehensive. It includes the following: Airports (including frequencies, elevation, and runway data), VOR, NDB, Intersections, Class B, Class C, and Special Use Airspace (SUA), Victor and Jet airways, and GPS approaches. There is also space for 250 user-defined waypoints and 100 user routes (flight plans). These database cards are user replaceable, which makes it much easier to keep the data up-to-date.
- Compatibility - The M3 GPS is compatible with an external CDI, HSI, Autopilot, Flight Director, and Blind Encoder. Even though this GPS does not have an internal Moving Map, it may be used to provide position information to an external Moving Map.