On a recent flight, the controller cleared me for an “RNAV departure”. I am quite familiar and have flown RNAV approaches many times but I don’t know what an “RNAV departure” is. I flew the SID in the filed flight plan exactly as published and all was well. Did I do right ? if there is a difference between flying the SID “as published” and “RNAV departure”, what’s the difference ?
Well, it depends. Many SIDs today are RNAV meaning they are defined by LAT/LON for use of GPS systems etc. But other SIDs might still be defined by radials and distances to VORs or NDBs. As long as you flew the SID according to the description you’re good.
Examples of an RNAV and conventional SID. The RNAV SID includes GNSS waypoints which are not based on fixed navigation aids. The conventional SID can be flown using conventional (VOR and NDB) navigation, however as these navaids also have GPS coordinates you can simply select the SID in the FMS/FMC/MCDU/etc.