Fly Away Simulation

I wanna fly VOR 2 VOR!!

RCNextGen Guest


I am having some trouble on the flight planner. I want to fly way point to way point like real pilots would...(thats vor to vor isn't it?)

But when I put in heathrow (london) to Kennedy intl and select vor to vor it tells me it can't find the route and I should try the direct gps method. When I select low altitude or high altitude it sends me round the world the wrong way to get to kennedy, its like via hong kong or something crazy!!

Am i doing something wrong or can you only fly direct/gps rounds of MFS2004?

thanks in advance for your help!


Don Wood Guest

VOR is not realistic as a navigation method on trans-oceanic routes. Because VOR's transmit on VHF, it is a line-of-sight method. Depending on terrain, the aircraft's altitude, and the transmitter power output of the VOR, range is limited to a maximum of a few hundred miles at most and often significantly less.

For that reason, prior to the age of INS, LORAN, and lately, GPS, trans-oceanic aircrews included a navigator whose job it was to keep track of current location and determine courses to fly to reach a destination.

In order to reliably navigate on VOR's, you must be able to receive the next VOR on your planned course before losing the signal from the last one - not possible across oceans and many land-masses in less deeloped parts of the world.


Most transatlantic routes are flown via VOR's, airways, and coordinates.

Look at this flight plan from JFK to LHR:


Notice how it has the coordinates? (5248N, 5340N etc). It also has VOR's (HTO, WOD etc.)

Pro Member Captain
John Hodges (originalgrunge) Captain

You need to use an alternate flight planner to do most of those flights legitimately. I have the same problem as you with the default planner. There are tons of freeware sites out there, but as far as entering the data to FS that's another story all together. I'd reccomend getting a freeware version of FSBuild. I'm not sure which features are deactivated for the freeware version, but in the payware you can manually type in your route as it is listed in the post above and it can turn it into a FS flight plan for you. Alternatively, you could custom build the route, and even download the daily NATs! (North-Atlantic-Tracks, or flight routes based on wind and direction (east to west or west to east) that are established daily).

Pro Member Captain
nottobe Captain

sorry I dont quite understand: why many simmers or even real world pilots are not willing to accept GPS? its so precise and easy to use, and it covers every single inch of the world.......

Pro Member Captain
John Hodges (originalgrunge) Captain

Well Don Wood can certainly speak about the genuine aviation standpoint much better, but even from a hiking standpoing, a GPS unit is EXPENSIVE. To get one that has no map capability, just for elevation, lat, and longitude can cost 100-300$ state-side. To get one with map capabilities, that's in the 5-600$ range, and that makes it only capable of displaying maps. You have to purchase each region separately, and usually the regions are relatively small. I can only imagine the cost of an advanced flight GPS if the personal ones can go so high!

VORs are universal, and accessible to everyone in any type of craft regardless of budget. There's no "do you have the right model? the right memory chip? the right version of ther garmin. etc. etc." Through VORs you are pretty much garunteed to be able to understand the instructions ATC is giving you, or has laid out in charts. Also, say it's a cloudy day, there's no searching for enough sattelites to triangulate a position, it's already being reported to you.

And if you wonder why airlines don't use GPS systems instead of their FMC's, the simple answer is that the FMC's do WAY more than a GPS ever could =).

Pro Member First Officer
Jason (Av8r77) First Officer

GPS does not cover the entire world. There are some "dead spots" where you cannot get a good signal.

Besides, GPS is not as accurate as one may think. The codes that are used by the GPS are scrambled for civilian users. In order to get a good Figure of Merit from the satellites, you need to have classified cryptovariables loaded into your system.

A lot of aircraft utilize something called an Inertial Navigation System that goes hand in hand with the GPS.

Pro Member Trainee
nicam Trainee

Hey FMC use GPS to navigate!

I have a personal GPS which I use in my car and it work just fine clouds or no clouds. It has a 5m (16f) accuracy. it cost me USD$550 and it has voice and 3D map guidance.

Pro Member Captain
Sam (SamIntel) Captain

nottobe wrote:

sorry I dont quite understand: why many simmers or even real world pilots are not willing to accept GPS? its so precise and easy to use, and it covers every single inch of the world.......

I don't like to use GPS because in the real world you might not always have a GPS. But if I get lost in FS, then I use it.

Don Wood Guest

For the guest who pointed out trans-oceanic routes plans have some VOR's in them, you misunderstood my point. Of course VOR's can be used on the land and near-land legs of the routes. They cannot be used on the trans-oceanic legs because for most of those routes, the aircraft is out of reception range of any VOR. The flight plan you provided illustrates that.

Nottobe asked why all aircraft do not have GPS. For me, there are three reasons.
1. I have no room on my panel for a GPS screen large enough to be useful in flight. The little hand-held screens are too small.
2. The added weight of the GPS equipment reduces my useful load. In the hot desert where I live, every pound matters.
3. Useful GPS aircraft equipment is expensive and so is its installation. For the utility I might get from it, the cost outweighs the benefit. Many of us GA pilots do not have bottemless wallets. I can do just fine navigating by pilotage or VOR/NDB. Fortunately, there are now few, if any, places in the mainland USA where VOR coverage does not exist.

A number of my friends fly much older aircraft than mine with very rudimentary electrical systems. They feel fortunate if they have one comm radio and one nav radio.

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