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Flying Vectors

Pro Member First Officer
Andrew (AJWatson2209) First Officer

What does it mean to fly vectors? I hear it being called when im flying online they say fly vectorious or words to that effect and im not sure what they mean. Is it the way points that im flying?!?

Please can someone help me out here?

8 Responses

Pro Member First Officer
PH First Officer

Under IFR for example you will be given "vectors " to the final approach track whether it is ILS/VOR/NDB etc does not matter. Basically a vector is a heading to fly.
ATC:"MYT832 you are 15 miles south and will be vectored for an ILS approach RW 23."
Translated.... stick to the headings we give you until you are happy to continue visually or intercept the ILS etc

Pro Member First Officer
Andrew (AJWatson2209) First Officer

oh, is that it 😛 hehe

THanks

Pro Member Chief Captain
Matthew Shope (mypilot) Chief Captain

Again vectors are routes, you will see them on charts. Routes that you can take from VOR to VOR and occasionaly intersections. i.e. you could take V67 (vector 67) which goes from LAX VOR to PSP VOR.

Pro Member First Officer
PH First Officer

My pilot, I think you mean Victor routes or airways?

Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

I don't know if that's correct exactly.

A vector is just that, an "arrow" pointing to a place, a direction. The routes mypilot is talking about are called "airways". High or low level, V or Z or R (like R13 or UR13, Z501, V62 etc), they are "roads in the sky". Some are VOR to VOR, others are not (Z airways for example are RNAV I think). It would be interesting if someone had a link with an explanation of all the letters - if there is one.

Vectors are, as I said, just directions in the sky. When ATC informs you "expect vectors for ILS approach, runway XX", they just mean "from now on forget about your flight plan, forget about charts and approaches. WE will direct you, using vectors, arrows, directions in the sky". Basically, when they tell you "turn left heading 060", that's a vector. It's a direction pointing east-north-east, to your left Wink

Pro Member Chief Captain
Matthew Shope (mypilot) Chief Captain

Oh, I thought it was vectors, all it has on the chart is V, so...

Don Wood Guest

Bindolaf is almost correct. The aviation meaning of "vectors" are directions from ATC for a route of flight that the controller wants the aircraft to fly, often but not always, on an approach. The slight correction I want to make is that a vector always involves a change of direction to a specific heading.

For instance, if you are are on the base course for a final approach and ATC transmits "Wifebeater 207, intercept the RW30 ILS, cleared for the approach", that clearance involves a turn but would not be considered a vector. On the other hand, if ATC transmits "Wifebeater 207, turn right heading 090, intercept the RW30 localizer, cleared for the approach", that is a vector because it involves a turn to a specific heading.

The "arrow in the sky" bit seems a little misleading to me because it infers there is an established route the controller is putting you on. That is not the case. The controller will route you to varying points in the sky depending on flow control, other traffic, sometimes weather conditions, or other circumstances.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Matthew Shope (mypilot) Chief Captain

What would we do without you Don Wood? 😀

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