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VOR approach

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

I have read the links in the sticky at the top of this forum, as well as Rod Macahado's flight school lessons but I still don't get the VOR approach. Is there any chance someone could explain it to me in the same easy to understand terms as Don Wood's ILS approach? These long essays just aren't working for me...

Thanks a lot in advance for any help, JTH 🙂

Pro Member First Officer
Martin (Blake14) First Officer

There isn't much to VOR approaches. If you read the charts step by step as indicated, you should be fine. Keep in mind that the VOR puts you in a position for a landing, but not with great position as the ILS. The VOR is a means of getting correctly alligned and in the vicinity of the runway.

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain
Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Are you meant to use VOR in conjunction with ILS? RadarMan, the topic I was referring to in the original post was that sticky. The links given for VOR are really long and complicated and unfortunately a little hard to understand 😳 So anyone care to make just a very quick guide to how I would make a VOR approach?

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

JTH,
Sorry, see if this is better, they seem to think so.

Read https://forum.flyawaysimulation.com/forum/topic/8619/vor-approach/

Radar

Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

RadarMan wrote:

JTH,
Sorry, see if this is better, they seem to think so.

Read https://forum.flyawaysimulation.com/forum/topic/8619/vor-approach/

Radar

I've just added that post to the sticky post on approaches. Its a very good guide by Bindolaf 👍

Pro Member Chief Captain
RadarMan Chief Captain

99jolegg wrote:

RadarMan wrote:

JTH,
Sorry, see if this is better, they seem to think so.

Read https://forum.flyawaysimulation.com/forum/topic/8619/vor-approach/

Radar

I've just added that post to the sticky post on approaches. Its a very good guide by Bindolaf 👍

👍 Sounds good to me. It'll give them more of a choice.

Radar

Guest

Thanks that was interesting. One question though. How do you get to the VOR station in the first place? Say I am at an airport and the VOR that will guide me to my destination airport is 50 miles away, surely by tuning the VOR station when I am just leaving the original airport I will be too far away? So how do I know which direction to go to get in the vicinity of the VOR?

P.S. Is VOR only used in VFR flight? In other words, for all big flights will I need not worry about it?

Pro Member First Officer
lkw First Officer

Setup a VOR flight plan with somthing other than gps and the stations will be on the plan. You take off and fly the course in the flight plan taking you from station to station. If you select map and click on a station it well tell you the frequency of the station. You can use the world map even if you do not set a flight plan. 🙂



Last edited by lkw on Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total
Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

Starting with the last question: VORs are used (mainly) for IFR flights. VOR means you are looking at the ground and flying to and from landmarks. I suppose you can "cheat" and check for VORs here and there, but it's not the main tool of VFR navigation.

As for your main question, a few quick remarks. An airport has an area of sky around it that it "owns". It's called a TMA and you can imagine it thus:

The airport is a farm and all around it there is a fence. On the fence there are gates (let's say 4 or 5). These are the only entry and exit points to the farm. If you want to leave the farm you can't just run willy nilly along the fields, because you might upset the pigs, or the sheep, or the horses. Therefore, our good farmer has cut paths leading from the main farmhouse (the runways) to the gates (the entry/exit points to the TMA). These paths, called SID (Standard Instrument Departures) are specific procedures for getting from the runway to the exit point (which is usually an intersection). From there, you join an airway leading to a VOR.

The reverse procedures (for getting from a TMA entry point to the runway) are called STAR (Standard Arrivals) and are basically the same thing: Instrument procedures on how to fly safely inside a crowded airspace.

As you may have guessed, these are IFR procedures, but contrary to popular opinion, VFR flights don't just take off and do whatever they like. There are "standard" VFR departures too, with mandatory report points and the like.

Let me know if you all have any corrections, questions etc.

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Bindolaf, that makes a lot of sense - thanks a lot!

But how come whenever I fly IFR in my Cessna 172/182SP, I never need to use VOR? ATC just gives me info on instructions, altitude etc. Basically they look after the whole flight for me.

Also, just to clarify, how do you know when you're on an exit point from a TMA? Do you just fly the runway heading? Or do you just tune the first VOR station from the ground using the frequency in your chart and fly straight to there?

Thanks once again for all the great help 😂

Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

ATC only gives you instructions if you stray off course. Initially I suppose it will vector you and after that say "maintain own navigation". That's fine for FS2004 ATC and you need nothing further. But if you're flying "as real as it gets" or on VATSIM it's better to know about SID.

First, here is (part of) the Athens TMA in Greece.

Notice the airport (the blue circle with "Eleftherios Venizelos INTL" over it and then notice the thin grey- blue line to the west and north. Do you see? It connects intersections, from left bottom and clockwise: NEMES, RILIN, PIKAD, GERMI, ABLON, NEVRA. These are the entry/exit points to the Athens TMA. If you want to enter inside the "box" surrounding the airport, you have to pass over one of these intersections (and some others, not depicted, continuing the "box" to the east and south).

So if you ask "ok, how do I do that?!". Answer in the next post 🙂

Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

Ok, to walk the little garden paths from the farmhouse to the gates (runway to TMA exit point). You will sometimes hear the phrase "fly published departure". They mean the SID (Standard Instrument Departure), a map showing you how to get from the runway to the exit, without colliding with other traffic.

Here is the SID for the aforementioned Athens Intl. Airport and specifically for departures from runway 21L (you can see, there are two runways 03L/21R and 03R/21L):

Don't let it confuse you!

The first question to ask yourself is: "My active runway is 21L. What is my exit point?". You will know the answer from the flight plan you have filed. The first fix on it, will be the TMA exit point. Let's say we're flying East/South East. We may want to head for VARIX then.

Next question is "how"? The SID explains that both as a graph and as text in the very bottom:

1. Climb runway heading (or to be more precise, follow the 205 radial of SPA VOR outbound) until you've reached 4000 feet.
2. Turn left, direct KEA VOR.
3. Passing KEA, follow the 105 radial outbound for 37 nm and you've reached VARIX.

Simple enough! That was the "VARI1F" departure (there are other VARIX departures for different runways, designated by different letters). Note also, the altitude restriction (over 6000 feet to VARIX, cross VARIX over 9000 feet etc)

Now, if you wanted to head north, to NEVRA? Note, the 03R/L runways would be simpler for that, but what can you do? Wind is not helpful today. So 21L it is!

Here's what you do:

1. Same as before, follow the 205 SPA radial outbound til you reach 4000 feet.
2. Same as before, turn left, direct KEA VOR.
3. Over KEA, turn and intercept the 016 radial outbound (direction north, you see).
4. Follow it for 28 nm (note again the altitude restriction) and you've reached KRO VOR (to double check, you're on the 196 radial to KRO, inbound, see?)
5. Intercept the 013 KRO radial outboubnd for 11 nm and there you are! NEVRA.

Note there are two SIDs called NEVRA 1F and 1H, which seem identical. The only difference (a big one though) is the minimum altitude passing NEVRA intersection.

STARS (Standard Arrivals) are similar, but "reversed". Have fun playing with SIDs and let me know if you need any more help.

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Thank you Bindolaf for another insightful and detailed answer, it has helped a lot with my understanding of TMAs.

So I went into Flight Planner and planned a flight from Eleftherios Venizelos Intl. to Ikaria airport with my Cessna 182. I was assigned runway 3 and headed off south-easterly towards Ikaria. I just followed ATC instructions as normal but I could not see how to use VORs. I clicked the map icon in my cockpit and saw that I passed fairly near to one of the VORs (KEA or KRO, I can't quite remember). I tuned that VOR station and flew towards it using my map but ATC just told me to get back on course and therefore I flew passed that VOR station.

So basically I still don't quite understand how to use VOR in Flight Sim to help me get from one place to the other. Once again, thanks a lot in advance for any help - I really appreciate all your patience in this issue!

Thanks again, JTH 🙂



Last edited by JTH on Tue Nov 22, 2005 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total
Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

If you want to complete a flight using an SID, en route VOR-to-VOR navigation, a STAR and a landing procedure, forget about default FS ATC. Best plan a flight yourself and execute it without ATC. Even better, fly it online Wink

If you still have trouble, let us know.

Don Wood Guest

Your first question related to approaches-your last one to navigation. These are two separate discussions.

For approaches, you first need to have a copy of the approach procedure for the airport at which you want to land. The charts already shown on this thread are SID's and STARs, not approaches. The approach chart will outline a set of procedures, using one or more VORs that must be flown for a safe arrival over the airport. Note that VOR approaches will often only direct you to the airport, not line you up with the landing runway.

VOR approaches may involve simply flying a specific heading from the VOR or it may require procedure turns or a DME arc in addition to the inbound leg. Some require either an NDB or a DME in order to know your position on the approach. The standard approach itself is straightforward. You overfly the VOR at a specified altitude and fly a specific heading outbound from the VOR, descending as the approach calls for. When you reach the Minimum Descent Altitude, you must either have the airport in sight or must execute a missed appoach. For example, at Caribou, Maine (CAR), you fly inbound on the 229 Radial of Presque Isle VOR (heading 049) until passing over the VOR at or above 3000 feet. Once outbound from the VOR, you fly heading 049. descending until you you reach the MDA which, for Caribou, is 1140 feet ASL or 520 feet AGL. Once you have the airport in sight, you circle to land on whichever of the four runways is in use.

VOR navigation is a way to get from one place to another, using defined airways that are established by reference to VOR's. In this case, you need an enroute navigation chart. It will show the airways, the VOR's and radials that form them, and the minimum enroute altitude for each segment of the airway. In the real world, point to point navigation is almost never provided by ATC except for very short flights in heavily used airspace. Even then, except in the early stages of the departure and the late stages of the arrival, navigation is usually the responsibility of the pilot.

A VOR airway will be identified as being a specific radial of a VOR until it reaches another specific point such as a DME fix or an intersection defined by another VOR radial or an ADF. Even if the airway remains the same heading, at some point, the definition of that airway will change from the earlier VOR to the next one in line. To navigate, you simply fly the course specified for the airway until you reach a change point and then fly the new course inbound to the later VOR.

Note that the last paragraph spoke of courses rather than headings. You must apply the correct wind drift correction to your heading to remain on the specified course line.

I believe there are lessons in the learning center (the IFR portion) that address these issues. Real world pilots require specific, intense training and practice to become IFR proficient. Even though FS9 is a game to some, there is no substitute for the basic knowledge and practice that develops proficiency.

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Don, to try and put all this into practice to get a better idea of what I am doing, I created an IFR flight from Bangor Intl, MN to Caribou, MN using a Cessna 182S. I selected the navigation type as "VOR to VOR".
Here is the flight plan I was given: http://photobucket.com/albums/y153/jth7/?action=viewĄt=FS2004.jpg

However, when I flew the flight I had some difficulties. The "Nav Log" tells me which heading to fly when over each VOR but not which radial to input into with the OBS knob. So say at BGR VOR it says to turn to heading 024 and I am currently flying my runway heading from Bangor Intl (let's call that heading 330 degrees) and am approaching BGR VOR. What do I do now? (what do I input with the OBS, when do I follow the needle etc?) If you could talk me through using VOR correctly on this example, I think I would finally grasp fully how it works.

Thanks a lot in advance for your and everyone else's time... JTH 🙂

Don Wood Guest

Heading selection for navigating on a VOR is quite simple. Set your OBS to the same as your desired heading. Flying away from a VOR, you should center the heading needle and the VOR indicator should read "from". If you are flying toward a VOR, center the needle and your indicator should read "to". You always have to make whatever heading corrections are necessary for wind drift to keep the needle centered.

My technique for overflying a VOR when the airway requires a change in direction is to continue flying the inbound heading until the needle starts to reverse (indicating you are passing over the VOR). I then turn to the heading for the new course and set the OBS to the new course. Close in to the VOR you will need to make some slight heading adjustments to center the needle since it is not physically possible to turn instantly to the new heading but you should get proficient doing that with some practice. Some pilots try to anticipate that by starting their turn a little early so the wind up on the correct course outbound, however, strict adherence to procedures requires you to overfly the VOR before starting your turn.

It is a little more complex when you are flying an airway that has a change in direction at an intersection defined by another VOR. The principal is the same-you make your turn to the new heading when you reach the intersection-but you have to juggle your use of the VOR receivers to stay on course and to identify the intersection.

My technique is to use the primary VOR for course control and the secondary VOR to ID the intersection. Once I reach the intersection, I make the turn to the new heading, then reset the primary VOR with the correct frequency and OBS heading. Usually such turns are a distance from the VOR so it is fairly simple to remain on course while you are making these adjustments.

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