Victor Airways and VOR navigation

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Josh Whitman, Dec 24, 2018.

  1. Josh Whitman

    Josh Whitman Filing Flight Plan

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    I have my private pilot checkride coming up and I am planning my cross country flight. The examiner wants me to track to two VORs near the departure airport and then navigate however I'd like to the specified destination. I started planing the flight by hoping from VOR to VOR along the route but now I've seen where some people say to stay off victor airways unless you are IFR or in an airliner for various reasons. Some of the legs are indeed victor airways. But I also see people say don't rely on GPS and don't just go direct incase the GPS fails. Those people suggest navigating by VOR so you can use the GPS and the VOR and have either as a backup.

    Obviously pilotage and dead reckoning are a back up to either method and neither GPS or VOR relieve me of proper planing.

    On two of my cross countries I've flown inbound to a VOR and outbound to my destination, but neither of those were on airways. I've also flown one GPS direct to. So which is "right"? I know it's not a cut and dry answer but I overthink these things. Is one method overwhelmingly prefered over the other? Do I need to stay away from Victor Airways?
     
  2. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    No, you don’t ‘need’ to stay away from Victor Airways.
     
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  3. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    ^^^^^
    Agree with the above.
     
  4. Nsconductor

    Nsconductor Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Victor airways are there for a reason.....use them. VFR or IFR. That’s where the altitude differences come into play.


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  5. texasclouds

    texasclouds Line Up and Wait

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    What altitude do you plan to fly?
     
  6. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Ignore "people say" and call your instructor.
     
  7. texasclouds

    texasclouds Line Up and Wait

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    My instructor expects me to nav with pilotage and use VORs to confirm. GPS is a big boy toy that I can use after graduating.
     
  8. chemgeek

    chemgeek Line Up and Wait

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    VORs are the backbone of the airspace navigation system, especially but not limited to those that don't have IFR GPS. Don't be afraid to use them. GPS is nice but know how to use the airway system, too. If you take a long trip with flight following in busy airspace, it's often easier if you file or use an airway route.
     
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  9. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    You are overthinking, @Josh Whitman. And most of these kinds of questions shold be going to your CFI, who has likely used this examiner before.

    But, if I'm understanding your question correctly, the examiner is asking you to create a cross country plan which uses both. He wants to see you track VOR at the beginning (it's on the test) and then do whatever you want. There's nothing wrong with using the airways, just like there's nothing wrong with going direct and using waypoints for pilotage or dead reckoning. Or your GPS.

    But you might be expected to explain your choice. For example, assuming a direct route with good visual waypoints, if the VORs bring you way left or right or both of course, you might be asked why you chose VORs instead of a more direct route.
     
  10. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    about once a year I see if I remember how to tune in a VOR (and I do).
     
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  11. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    The Minimum Operating Network will be what is left over when the FAA has finished shutting down the majority of VOR facilities, and its sole reason for existence will be as backup to GPS. Pilots MUST keep their VOR navigation skllls sharp because some day that might be all that is available.

    Bob Gardner
     
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  12. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Your instructor is an idiot. Outside if emergency training you will never use VOR again. And if the **** hits the fan and GPS goes down, you along with everyone else will be getting vectors from ATC.

    Tim

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  13. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    That's the truth, I was told a story by professional pilot who said that he experienced a GPS outage while on a flight that ended with an approach. He had to fly his plan via VORs and ended with an ILS approach. He said the GPS signal came back when he was on the ground. It's very improbable for this to happen, but if it does the VORs are very good to have and know how to use.
     
  14. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Line Up and Wait

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    Using Victor Airways flying VFR is useful at times for a host of reasons. Make sure to verify during your pre-flight planning that the VOR's are still active. Some VFR sectionals still publish the VOR's that have been eliminated...... no longer supported. Another good reason to verify audibly plus you'll get busted for not doing it on your check ride.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
  15. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Timmy! Wow! Idiot? I did my IR three years ago without gps. I still use vor. And I have a waas Gps. I avail myself of all available tools. Am I an idiot?
    I always love these sweeping statments by the ‘experts’.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
  16. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    :) I thought the sweeping statement was enough of an explanation. I am rather sarcastic and it does not always come across.
    There is a hint of truth in my statement but it was really to make the OP and his instructor think.

    What skills are more likely to keep a new pilot alive? Things they will use or things the may use in case of emergency?

    Tim

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  17. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Line Up and Wait

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    Children of the Magenta Line need no stinking VOR's.
     
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  18. apilotb

    apilotb Filing Flight Plan

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    Listen to clearance delivery on liveatc.com. Victor airways or jet routes are used quite a bit, especially near terminal areas.
     
  19. Cici

    Cici Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Load it into your gps brah.
     
  20. TRocket

    TRocket Line Up and Wait

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    For starters, good luck on your upcoming check ride. Like some of said, this is a good question for you CFI since he has likely sent students to this DPE before. It also seems like you have a pretty good CFI. VOR navigation is still important, while GPS is more common these days, VOR navigation is still an important skill to have. And ignore any ignorant comments like "Just use the GPS", they are simply not helpful nor relevant to your question. Being skilled at using all the tools you have available will make you a safer, more prepared and well rounded pilot. Definitely no need to stay away from victor airways, use them! Again, good luck on your upcoming ride!

    P.S. you will not fly the whole cross country, a couple check points and it will be on to maneuvers. Expect that he will want to see you demonstrate some pilotage and deal reckoning without a doubt.
     
  21. aftCG

    aftCG Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Really? VFR vectors from ATC when they're slammed with commerical traffic?
    Good luck.
     
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  22. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    The thing is, even with the GPS, the only real part of it approved to navigate by is the CDI, the needles. The map with the magenta line, to be used only for situational awareness, still very useful though. So in reality the GPS works pretty much like the VOR, only more automated. It is definitely worthwhile to learn how to navigate with a VOR.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2018
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  23. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ Final Approach

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    I remember most of my XC during training were pilotage. Draw the line, chose your visual checkpoints, plan your TVMDC to get a compass heading, figure your wind for expected ground speed/time and go. Long distances of direct with no direct to VOR flying.

    We could always do VOR radial Cross checks to verify our pilotage position.
     
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  24. TRocket

    TRocket Line Up and Wait

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    Yep, same here. My two solo cross countries before I got my PPL were done with just a paper sectional. Oh, and my commercial check ride, that cross country was done...wait for it..with pilotage and dead reckoning. Because that's what the ACS requires. Anyone who feels with a GPS you dont need to worry about any other forms of navigation is a fool.
     
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  25. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If the plane you take to the checkride has a GPS, the examiner can ask you to demonstrate it's use to navigate.
    And no, there is no reason to stay off the Victor airways. Just stay at the correct VFR altitudes and keep your eyes open when crossing VORs.

    On one of my checkrides the examiner asked me to plan the outbound leg of a trip using VORs and the return via ded reckoning. Of course we didn't fly the 100mile outbound trip, you just have to show that you understand and are able to apply both concepts.
     
  26. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Line Up and Wait

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    An INOP placard is always handy ;)
     
  27. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    'I wonder why this is placarded inop. Fires right up. It'll work for our purposes.'




    If you want to play that game, better pull a plug on the back of the unit.
     
  28. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Line Up and Wait

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    It was a tongue and cheek...... But I recall back in the day folks tried the INOP placard posted on the ADF.
     
  29. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    But why ? Easiest instrument to use. DPE put an NDB approach into my IR checkride and commented 'you can be a mile off the airport and it still counts'.
     
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  30. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    As you point out, easiest instrument to use if you don't care about accuracy.
     
  31. chemgeek

    chemgeek Line Up and Wait

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    Or when your local military facility decides to do 5 days of GPS interference testing, when your fancy GPS isn't gonna work.
     
  32. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    This is a tough crowd that does not understand sarcasm very well.

    To the OP. The ACS will require pilotage and ability to use other navigation sources available in your plane. This has not changed.

    From a practical perspective, if your plane is GPS equipped you should know and be able to use the VOR as a backup. If GPS goes down hard and not just in a local area you will need to know how to get somewhere and land safely.

    Lastly, if your plane has a capability and your instructor says do not use it. Ask why, and mostly likely consider finding a new instructor. I have yet to hear of a valid reason to not use the tools which have been provided.

    Sent from my SM-J737T using Tapatalk
     
  33. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Line Up and Wait

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    Easy compared to what? Throw a hold in there and things get fun. I'll take the VOR or ILS lol.....
     
  34. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    But just as easy if you do care about accuracy.
     
  35. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Nah. A mile off when everything is centered and perfect doesn't meet my definition of accuracy.

    I agree with @Mooney Fan. Except in the most extreme crosswind, going directly to a station is as easy as anything. Used to navigate from almost 250 NM back to my home base using nothing but an AM radio station. Change that to a hold or even a NDB approach using an off-airport NDB and some folks definition of "easy" might no be the same as yours.

    I was one of those who simply could not visualize what the ADF was doing except when direct to a station. Finally learned how to fly NDB approaches effectively while working on my CFII (de-complicated it for myself like a number of other IFR procedures). Just in time for GPS to make it mostly moot.
     
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  36. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Mine either, but I've never seen one a mile off with everything centered.

    There are three things that make NDBs difficult...
    1. Being told they're difficult
    2. Poor potty training
    3. Lack of practice

    I see the same thing with VORs, actually. And anything that doesn't involve a flight director. :(
     
  37. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    ATC has one primary purpose, separation of IFR traffic. VFR Service is provided on a work load permitting basis. GPS is transitioning to the primary navigation source and a source of ADS-B. An event such as you describe will have ATC denying VFR requests for service.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2018
  38. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    I have. And since as little as a 5 degree error on a DG means 1/2 mile off center on a typical off-airport NDB approach, I think "everything centered" is a it of a gotcha.

    I agree with your assessment about some of the reasons why, but don't agree they are exclusive. I don't see the any more for obvious reasons, but I never saw the same issues from VORs.
     
  39. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Merry XMas from the CRE VOR


    [​IMG]
     
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  40. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Well, if you’re gonna qualify “everything”...:rolleyes:
    Keep in mind that I deal with professional pilots. ;)