VOR Only Instrument Flying

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by Matt Goodrich, Jul 3, 2022.

  1. Matt Goodrich

    Matt Goodrich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2020
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Poulsbo, WA

    Display name:
    Matt
    Everything I have flown so far has had a WAAS GPS, but the bonanza I just picked up does not have a GPS that can be updated to be current, so I’m figuring out how I can fly IFR when needed using only radio based navigation. I have a single nav radio, and I’m curious when filing my route if the first fix will have to be a VOR? Without DME, or a second radio it seems like I could not go direct to a fix. Am I thinking about this wrong?
     
    FancyG likes this.
  2. RyanB

    RyanB Super Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    14,990
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN

    Display name:
    Ryan
    Keep in mind that you can still use an expired database for en-route navigation, as long as the data is still correct. You just can’t use it for approaches. That said, it all depends what kind of GPS you have and whether or not it’s certified for IFR to begin with.
     
  3. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Messages:
    3,753
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ and Ensenada, Mexico

    Display name:
    rgbeard
    Your departure airport may have an instrument departure procedure that you can use.

    and yes, from there to a VOR.

    IRL, you’ll probably end up with radar vectors for the beginning. You simply can’t file this.
     
  4. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    8,172
    Location:
    A Rubber Room

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    I am asking myself why you would even remotely consider operating an airplane with 1 nav com and an unsupported RNAV under IFR. The answer I came up with is the date is July 3, you don’t have to work tomorrow and have consumed too many hard beverages. When you sober up tomorrow, I hope you rethink this.
     
  5. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    12,683
    Location:
    Wichita, KS

    Display name:
    MauleSkinner
    What do you mean by “direct to a fix” that you could do with DME or a second radio?
     
    KA550 likes this.
  6. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    8,172
    Location:
    A Rubber Room

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    Where did you read his GPS was IFR approved?
     
  7. Matt Goodrich

    Matt Goodrich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2020
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Poulsbo, WA

    Display name:
    Matt
    I did assume with crossing radials from 2 VORs it could theoretically be possible if you could intercept a radio from a DP or something. DME I thought maybe an edge case for something?
     
  8. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    13,799
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    Your going to be limited to VOR based navigation. It is possible that an Intersection on an Airway could be your first fix. Give us a pair of Airports, from-to, and lets play with it.
     
  9. Matt Goodrich

    Matt Goodrich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2020
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Poulsbo, WA

    Display name:
    Matt
    I don’t think I’d be super comfortable in IMC, but I would like to stay current until my panel gets redone in a few months.
     
  10. saddletramp

    saddletramp Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2015
    Messages:
    689
    Location:
    Walla Walla. WA

    Display name:
    saddletramp
    My first airplane only had one Nav/Com. It did have an ILS on the one Nav/Com head & marker beacons.. I flew actual IFR in it all the time but I always had an escape route ie VFR WX close by. I didn't consider this unsafe. I did do a lot of channel flipping though to identify intersections.

    Also, since most of us use ForeFlight of some other EFB I think flying IFR with one Nav/Com is perfectly safe.
     
    somorris and brcase like this.
  11. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    2,389
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho

    Display name:
    Brian
    :yeahthat:
    I Agree as long as you have readily available outs (fly to VFR conditions)I see no issue flying IFR with just a VOR. Without a DME there are probably a very limited number of approaches you can do, but there are some. We used to do it all the time with just VOR’s. Now you have you GPS/EFB for situational awareness, we didn’t used to have even that. If the VOR were to fail there is no issue with using your VFR GPS/EFB to get you to VFR conditions. But you should be able to do that with Dead Reckoning also.


    Brian
    CFIIG/ASEL
     
    Doug Reid likes this.
  12. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    8,172
    Location:
    A Rubber Room

    Display name:
    Cli4ord
    With VOR decom., in some parts of the US just complying with the 30 day accuracy check is going to be challenge and the availability of VOR and LOC is also declining rapidly.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2022
  13. John Collins

    John Collins En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,686
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC

    Display name:
    John
    Matt,

    What kind of GPS do you have installed? If it is IFR approved, it may still be used for enroute and terminal navigation with an expired database if you verify the fixes or facilities. In some cases, it may even be used for GPS approaches, depending on the AFMS. If the GPS is a GNS430 or similar, it will have conventional approaches and there is no prohibition on using it for these approaches, including DME substitution, although you will need to verify the distances are based on locations that can be verified using current data (example from a current approach chart).
     
  14. Matt Goodrich

    Matt Goodrich Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2020
    Messages:
    34
    Location:
    Poulsbo, WA

    Display name:
    Matt
    it’s a Trimble TNL2000T
     
  15. John Collins

    John Collins En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,686
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC

    Display name:
    John
    That is pretty old. Database support was dropped in 2008. Airports and VOR's don't move often, so may still be usable, although airports do change their identifiers from an FAA ID to an ICAO ID. If you verify the locations of the VOR's in the database, it is likely they will still be usable as long as the AFMS says you can use an out of date database if you verify the points. You may also be able to enter the latitude/longitude of points as user waypoints and use them for navigation.
     
    RyanB likes this.
  16. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    15,103
    Location:
    mass fla

    Display name:
    ron keating
    I tried flying with one radio,using crossing radials. Was too much work so I purchased a garmin portable gps . Made it a lot easier. Of course the gps was only for spatial recognition.
     
  17. Trogdor

    Trogdor Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2014
    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    NJ

    Display name:
    Trogdor
    The cost of any WAAS based IFR certified GPS may save your life one day. I think that’s worth it if you ask me.
     
    FancyG likes this.
  18. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    22,488
    Location:
    Catawba, NC

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    When I started my IFR training there was no GPS. We had a 172 with one ILS/VOR, one VOR only, and an ADF. The ADF only got used to meet the requirements of having three approaches on your checkride.
     
  19. RyanB

    RyanB Super Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    14,990
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN

    Display name:
    Ryan
    I’m guessing you deliberately ignored the last part of my reply where I asked that very thing…?
     
  20. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    12,683
    Location:
    Wichita, KS

    Display name:
    MauleSkinner
    Yup..spend it on guns and ammo instead. ;)
     
    Velocity173 likes this.
  21. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    13,799
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    Seems I remember reading that Lat/Long as a substitute for Named Waypoints is a no no. I mean waypoints to include fixes/navaiads
     
  22. Maxnr

    Maxnr Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2018
    Messages:
    533
    Location:
    NW FL

    Display name:
    Bob
    A pilot that I knew told me of flying a USAF B-57 solo transcontinental with only an ADF. I assume that it was in "A" airspace.
     
    Velocity173 likes this.
  23. snglecoil

    snglecoil Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2019
    Messages:
    210
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC

    Display name:
    Chris
    In my area, you would be on radar vectors the majority of the time. Most of the VORs are out of service either for an extended period or permanently. There are usable VOR approaches to maybe 2 airports that I can think of. Hopefully an ILS/LOC approach is available where you want to go.
     
  24. Maxnr

    Maxnr Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2018
    Messages:
    533
    Location:
    NW FL

    Display name:
    Bob
    This was routine for Army Huey pilots. Try holding at a two radial intersection with only one VOR/LOC. The fuel gauge seems to grow to the size of a wall clock when in the klag. Army pilots have fast hands.
    Back in the Nam, it was done with ADF because Hueys didn't have TACAN.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2022
  25. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    14,338
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC

    Display name:
    Mark
    Theoretically yes. I've actually homed in on two crossing radials. I used to find my home base a night that way when I was a new pilot. And I did it once on a practice instrument approach. Plus "TACAN point-to-point" which formalizes the process was a military staple for decades. But IMO, it is not part of today's NAS, as I discuss in my article, Dead Reckoning Under IFR
     
  26. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,965

    Display name:
    Tom
    Yes IFR can be done with your setup, but you will have to be on point the entire flight. I learned on 2 VOR setup, and now with GPS I feel like the workload was reduced significantly. And then with auto pilot, reduced even more. I am not as mentally drained as I was when I did VOR IFR only.
     
  27. WDD

    WDD En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Messages:
    3,784
    Location:
    Atlanta / KRYY

    Display name:
    Vintage Snazzy (so my adult children say)
    Yes - years ago a person could do IFR with ADF, one nav com, a sextant and looking over the side of side of the open cockpit bi plane to read the name of the town on the rail road station depot.

    Given the smaller number if VORs, and the reliability of the remaining ones, I can’t see you ever wanting to fly IFR with your current set up.

    Get a GTN 650 to get your GPS and second nav/com.
     
    Tantalum likes this.
  28. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Messages:
    5,184
    Location:
    Wisconsin

    Display name:
    Mtns2Skies
    No problem, even today I fly single NAV IFR in my Skywagon. It's a good skill to have and it will hone your needleology.

    Tune and twist baby! Tune and twist!
     
  29. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Messages:
    5,184
    Location:
    Wisconsin

    Display name:
    Mtns2Skies
    OH hogwash. Sounds like your skills are a bit rusty ;). Single CDI IFR is just fine even today.
     
    KA550 likes this.
  30. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    14,338
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC

    Display name:
    Mark
    Able to do is very different than want to do.
     
    Tom Wells, Palmpilot and Mxfarm like this.
  31. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Messages:
    5,184
    Location:
    Wisconsin

    Display name:
    Mtns2Skies
    I'd rather do it than shell out 10+k for an installed IFR GPS + the annual fees to keep the database updated.
     
  32. WDD

    WDD En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Messages:
    3,784
    Location:
    Atlanta / KRYY

    Display name:
    Vintage Snazzy (so my adult children say)
    Where do you fly? My little bit of the world is the ATL area, which is what my humble opinion is based on.
     
  33. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    14,068

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    Yep, when I retired there were still plenty of Army aircraft with no IFR GPS in them. The navigation landscape hasn’t change much in 10 years and a VOR / LOC only aircraft can still survive today. Single pilot though? Eh, I think I’d want a a good GPS.
     
  34. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    13,799
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    Says here your from Poulsbo. Bremerton KPWT is close. You could stay current there with one VOR. You'd have a little work to do identifying intersections but it's really not that hard. Do you have access to a Simulator? One flight with a CFII who has experience doing it should be enough to get you going. There are still quite a few Victor Airways out west there where you are. Lotsa places you could go. You just have to get use to getting established on a radial, finding the holding heading, then tuning the cross radial VOR, wait for the Intersection, then go back to the on course VOR. It's really not that big a deal once you've done it a few times.
     
    somorris likes this.
  35. Mxfarm

    Mxfarm Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Messages:
    647
    Location:
    KPTS, 1K4, H17

    Display name:
    Marc
    If there so few VOR’s why are there still low enroute charts?
     
  36. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    13,799
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    Have you looked at a low enroute chart?
     
  37. Mxfarm

    Mxfarm Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Messages:
    647
    Location:
    KPTS, 1K4, H17

    Display name:
    Marc
    I have, primarily victor airways, going to/from vor’s.
     
  38. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    13,799
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    There are a lot of T airways.
     
    Mxfarm likes this.
  39. WDD

    WDD En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Messages:
    3,784
    Location:
    Atlanta / KRYY

    Display name:
    Vintage Snazzy (so my adult children say)
    The first sentence was “Everything I have flown so far has had a WAAS GPS,”

    No recent - if ever- proficiency at using only one Nav. No proficiency of flying without GPS.

    Another thought to ponder - how long and how much to fly with a CFII and/or safety Pilot to get proficient at a skill that will offer limited IFR flying?
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2022
    Tantalum likes this.
  40. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    14,338
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC

    Display name:
    Mark
    Tip: if you want to remain proficient with VOR navigation and flying VOR and ILS/localizer approaches, remove the GPS from the equation when you do it. Don't load the approach, cover the screen, use only green needles. I've begun to think about doing that in IPCs.