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How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?  
User currently offlineChopper From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4311 times:

I still have books from 96 on IFR training and was wanting to know are we gong to be still useing VORs,NDB and ADF for a while?

53 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4200 posts, RR: 37
Reply 1, posted (13 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4257 times:

I can imagine for a while. VOR's especially. NDB's are still in use as outermarkers and until GPS completely takes over those will be in use for quite the long period of time too. Id say at least another 15years for the NDB's (thank goodness most airlines are outlawing shooting NDB approaches) and who knows how long for the VOR's.


Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlineMit From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 166 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (13 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 4245 times:

As of a year or two ago, the FAA's plan was to phase out NDB's by 2004ish with the VOR's hanging around until 2010.

User currently offlineAvt007 From Canada, joined Jul 2000, 2132 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (13 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 4195 times:

If you ever fly in Canada, you'll find NDBs are common, and will be for many years. Same goes for many other parts of the world. As for GPS, it is a wonderful system, but many countries are reluctant to base their aeronautical navigation systems on a system controlled by a foreign government. The fear is that should there be a major conflict somewhere, the US gov't may degrade or shut down gps altogether. The capability is there, and it would throw international aviation into a tailspin.

User currently offlineChopper From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (13 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 4167 times:

thanks, so is it pretty easy tp transition to gps ifr flying ? I guess you can say from the old ifr flying?

User currently offlinePavlin From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4105 times:

GPS is a lot easier as far as I know and a lot more precise, it gives you IAS, Ground speed, true direction.
ADF are heavier to navigate the shortest route in windy conditions.

GPS rules, I think it is also cheaper and more reliable.

But there are also some new technologies like WAAS


User currently offlineSushka From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 4784 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (8 years 2 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 4056 times:

I heard a while ago that it would be cheaper to give each pilot a GPS than keep the repairs going on the VORs.

I still use VORs as backup when I am flying cross countries. It gives me something to do  Smile



Pershoyu Spravoyu Litaki!
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 4026 times:

I also heard VORs will be around till 2010 at least (for the US). But that doesn't mean all of them will disappear. VOR coverage in the US is way dense, too dense if you ask me, and from what I've heard they will reduce the number of VORs to less than 1/4 of what there are today. I mean, seriously, just look at the L.A. area IFR chart. There's VORs within 15 nm of each other!!! Granted, right now they serve as navaids for approaches to all the airports there, but all those VORs could easily just be turned into GPS waypoints. VORs must be a pretty hefty burden on the FAA's wallet as far as maintenace and operating costs are concerned. GPS is, technically, free. So, once GPS takes over, all those VORs which you see in L.A. area could be decomissioned, and maybe one or two VORs will suffice as a back up, just in case.

NDBs are prehistoric, but I flew an NDB into CHD once and I found it wasn't too bad, but I'd definitely prefer a VOR approach, or a GPS approach in lieu of a VOR.

I wonder what will happen with all the old VOR buildings though, I've seen some that are large enough to fit a fast food restaurant Big grin


User currently offlineBuckFifty From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 1316 posts, RR: 19
Reply 8, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 4000 times:

Some of the newest airliners now being built are coming without ADF receivers. It is a customer option, and it seems that NDB navigation is being phased out in favour of GPIRS and backup VOR/DME navigation.

Nevermind NDB approaches, many airlines out there now won't even approve of doing one. RNAV departures and approaches have been approved for use on a large scale basis, though not without reservations. There have been instances where certain GPS approaches have shown to be somewhat inaccurate, especially in terms of the vertical nav component. This is an issue of not only the designs of the approaches, but the way certain aircraft types calculate a GPS descent profile based on the missed approach fix. But these concerns will be ironed out in due time, I'm sure.

Certain countries still heavily depend on NDB's, even in the terminal area. However, most primary aerodromes in the world now are well equipped enough that NDB approaches are not required.

In any event, in terms of approaches now, ILS is still number 1, VOR number 2, and GPS number 3 in priority sequence. At least that is how we do it.


User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3982 times:

Quoting BuckFifty (Reply 8):
ILS is still number 1, VOR number 2, and GPS number 3 in priority

Wouldn't GPS move up to 1 if LAAS is available though?


User currently offline777WT From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 877 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3968 times:

Speaking of nav aids, look at LORAN, it's well outdated now...

User currently offlineMikkel777 From Norway, joined Oct 2002, 370 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3954 times:

I dont agree that the GPS is easier than VOR and ILS approaches. NDB, yes, but the rest, no. This is for the beginner, in IR training. When you know the GPS in and out, it is very easy.
For an IR student, setting up the GPS correctly before an approach, is more complex than tune and identify a VOR. Setting up the GPS itself is not complicated, but when you are new to instrument-flying and are stressed by flying the airplane and talking to ATC, it is very easy to do something wrong.
Anyway, flying full approaches on VOR or NDB is good exercises, and helps pilots to become better, even if they can be a real pain during training!


User currently offlineZkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4830 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3859 times:

In New Zealand, NDB's are all but phased out... many are still operating but are not calibrated and are useful only in general from a long distance away.
I think VOR's will hang around for some time yet... Whilst GPS is very accurate, it is unreliable (ie the US govt could pull it at any time if they liked, satellites move or are moved, and solar flares, space junk, meteorites play havoc with satellites). Whilst commercial airliners have INS systems etc, smaller aircraft don't and they can't rely on GPS alone.



56 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.
User currently offlineXJRamper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2461 posts, RR: 50
Reply 13, posted (8 years 2 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3836 times:

The problem with VORs is that basically they are the main navigation aid in the US. IFR rated pilots...tell me if you are flying in IMC, in addition to GPS, what else do you need? You need a working VOR receiver and OBS. That right there should tell you that the VORs are not going anywhere any time soon. The problem is GPS is a great measure of new technology and what is to come. The problem is we need to make sure there is a reliable backup just in case you drop out of the required 4+ satellites for it to work reliably. FAA just seems to be lacking motivation to do just that.

XJR



Look ma' no hands!
User currently offlineSaab2000 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2001, 1610 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3796 times:

NDBs are being taken out of service in the US. It seems like about every other Jeppesen revision has an airport where one of the approaches is a "Remove" item, and it is invariably an NDB approach.

VORs will be with us for a while yet. There is a major US airline that has a major part of its fleet which can navigate conventionally only. No RNAV capabilities. VOR to VOR.

Name that carrier!



smrtrthnu
User currently offlineXJRamper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2461 posts, RR: 50
Reply 15, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 3787 times:

Depends...

Cape Air operates all C404s. None of them have RNAV capabilities, only VOR capabilities.

Mesaba's Saab fleet (which a major part of its fleet) operates solely on VORs.

It could also be AA. However, I am not familiar with their MD-80s enough to know how conventional they really are.

XJR



Look ma' no hands!
User currently offlineSaab2000 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2001, 1610 posts, RR: 11
Reply 16, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 3752 times:

NWA DC-9s have no RNAV. I was a bit surprised to hear this. But I have a friend who is skipper on the DC-9 there and he told me. Then I jumpseated on one a few weeks ago to ORD and there it was, flying in heading mode just keeping the OBS centered. DME counting down and everything. Pretty cool. Still, I like my 'primative' little CRJ any day over actually having to 'work'!!


smrtrthnu
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 17, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3748 times:

To assume that the FAA wants to get rid of ground-based navaids one would have to assume that the FAA wants to save money.

No government agency wants to save money. They may want to redirect it but they NEVER have the goal of reducing their spending. The way USG budgets work this would result in their having LESS money to spend in the next fiscal year.

VORs have to be maintained and flight checked. The people who perform these tasks have to be supervised. The supervisors must be supervised. All of the above must be administered paid, regulated, represented, supplied with vehicles that must be maintained by other government employees and on and on. There is an industry within a Federal bureaucracy which does this. In other words that little square building with the flat roof and the white cone on top - that is a government jobs program. They will be around for at least twenty more years. That is my prediction.

LORAN is still around. My nephew, captain of a container ship learned LORAN at the academy but has never used it at sea. Not once in his career. Ships had GPS and that is what they use.

VOR is still used to 'update' IRS systems which are widely used by airlines. This involves leaving the Nav radios in an auto-tune mode and allowing the system to check its own progress by tuning passing VOR facilities along the route and using a DME/DME check to verify the computed position. I could envision VOR being useful in this mode beyond a point where pilots no longer know how to manually tune & identify them.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 11
Reply 18, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3713 times:

just out of curiosity, what does and actual VOR look like under the skin. how's it actually work?


"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
User currently offlineBri2k1 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 988 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3704 times:

My friend bought some property that had one on it and he got to watch as it was disassembled. There wasn't much to see; he didn't even think about taking any pictures. I guess it looks pretty much like what it is -- an array of antennae. I wish I could have seen it myself, but that's as detailed as he got with me.

As pilots may know, a VOR transmits two different signals. One goes in all directions simultaneously (omnidirectionally) and is modulated with a 30Hz phase shift; this is the one that also contains the Morse code station identifier. The second signal rotates around the station 30 times per second. (VORs don't actually have moving parts, though; a special array of antennae can simulate this rotation.) As the signal "rotates," its phase changes. The receiver on the plane compares the phase of the omnidirectional signal (which it uses to determine the phase of the 360-degree radial) and the rotating signal, and the phase difference between them (in degrees) is the bearing from the station at which the signal is being received (in degrees). The OBS knob changes the phase of the reference signal in the receiver. By indicating the amount of phase change on a dial and centering the needle, the bearing to or from the station can be directly displayed.

There was no DME at my friend's, but they work by listening for two timed pulses from an aircraft and replying with two similarly timed pulses. The aircraft measures the time between transmititng the "interrogations" and listening for the replies, and uses it to calculate the distance.



Position and hold
User currently offlineThirtyEcho From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 1651 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3678 times:

What will we use to listen to the baseball game when airplanes no longer have Low Frequency capability?

I had the unique experience of filing and flying one of the last "Red" airways in the country, Red 10, into New Orleans a long time ago. For those of you who don't know, this was one of the very old four course-low frequency "ranges."

Talk about simple; all you had to have was a Low Freq radio and a speaker or headset. You flew a heading to intercept the range "leg" and turned on course when the Morse code "A" and the "N" signal began to merge into a continuous tone. You corrected left or right when the tone began to break up into an A or an N. You were directly over the station when you entered the "cone of silence" and heard no signal at all.

I don't miss the four-course range one bit and I won't miss the VORs, either.


User currently offlineMr AirNZ From New Zealand, joined Feb 2002, 867 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 3659 times:

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 12):
In New Zealand, NDB's are all but phased out... many are still operating but are not calibrated and are useful only in general from a long distance away.

Normally Zkpilot I find your posts accurate and informative but this one seems a little off. Yes some (not many) NDB's have been decommissioned but they are still well used. Approaches into KAT, KKE, WRE, TRG, WHK, TUO, WAG, WSZ, HKK, TIU, OAM (too name but a few) rely on NDB's, heck the Saab's don't have GPS and there's still Beech 1900D crews out there without the GPS endorsment. NDB's are most definitly kept calibarated, most light twins aren't equiped with GPS and when I'm flying IMC I am certainly relying on the beacon to be accurate.


User currently offlineZkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4830 posts, RR: 9
Reply 22, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3644 times:

Quoting Mr AirNZ (Reply 21):
Normally Zkpilot I find your posts accurate and informative but this one seems a little off. Yes some (not many) NDB's have been decommissioned but they are still well used. Approaches into KAT, KKE, WRE, TRG, WHK, TUO, WAG, WSZ, HKK, TIU, OAM (too name but a few) rely on NDB's, heck the Saab's don't have GPS and there's still Beech 1900D crews out there without the GPS endorsment. NDB's are most definitly kept calibarated, most light twins aren't equiped with GPS and when I'm flying IMC I am certainly relying on the beacon to be accurate.

Compared to the number of NDB's that used to be around though there aren't many left. Perhaps I should clarify that they aren't used so much for enroute navigation and are mostly used in smaller airports (with very little traffic) for approaches/departures. Yeah pretty crazy bout them Saabs! You would think it would not be hard or expensive to fit GPS onto them, but the reality is that GPS does not work well for navigation in New Zealand (there aren't many GPS satellites in our corner of the world... getting the 4 satellites can be differcult at times). There are lots of NDBs that are not calibrated anymore... many of them are now radio transmitters... always useful for listening to the cricket in summer whilst flying  Wink



56 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.
User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3640 times:

I don't at all foresee the total demise of the VOR system. If nothing else I am certain that some sort of network would be retained as a backup in case one should have a failure of the primary navigation system. Kind of like when folks thought that the state of the art nautical nav systems would lead to the elimination of lighthouses. Most still remain in service as primary aids for non-commercial watercraft and backups for commercial shipping. I navigate readily using VOR fixes to maintain constant position plots in case our GPS should fail at an inopportune moment.


"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (8 years 2 months 3 days ago) and read 3586 times:

Quoting Cancidas (Reply 18):
just out of curiosity, what does and actual VOR look like under the skin. how's it actually work?

Here ya go:






From: http://www.hoppie.nl/beacons/

Really interesting website. This guy does plane spotting and navaid spotting!!!


25 Post contains images ShyFlyer : XM, Sirius, etc. More proof that the government can't do anything on schedule.
26 IAHFLYR : Thought Cape Air had 402's? And you are correct, no RNAV. AA MD80's are GPS equipped. VOR's are still being planned for installation at some places a
27 Viv : This is complete bull excrement. All government agencies are ALWAYS trying to save money.
28 ESGG : A number of replies in this thread points out that GPS is the natural way to go to replace old techniques. But is that safe? Technically yes, no quest
29 David L : I'm going with SlamClick on this one. Yes, from time to time they have a cull but government agencies in this country are notorious for their spendin
30 RoseFlyer : Out of curiousity, what about VFR flying and VORs? What are all those VFR pilots going to do in their 30 year old Cessnas that lack GPS without VORs?
31 SlamClick : And you have what experience with the U.S. Government? During my lifetime I've never seen ONE government unit budget reduced unless the functions of
32 Saab2000 : GPS was not created for GA pilots in their 30-year old Cessnas. When I learned how to fly VFR and when I was tested on it, the overwhelming majority o
33 SlamClick : A local newspaper columnist went cross-country skiing with a couple of other guys several years ago and one of the others had an early hand-held GPS.
34 Saab2000 : I clearly don't need to tell this to SlamClick, but his advice is good and applies to both VFR and IFR flying.
35 Mikkel777 : If you are a VFR pilot and depend on VOR or GPS, you should stay on the ground. Pilotage and dead reckoning are the bread and butter, the rest is jus
36 Mandala499 : Reliance on IRS/GPS and lack of terrain based navigation added with bad situational awareness can put you in trouble. Earlier this year, a 733 of Adam
37 BuyantUkhaa : Wouldn't this be solved by the introduction of the Galileo system? I know it'll take some years before it becomes fully operational, but I think it o
38 SlamClick : Let us not forget the basics. Lindbergh flew from St. John's Newfoundland to Dingle Bay Ireland with zero net drift, using dead reckoning. Okay, and m
39 RoseFlyer : I agree that pilotage and dead reckoning are an important part of VFR flying, other tools can be very useful when you are flying over unfamiliar terr
40 Bri2k1 : The beauty of airplanes is you don't have to stay in the same plane when you fly over the plains. There are still identifying details on sectional ch
41 Post contains images L-188 : So are shovels but they are still very effective at digging graves. It's simple technology, it's reliable technology. The only thing that is keeping
42 RoseFlyer : Well I personally appreciate the added security that those systems have. You can find out if something is going wrong much earlier if you try to tune
43 FlyMatt2Bermud : Let's be honest! If you know how to properly shoot an NDB approach they can be very reliable. But the fact that it requires more interpretation makes
44 Post contains images SlamClick : This is true. But they are one of those things that has not been, pardon the expression, idiot-proofed. Unless you are well and truly up to speed on
45 Post contains images Bri2k1 : No one said anything about night Although I've done it, mostly relying on roads. I don't stray too far from my familiar area at night. And, I will ad
46 SlamClick : When I was a pre-solo student my instructor told me that night flying IS instrument flying. Nothing in the intervening forty two years has changed my
47 L-188 : You should come up here in January. Alaska can get damm bright on a clear night with a full moon.
48 SlamClick : Well it better! You don't get any daytime! I've flown around over snow-covered desert even with just starlight and could see the major landforms quit
49 FlyMatt2Bermud : Viva la dinosaurs!
50 Mikkel777 : That depends. I had my students find the airport without GPS and VOR. Some got really lost, and some found it. Depends what checkpoints they chose, a
51 L-188 : Nothing wrong with that....Belt and suspenders.
52 Jwenting : Not just feasible, but quite possible. In fact during the war(s) in Iraq all civilian GPS reception in the area was disabled or severely degraded (th
53 L-188 : At this point I think it would also be fair to point out that there are still places where it is not possible to pick up the 3 signals needed to get
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