chopper
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How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Tue Feb 06, 2001 7:03 pm

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?
 
XFSUgimpLB41X
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Wed Feb 07, 2001 1:55 am

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.
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Mit
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Wed Feb 07, 2001 3:01 am

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.
 
avt007
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Thu Feb 08, 2001 2:41 am

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.
 
chopper
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Fri Feb 09, 2001 1:48 pm

thanks, so is it pretty easy tp transition to gps ifr flying ? I guess you can say from the old ifr flying?
 
pavlin
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Sun Jul 16, 2006 10:42 pm

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
 
sushka
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:54 am

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
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Fly2HMO
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:30 am

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
 
buckfifty
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:29 am

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.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:20 am

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?
 
777wt
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:41 am

Speaking of nav aids, look at LORAN, it's well outdated now...
 
mikkel777
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:28 am

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!
 
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Zkpilot
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:48 pm

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.
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xjramper
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 1:49 am

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
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saab2000
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:25 am

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!
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xjramper
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:43 am

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
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saab2000
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:56 am

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
 
SlamClick
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:22 am

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.
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cancidas
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:27 am

just out of curiosity, what does and actual VOR look like under the skin. how's it actually work?
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bri2k1
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:02 pm

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
 
ThirtyEcho
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:32 pm

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.
 
Mr AirNZ
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:57 pm

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.
 
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Zkpilot
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:47 pm

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
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57AZ
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:16 pm

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.
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Fly2HMO
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:23 am

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!!!
 
ShyFlyer
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Wed Jul 19, 2006 12:40 pm

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 20):
What will we use to listen to the baseball game when airplanes no longer have Low Frequency capability?

XM, Sirius, etc.

Quoting Mit (Reply 2):
FAA's plan was to phase out NDB's by 2004ish

More proof that the government can't do anything on schedule. Big grin
I lift things up and put them down.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Wed Jul 19, 2006 8:18 pm

Quoting XJRamper (Reply 15):
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.

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 around the U.S., having said that, some of those planned could go off the install chart quickly but Sabine Pass (SBI) which just burnt to the ground is probably going to be rebuilt quickly, needed for anchoring some routes into the Gulf. Now that alone makes no sense to me since RNAV is required in the Gulf!!

I see the need for VOR's until the DME/DME IRU airplanes are upgraded, (If ever), they will require the triangulation of the DME sources that most VOR's have or at least install DME sources to provide the correct nav solutons. It is clear at this time that the FAA is not going to make operators equip to fly pure RNAV GPS routes or approaches, nor is the flight standards criteria ready to accept any RNAV separation standards between RNAV routes that is much if any less than VOR route standards. Then you get to the separation standards for parallel runways using RNAV, that is closer but still not been changed.


Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 1):
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

Not so, NDB's approaches are being phased out rather quickly in FAA terms....the maint. of the approaches is a huge cost, if there is another ground based nav approach to the airport/runway then the FAA is cancelling the NDB procedures. Outermakers are also going bye bye.....using DME fixes on the ILS's, in Houston we have no more outer markers to the approaches in the entire approach control airspace except for Brazoria County (LBX).

Have a wonderful day!
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viv
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:02 pm

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 17):
No government agency wants to save money. They may want to redirect it but they NEVER have the goal of reducing their spending

This is complete bull excrement. All government agencies are ALWAYS trying to save money.
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esgg
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:02 pm

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 question about that! But how about politics?
The system is built with American satellites and is controlled by American interests. What would happen if a conflict would escalate up to, and over conflict level and change to a real war that could threat American safety? (The Israeli-palestinian conflict is a good example). In that case is it possible that the civil applications of the GPS-system is shut down in order to enhance military interests? In that case we are left in the desert with a empty water bottle!

I have no idea if this scenario is realistic or not, but it is absolutely feasible!
 
David L
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:25 pm

Quoting Viv (Reply 27):
Quoting SlamClick (Reply 17):
No government agency wants to save money. They may want to redirect it but they NEVER have the goal of reducing their spending

This is complete bull excrement. All government agencies are ALWAYS trying to save money.

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 spending sprees towards the end of each financial year. If they spend less, they get less next year.
 
roseflyer
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:31 pm

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? Dead Reckoning alone?
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
SlamClick
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:34 pm

Quoting Viv (Reply 27):
This is complete bull excrement. All government agencies are ALWAYS trying to save money.

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 that department were being merged into another - always with the resultant conglomeration having (within five years) more employees and a bigger budget than the sum of the merged entities.
When I administered a department budget within the US DoD I got formal instruction in how to spend my entire budget and spread out the spending within the fiscal year.

The reason is that they use zero-based budgeting systems. They do not have to justify ANY expenditure so long as they stay within their allowance. Expenditures above that amount must be justified to a very skeptical review system. However, if you do not spend your ENTIRE budget within a review period (like a fiscal year) then you have demonstrated that you can get along on LESS money than has been allocated and your budget will be reduced.

The money taken away from your budget does not go back to the taxpayers however, it goes to pay for other excesses or into special funds that are always thirsty.

To prove my point, the US FAA still has a department that regulates and administers the Microwave Landing System (MLS) program. Everyone, I mean from the administrator to pre-solo students knows there will NEVER be any widespread use of MLS but they keep the department funded. Reasons probably have to do as much with manpower levels (good justification for $$$) as much as the money itself.

Government is almost the one and only growth industry in the USA right now. It is by far the biggest employer and the biggest voting bloc, so I don't see anything changing soon.

P.S. Take this...

Quoting Viv (Reply 27):
bull excrement

... back to Non/Av. We don't debate like that here.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
saab2000
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:24 am

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 of the testing and instruction involved holding a sectional chart in one hand and looking at it and comparing it to the visual features on the ground. VORs were used as a backup or to verify what I was seeing on the ground.

GPS is a neat tool, but has its pitfalls and can allow a pilot to become VERY complacent.

Many older GPS units will send a pilot straight through prohibited airspace, at least the ones I saw.

I have experience flying VFR in Europe and the US. My experience tells me that there is still no substitute in regards to recreational VFR flying to a current sectional VFR chart and proper planning. Just plugging. Side note: VFR sectional charts in the US are vastly superior to the ones I have used from Europe. There I used the Swiss chart and some German and Italian charts.

GPS is cool, but no substitute for VORs, which will be with us for the foreseeable future.
smrtrthnu
 
SlamClick
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Thu Jul 20, 2006 1:53 am

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 32):
GPS is a neat tool, but has its pitfalls



Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 32):
GPS is cool, but no substitute for VORs

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. They had topo maps with them and at one point he got into an argument with the GPS guy over where they were.

The guy with the GPS took the coordinates off his screen and applied them to the map and said: "Right here!"

The columnist said: "What are all those little lines there?"

"40-foot contour lines."

"What do they mean?" (Rhetorical question.)

"It depicts a steep mountainside."

"And are we ON a steep mountainside?" They were in the middle of a flat ten miles across!

That ended their reliance on the GPS.

I loved my GPS/IRS/FMS but there is no substitute for situational awareness and that might just mean knowing where that powerline crosses this river. I once flew kind of low and slow for over a thousand miles in South America and never found ONE SINGLE navaid on frequency. I was sure glad for the visual ONC charts I had thought to bring along.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
saab2000
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Thu Jul 20, 2006 3:07 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 33):
there is no substitute for situational awareness

I clearly don't need to tell this to SlamClick, but his advice is good and applies to both VFR and IFR flying.
smrtrthnu
 
mikkel777
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Fri Jul 21, 2006 1:28 pm

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 30):
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? Dead Reckoning alone?

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 just useful tools!
 
mandala499
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Fri Jul 21, 2006 5:51 pm

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 Air ended up making a "distressed" landing at a small airport because they didn't know where they are... They only knew where they were upon landing and asked "where are we?" to the person on the ground... they were 400NM off their intended route! A huge scandal to piloting standards here! So, don't ignore the basics just because "a reliable automated system is there".

OK, fine, that was on an IRS, but surely GPS can't be that wrong?
The proportion of 732 flights in Indonesia that rely on GPS is close to, if not already 100%... BUT, they still check on the VORs... Fine, their lack of calibration make much of the HSI a guesswork but at least the RMI and DME would give you an indication that your GPS isn't going haywire...

"GPS GOING HAYWIRE?" Yes... 1 years ago a F28 flew Manado (MDC/WAMM) - Sorong (SOQ/WASS(WASX)), the only enroute Navaids was MNO vor near Manado, and SOG vor at old Sorong Jeffman airport. SOG is only operational from 6am local for 12 hrs (or 18). So, the F28 flew the route on GPS and VOR nav... halfway, the MNO signal would disappear, so they continue on the GPS. They followed the GPS to their descent point, and when they broke cloud, expecting to be 10NM before SOG, they saw nothing but sea. A quick turn to left and right to check their position yielded that they were way off. They were in a dilemma whether to divert to Biak (another 1hr away which is the next 24hr VOR) or hold and wait for SOG to come online. They decided to wait... and when SOG came on... the GPS and VOR showed a difference of 40 *yes, four zero* NM!

"Surely it must be the old airplane that was the problem!"
Errr... No... a few days before the incident a 777 (with GPS primary position input before the navaid and IRS) noticed a gross disagreement between his respective GPS inputs. After isolating the GPS input and reverting to IRS with Navaid updating, the GPS showed errors of 30NM ahead to the left on one, 10NM to the right on one, and 15Nm to the rear and right on the final one... Now this happened on a relatively new aircraft...

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 30):
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? Dead Reckoning alone?

A good map, good compass, stopwatch and a sliderule would do fine... even a reliable compass, map and stopwatch should be enough...

So, will VORs be taken out? Not in the near future...

Mandala499
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Buyantukhaa
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Fri Jul 21, 2006 7:37 pm

Quoting ESGG (Reply 28):
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 question about that! But how about politics?
The system is built with American satellites and is controlled by American interests. What would happen if a conflict would escalate up to, and over conflict level and change to a real war that could threat American safety? (The Israeli-palestinian conflict is a good example). In that case is it possible that the civil applications of the GPS-system is shut down in order to enhance military interests? In that case we are left in the desert with a empty water bottle!

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 one of the key reasons to introduce it (apart from prestige obviously) was not to be dependent on one country for global navigation.
I scratch my head, therefore I am.
 
SlamClick
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:44 pm

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 more luck than most of us will have in a lifetime.

When Uncle Sam was giving me my instrument rating my instructor had me plan a flight which intercepted a nearby V-airway, then did a big square circuit via airways and directs right back to the final approach fix at the home 'drome. The total course to be flown was roughly 150 nm. We applied the wind forecast to get the ETAs.

As soon as I took off he shut off all my nav radios and instructed me to fly it time-distance-heading. When I got to the FAF time he had me turn in the direction of the airport and begin a descent at the rate we'd use on a GCA. At about 800 feet AGL he pulled my hood off and there was the runway, just about a quarter mile off to the left. If the weather had been about eight hundred and a half mile we would have survived with no radios. If not, at least they would have heard us crash from the airport. It was an impressive lesson on the validity of 'the basics' in flying.

The planes I flew in Vietnam had Doppler nav systems. The lat/long was converted to match the 1:50000 tac maps being used by the ground forces so 'northing' and 'easting' read to within a meter, with accuracy normally a bit coarser than that. One of the planes developed a little glitch - when flying north the latitude decrease, when flying south it increased.

The civilian tech rep from the manufacturer of the Doppler was baffled until they finally figured it out. The unit had been slewed in the same direction so many times during position updates that it now thought it was in the southern hemisphere. It was not 'possible' so far as the tech rep knew, but there it was. It incorrectly changed its data based on user inputs - they'd invented 'artificial stupid.'

The up side? When I finally checked out in the Airbus and had to speak the trademark line: "Why is it doing THAT?" I already had thirty years experience with that phrase.

I sure don't like trusting just one layer, one line, one system.

Besides if VORs went away it wouldn't be as much fun talking about a couple dozen satellites the way we recite the famous VOR names, Hector, Slate Run, Mormon Mesa, East Texas, Tatoush, Wilson Creek, Badger, Wink, Whitehall and a hundred others.
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roseflyer
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Sat Jul 22, 2006 3:39 am

Quoting Mikkel777 (Reply 35):
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 just useful tools!

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 territory. If you try doing a cross country in the flat planes of the midwest, everything looks the same. I've also flown in the Pacific Northwest, and at times there is nothing you can see but forrest. There aren't even roads or towns. I've never flown a cross country without GPS, and always keep the VORs tuned in. But I don't think I could comfortably do a cross country in the Midwest without VORs and/or GPS unless I know the area that I'm flying over. I wouldn't want to depend on dead reckoning and pilotage alone. As a last resort I can always have flight following and ask where I am and get a vector to where I want to go, but navigational tools are very useful when you are only flying over corn fields or worse forrests with no sign of civilization.
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bri2k1
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Sat Jul 22, 2006 7:41 am

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 39):
flat planes of the midwest

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 charts. Choosing your waypoints close together and updating ETEs with actual groundspeeds really works well.

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 39):
there is nothing you can see but forrest

Gump?

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 39):
But I don't think I could comfortably do a cross country in the Midwest without VORs and/or GPS unless I know the area that I'm flying over. I wouldn't want to depend on dead reckoning and pilotage alone.

It sounds like you're not very comfortable with your flight planning abilities. I never even look at the GPS and I've never busted airspaces or gotten lost. I do like having a VOR tuned in and occasionally looking at the DME, more just so my passengers know how long til breakfast or a bathroom!
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L-188
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Sat Jul 22, 2006 2:24 pm

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 7):
NDBs are prehistoric

So are shovels but they are still very effective at digging graves. It's simple technology, it's reliable technology.

Quoting 777WT (Reply 10):
Speaking of nav aids, look at LORAN, it's well outdated now...

The only thing that is keeping Loran alive at this point is the marine industry and all of those older fishing boats around. Sad...All Coasties deserve the chance at a year at Loran Station Attu. It is pretty sad when you got to Shemya for R&R and think it is civilization.

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 14):
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.

I was unpacking and found an Alaska NOS book from 1997 when I started going to school. I compared it with a 2005 one that was current. The older one was a good 3/8ths of an inch thinner then the new on because of the GPS approaches that where inserted into it.

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 20):
What will we use to listen to the baseball game when airplanes no longer have Low Frequency capability?

Or better yet..that is AM...Is there nothing better then listening to Coast to Coast AM at midnight while cruising at altitude while Art Bell is yacking with somebody about Chemtrails  cloudnine 

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 30):
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? Dead Reckoning alone?

The same thing that pilots used to do before airplanes had radio's or even electrical systems.

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 34):
Quoting SlamClick (Reply 33):
there is no substitute for situational awareness

I clearly don't need to tell this to SlamClick, but his advice is good and applies to both VFR and IFR flying

Damm Skippy, it was nice where I used to live to fly with a guy who could fly over a rock in the ocean and not only know where he was but what the tide is.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 38):
When I finally checked out in the Airbus and had to speak the trademark line: "Why is it doing THAT?

It's a line best delivered by the Manufacturers rep when he is helping to figure out a problem.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
roseflyer
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:26 am

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 40):
It sounds like you're not very comfortable with your flight planning abilities. I never even look at the GPS and I've never busted airspaces or gotten lost. I do like having a VOR tuned in and occasionally looking at the DME, more just so my passengers know how long til breakfast or a bathroom!

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 into a VOR and can't get it. This has never happened to me, but I'm not arrogant enough to think it never could. It isn't that I'm not comfortable in my flight planning abilities, but rather that I want to be cautious so I try my hardest to make sure nothing goes wrong. I think this is a good thing for a low time private pilot.

Also when doing my training for my PPL, I went on a night cross country with my instructor that went over some unpopulated forested area. I relied on VORs and GPS for assistance on that route. I've never flown a night cross country by myself, but I wouldn't be willing to do it without GPS and VOR assistance. I probably would have no problems, but I would want the extra security that the navigation beacons have. I know I can always call up flight following and get assistance if I was having trouble, but I don't want to push my luck. If the systems are out there for use, then they should be used as being redundant improves safety, especially when you are flying over territory that you aren't very familiar with.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
flymatt2bermud
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Sun Jul 23, 2006 12:59 am

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 1):
Thank goodness most airlines are outlawing shooting NDB approaches

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 them fallible due to poor pilotage skills. Tens of thousands of aviators have relied on the NDB for years, the problem was seldom the NDB. As a matter of credit, I think it could be said that NDB's saved Berlin. No doubt there are better systems to navigate and shoot approaches with, but we would be foolish to discount their value (at least historically).

Quoting 777WT (Reply 10):
Speaking of nav aids, look at LORAN, it's well outdated now...

As well as the VLF/OMEGA systems. If the antennae even had a hint of static it could skip 100 nm side of course and you'd still be totally legal.

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 39):
I agree that pilotage and dead reckoning are an important part of VFR flying

Pilot's should never be licensed without demonstrating their ability to do so. In an emergency, pilotage and dead reckoning could be a very important part of your IFR flying as well.

Years ago, while flying the North Atlantic track system, airliners would be separated by several miles off course due to Inertial Reference Systems drifting. Now with GPS, there is a procedure known as Strategic Lateral Offest that allows you to operate (in specific regions) oncourse, or 1 mile or 2 miles Right of course without approval just to give the flight crews a little margin of spacing. We're only 1,000 under or over each other and it's interesting that the accuracy of the GPS has caused a procedure to be introduced that allows us to input offsets!
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward" Leonardo Da Vinci
 
SlamClick
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Sun Jul 23, 2006 1:33 am

Quoting FlyMatt2Bermud (Reply 43):
Let's be honest! If you know how to properly shoot an NDB approach they can be very reliable.

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 them you have to think:

"Now let's see; I'm outbound from the station, so the station is at the bottom of the dial. If the head of the needle is pointing to the station and the tail of the needle up at the top of the dial is off to the left of twelve o'clock then - what? Ahh - the station is off to the right of my tail so I need to turn right to drag it back. Now double the angle would be . . ."


More cerebral activity than most pilots want while trying to fly a suddenly-unstable airplane on partial panel with scowling check airman in the right seat. Did I mention the mountains off the left (or was it right) side?

Once you really get it, I mean like you can feel where the station, airport and your airplane are, it is a good system.

But then I am one of those old dinosaurs with a million hours and thirty minutes logged tracking them.  

Hey, try fixed-card or manual loop sometime!

edit: FFS repair

[Edited 2006-07-22 18:34:27]

[Edited 2006-07-22 18:35:39]
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
bri2k1
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Sun Jul 23, 2006 3:05 am

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 42):
Also when doing my training for my PPL, I went on a night cross country with my instructor that went over some unpopulated forested area. I relied on VORs and GPS for assistance on that route.

No one said anything about night  Smile Although I've done it, mostly relying on roads. I don't stray too far from my familiar area at night. And, I will admit, I frequently tune in and follow ILS approaches in VMC at night. Mostly just makes sure I'm on the right runway.

But during the day? VORs are a great backup. I wouldn't be screwed without them. Flying at 36,000 feet would be a different story.
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SlamClick
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Sun Jul 23, 2006 3:11 am

Quoting Bri2k1 (Reply 45):
No one said anything about night

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 mind on that one.

JFK Jr. only confirmed it.
What good is eight miles vis if the nearest lighted object is fifteen miles away. You might as well be in intergalactic space.
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L-188
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Sun Jul 23, 2006 3:16 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 46):
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 mind on that one.

You should come up here in January.

Alaska can get damm bright on a clear night with a full moon.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
SlamClick
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Sun Jul 23, 2006 3:23 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 47):
Alaska can get damm bright on a clear night with a full moon.

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 quite clearly. Still I tuned VORs because I'm just a cautious guy.

Quoting L-188 (Reply 47):
You should come up here

I mean to, one day soon. After each trip to Alaska I waxed so rhapsodic about it that my wife wants me to take her there more than she wants Hawaii. That suits me right down to the ground! If Alaska did not exist it would be necessary to invent it.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
flymatt2bermud
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RE: How Much Longer Are VORs Going To Last?

Sun Jul 23, 2006 7:53 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 44):
But then I am one of those old dinosaurs with a million hours and thirty minutes logged tracking them

Viva la dinosaurs!
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward" Leonardo Da Vinci

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