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rotation18L
Topic Author
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2001 11:30 am

VOR Radials, Airport Beacon Placement and Planning

Sun Apr 25, 2021 3:40 pm

A navigation/airport operations question that came to mind. Have been thinking about the physical locations of airport beacons on airport property, as well as the physical locations of VOR transmitters, relative to the physical location of the relative airport. Are there specific parameters that go in to the planning around where these devices are physically located? Based on certain FARs, local government permitting, etc. Or are decisions/planning around how and where to physically install them, based on some aviation navigation parameter/requirement I'm not thinking of (For instance, in the case of VOR transmitters, is this based on specific SID/STAR procedures)??

For example, some VOR transmitters are located directly on airport property, whereas in other cases, they're located several miles off airport property.

Curious about why the differences exist, as well as the actual planning/decisions that go in their physical placement.

Thank you!
Rotation18L
 
N737ER
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 5:04 am

Re: VOR Radials, Airport Beacon Placement and Planning

Sun Apr 25, 2021 5:06 pm

I'll first state that I know nothing about the decision making or technical process regarding physical Navaid placement. For building Insturment Flight Procedures, there are regulations, and these (United States standards as of September 2020) can be found in this document: https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/med ... 260.3E.pdf

In the area I worked on the west coast, a lot of the VORs, ATC Transmitters, and Long Range Radars placed off airport, were placed in locations such as on top of mountains or hills. I believe this was done to increase their useability. In some cases it appears the VOR's location allows an airway to be built over "lower" terrain. When this type of technology relies on Line-Of-Sight it makes sense to place them in locations where they are most useable, rather than in a valley with limited "sight".

When airways are built, their Divergence (Degrees) effects how ATC can utilise/separate from converging aiways.

Other Navaids could be placed in a manner than facilitates a procedure for an airport. The Localiser/Distance Measuring Equipment (LOC/DME) for the LDA-Y approach to Rwy 19 at Washington National is on airport, while the LOC/DME for the LDA-Z to Rwy 19 is located across the Potomac & Anacostia rivers at Joint Base Anacostia/Bolling. At Aspen the I-PKN back course LOC/DME is placed on a ridge South/Southeast of the airport. This backcourse localiser is utilised in the Missed Approach to the LOC/DME-E to ASE as well course guidiance on parts of the ASPEN, LINDZ, and SARDD departure procedures.
 
VSMUT
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Re: VOR Radials, Airport Beacon Placement and Planning

Sun Apr 25, 2021 6:07 pm

I believe it is laid out in ICAO Doc 8168 Volume II − Construction of Visual and Instrument Flight Procedures. ICAO was put in charge of developing common international standards.

I never got access to it, as a pilot it is all about Volume I.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 8078
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: VOR Radials, Airport Beacon Placement and Planning

Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:59 pm

Or TERPS, for FAA use. The USAF Instrument School spent a lot of time TERPS and both volumes of 8168.

Here’s all 509 pages of TERPS, which includes airways.

https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/med ... 60.3D1.pdf
 
CanukinUSA
Posts: 136
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:06 pm

Re: VOR Radials, Airport Beacon Placement and Planning

Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:46 am

The International standard is the ICAO Document series listed above (ICAO Document 8168)
Volume I is a Flight Procedures Guide is what was assumed when the procedures are designed so the flight crews know what limitations they have when they fly an approach.
Volume II is more of an Engineering document which covers how the procedure may be designed.
Volume III is Aircraft Operating Procedures
Volumes I and III are the most important documents for Flight Crews.
Volume II is for Procedure designers and contains all of Navaid usable and obstacle clearance areas and other details for the procedure designers.

Some countries have developed their own standards of which TERPS in the US is an example because they have decided that they need to have their own standards for their airspace.
Other countries have developed standards based on TERPS and/or the ICAO documents. Canada is a prime example which has based their standards TP308 "Criteria for the Development of Instrument Procedures" mostly on the US TERPS with a few unique Canadian standards due to their colder climate and longer distances from Altimeter Setting stations in unpopulated regions, etc..
 
CanukinUSA
Posts: 136
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:06 pm

Re: VOR Radials, Airport Beacon Placement and Planning

Mon Apr 26, 2021 1:28 am

All 3 Volumes of the ICAO Document 8168 are downloadable in pdf format from the Civil Aviation Authority in Switzerland as they use them at:
https://www.bazl.admin.ch/bazl/en/home/ ... ex-14.html
For the Canadian standard you have to request TP308 from Transport Canada and have a reason for obtaining it I believe.
 
CanukinUSA
Posts: 136
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:06 pm

Re: VOR Radials, Airport Beacon Placement and Planning

Mon Apr 26, 2021 2:29 am

Another source for International Standards on Radio Navigation Aids is "ICAO Annex 10 Volume I Radio Navigation Aids" at:
https://www.bazl.admin.ch/bazl/en/home/ ... rgani.html
 
CanukinUSA
Posts: 136
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 5:06 pm

Re: VOR Radials, Airport Beacon Placement and Planning

Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:31 am

Obviously, there are a lot of considerations to be looked at to figure out a site for a particular radio aid and for designing approaches to runways. Once the characteristics of a particular radio aid are known then the procedure designer must try and figure out the optimum location for a particular aid that will enable the optimum aircraft operations in that area. There are additional considerations due to surrounding airports and air traffic and airspace that might affect the location. Also, there may be restrictions due to noise abatement etc. that the designer will have to consider. Ideally a straight in approach to every runway would be the most desirable and with GPS that is possible in many more locations and runways. GPS is not also dependent anymore on having Ground Stations except for very low approaches with Ground Stations typically located on the airport now. Finally there is weather conditions such as typical wind. fog and low cloud bases at some airports.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: VOR Radials, Airport Beacon Placement and Planning

Mon Apr 26, 2021 1:41 pm

Also, real estate, the FAA spends considerable money on sites for navaids. Siting costs factor into locations..
 
IAHFLYR
Posts: 4383
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: VOR Radials, Airport Beacon Placement and Planning

Mon Apr 26, 2021 10:32 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Also, real estate, the FAA spends considerable money on sites for navaids. Siting costs factor into locations..


Yes they do, and as soon as some land owner hears "Fed' the price just went up. Another reason you'll find NAVAID located on airports is due to security reasons. Much easier to keep a VORTAC or RADAR antenna (long range or short range) within the airport perimeter for security rather than out in some field plus the cost associated with the land once again.
 
26point2
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:01 am

Re: VOR Radials, Airport Beacon Placement and Planning

Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:22 pm

VORs were once named for the nearest city even if many miles away...but this changed.

When I learned to fly in Central California in the early 1980s many VORs far away from the associated airport still held the name of the nearby airport. The VOR names were changed to avoid confusion I suspect. Examples that I can remember. Merced, CA is now El Nido. Reno, NV is now Mustang. Fresno is now Clovis. Bakersfield is now Shafter. Napa is now Skaggs Island. Santa Barbara is now San Marcus, Ukiah is now Mendocino, Etc. VORs located on the airfield maintained the original name. This probably occurred through the entire country.

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