FAA Provides More Details about Cutting VORs

The FAA recently published information about its plans to shut down VORs as it transitions to a GPS-based navigation system, an overhaul that’s part of the NextGen program.

Update: FAA Proposed Policy for Discontinuance of Certain Instrument Approach Procedures. Although this proposal is not directly related to the VOR Minimum Operational Network, it’s of interest to pilots who rely on ground-based navigation aids under IFR.

Now, at the behest of AOPA, FAA has released a few specifics about the proposal, including the map below that shows which VORs (green) will remain as others (red) are shut down, no later than 2020.

According to the FAA summary document:

FAA is planning on removing many of the 954 federally-owned and operated VORs and establishing a Minimum Operational Network (MON) of VORs not later than 2020…The purpose of the MON is to maintain a backup navigation capability to provide service for VOR-equipped aircraft in case of a GPS outage. In the MON, all VORs will be retained in Alaska, the Western U.S. Mountainous Area (WUSMA), and U.S. Islands and territories.

The FAA summary describes the “backup navigation capability” this way:

The MON will provide a safe landing for VOR-equipped aircraft flying under IFR in the case of a GPS outage. However, in general, the MON will not provide an efficient or useable navigation network for VOR-only aircraft (i.e., aircraft not equipped with GPS or Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) avionics). VOR-based navigation using only the MON would likely be circuitous, and not all airports will have instrument approaches that will be useable by VOR-only aircraft. The MON could be used by aircraft flying under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), but the primary purpose of the MON is to support safe landing of IFR aircraft during a GPS outage.

The document also notes that:

In considering VORs for discontinuance, each facility will be evaluated on its own merits. The FAA will convene a working group that will develop a candidate list of VORs for discontinuance using relevant operational, safety, cost, and economic criteria. As part of the process, this working group will engage aviation industry stakeholders and other members of the public for input.

For more details about the plan to shut down VORs, see the AOPA summary and the FAA white paper, which includes additional maps and tables, here. Comments on the FAA’s proposal are due March 7, 2012.


3 Responses to FAA Provides More Details about Cutting VORs

  1. Pingback: When a VOR is Decommissioned | BruceAir, LLC (bruceair.com)

  2. Pingback: Update on VOR Decommissioning | BruceAir, LLC (bruceair.com)

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