Latest Update on VOR Decommissioning Program

The latest update from FAA on its plans to decommission VORs includes the following details:

  • Decommission approximately 30% (308) of the current 957 VORs by 2025
  • 74 VORs will be shut down during phase 1 (FY2016 through FY2020)
  • Another 234 VORs will be decommissioned during phase 2 (FY2021 – FY2025)
  • Of the 308 VORs to be shut down, 15 will be in the West, 162 in the central U.S., and 131 in the East.
  • 649 VORs will remain in operation after 2025, forming the minimum operational network (MON).

The goals established for the MON include allowing pilots to:

  • Revert from PBN to conventional navigation in the event of a Global Positioning System (GPS) outage;
  • Tune and identify a VOR at an altitude of 5,000 feet or higher;
  • Navigate using VOR procedures through a GPS outage area;
  • Navigate to a MON airport within 100 nautical miles to fly an Instrument Landing System (ILS) or VOR instrument approach without Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), Automatic Direction Finder (ADF), surveillance, or GPS; and
  • Navigate along VOR Airways especially in mountainous terrain where surveillance services are not available and Minimum En Route Altitudes (MEAs) offer lower altitude selection for options in icing conditions.

Progress will be slow initially. Only 5 VORs are to be shut down by September 2016. Another 4 navaids will be decommissioned by September 2017, followed by 4 more through September 2018. In 2019, FAA plans to shut down an additional 25 VORs, followed by 36 more in 2020.

Phase 2 begins in FY2021. A total of 234 VORs will be shut down through 2025.

You can read more details about the MON plan in the minutes of the 15-02 meeting of the Aeronautical Charting Forum.

 

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Update to AC 61-98

FAA has published AC 61-98C: Currency Requirements and Guidance for the Flight Review and Instrument Proficiency Check. This document supplants the previous edition, published in 2012.

Most of the document appears to be an update to reflect changes to references and online resources. But instructors and pilots should note that the AC now recommends that pilots submit a form 8710-1 when they complete a flight review or instrument proficiency check.

1-8. AIRMAN CERTIFICATE AND/OR RATING APPLICATION.

a. Revised Airman Application Form. The FAA frequently updates FAA Form 8710-1, Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application, to meet the needs of the airmen certification process and the aviation community. CFIs, pilots, and stakeholders should note that the latest Form 8710-1 contains enhancements that include a new field for a flight review and another for IPC.

b. Flight Review and IPC. When a pilot satisfactorily completes a flight review or IPC, the applicant should provide, and the evaluating CFI should submit, a completed Form 8710-1 to the Airmen Certification Branch (AFS-760). The FAA does not require Form 8710-1 for a pilot’s flight review or IPC; however, the FAA strongly encourages all applicants and CFIs to follow this recommendation. An airman certificate application updates a pilot’s FAA record. Pilots should ensure that their data is current because up-to-date records benefit everyone. For example, a pilot’s total flight time and aeronautical experience determines insurance premiums. If a pilot loses his or her logbook, an FAA record is on file and available. Nevertheless, submitting Form 8710-1 for a flight review or IPC is optional.

c. Preferred Method. The preferred method for submitting an Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application is through the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) system. The FAA did not have the IACRA system updated at the time of this publication; but the latest Form 8710-1 iteration will soon be available in IACRA. IACRA is the web-based certification/rating application that guides the user through the FAA’s airman application process. IACRA validates data. It also uses electronic signatures to protect the information’s integrity and eliminates paper forms.

You can find the IACRA homepage at https://iacra.faa.gov/iacra/

You can find FAA Form 8710-1 online at http://www.faa.gov/forms/