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.
4 thoughts on “Latest Update on VOR Decommissioning Program”
While there are only 35 VOR stations on the initial decommissioning list, the very fact that the list has been published seems to have had an immediate impact on the maintenance of other VOR’s not on the list. I fly mostly in Texas and Louisiana, two states with no VOR’s on the initial list, yet I have found a noticeable uptick in non-functioning VOR’s across my frequent routes with no known service schedule to return to service. It may not be a fact, but the eventual decommissioning of stations down to the MON seems to be giving those responsible for upkeep of the VORs an excuse to “terminally delay” service to many stations down for maintenance.
Can you provide specific examples of VORs that are out of service without an estimated return to service? I did a quick flight path NOTAM search from TX to FL, and I saw a few navaids out of service, but the NOTAMs all had estimated dates for return to operations.