Features October 2015 Issue
Your Vor is History
The FAA loves GPS. Itís precise, reliable and best of all, somebody else pays for it. This lets the FAA get rid of now-unneeded ground-based navaids and their approaches.
The only reason for VORs is for airways and instrument approaches. With GPS navigation taking over, itís difficult to cost-justify ground-based navigation sources like VORs, many of which are nearing the end of their lives. T and Q routes are popping up, reducing the need for VOR-based airways, and many of us would prefer to fly a GPS-based approach than all the other types. Face it: GPS is in; VORs are out.
A few years ago, the FAA wanted to axe half the VORs, but users have collectively pushed back. The current plan is to trim the 967 existing VORs by 300, in three phases of 100 each by 2025.
But, itís a chicken-or-the-egg thing. They canít get rid of the VORs until they get rid of the airways and the approaches. GPS-direct navigation is common already. So, eliminating airways should be reasonably simple. That leaves approaches as the limitation and the short-term solution. So, for now, the FAAís focus is on eliminating ground-based approaches.