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FAA Plans to Eliminate 308 VORs

July 27, 2016

FAA has taken the next step in creating a minimum operational network of ground-based very high frequency, omnidirectional radio range (VOR) navaids, finalizing a policy that includes identifying more than 300 VORs that will be decommissioned as part of industry’s transition to more efficient, satellite-based instrument approach procedures.

FAA’s policy statement, published July 26, lists 308 VORs that are being considered for decommissioning. The list mirrors what an industry working group, which included NBAA, recommended as part of the agency’s effort to streamline its workload. View the FAA’s policy statement.

The Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Range (VOR) is a ground-based electronic system that provides azimuth information for high and low altitude routes and airport approaches.

The FAA’s criteria for selecting which VORs will remain operational includes prioritizing VORs that support international oceanic arrival routes, provide coverage at and above 5,000 feet agl and are used by the military.

The FAA has classified 736 redundant or underused VOR approaches using criteria and a process proposed by the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) based on surveys and research. FSF met with industry groups, including NBAA, as part of its analysis.

“NBAA has been part of this process from the beginning, and we support the FAA’s effort to eliminate legacy procedures that no longer add value to operators,” said Bob Lamond, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure. “The shift to full performance-based navigation procedures will mean more options for operators, and eliminating unnecessary procedures will help the FAA manage its workload.”

As part of the decommissioning process, the FAA will publish notices on each VOR slated for elimination and solicit public input. The VORs will be closed in two phases: one running through 2020, and the second from 2021 to 2025.

“The FAA remains committed to the plan to retain an optimized network of VOR NAVAIDs,” the agency said. “The MON will enable pilots to revert from performance based navigation (PBN) to conventional navigation for approach, terminal and enroute operations in the event of a GPS outage, and supports the NAS transition from VOR-based routes to a more efficient PBN structure consistent with NextGen goals and the NAS Efficient Streamlined Services Initiative.”