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7 Things You Should Know About VOR Navigation

Every IFR pilot learns how to use VORs. Here are some things you may not know...

1) But First, What Does VOR Stand For?

VOR stands for VHF (very high frequency) omni-directional range radio. This is a 30-300 MHz frequency band.

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2) Available VOR NAVAID Frequencies

You'll find VOR frequencies available between 108.00 MHz and 117.95 MHz. Between 108.00 MHz and 112.00 MHz, even tenths are reserved for VORs and odd tenths are reserved for localizer (LOC) NAVAIDs.

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3) Each VOR Has 2 VHF Signals

One is all-directional, known as the reference phase. The other is rotating, called the variable phase. Your VOR receiver interprets the difference between these signals to determine what radial you're flying on from the VOR.

4) 3 Service Volume Levels

There are terminal, low, and high VORs. Each has a different range and service volume. You can find which type of VOR you'll be using in your chart supplement.

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5) Line Of Sight

VORs are based on line-of-sight. If terrain or the horizon obscures a direct path between your airplane and the VOR, it will be unusable.

6) Avoid Reverse Sensing

Always have the aircraft heading match the VOR course you've set. If they're reversed, you put yourself at risk for reverse sensing.

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7) 30 Day VOR Checks

To fly IFR, a VOR check must have been performed within the past 30 days (14 CFR Part 91.171). The date, location, noted VOR errors, and the pilot's signature must be entered into the aircraft logbook.

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What else should pilots know about VORs? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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