VOR Days Numbered in FAA Proposal

By Scott Spangler on January 3rd, 2012

In a general sense, I knew that NextGen would be the end of the VORs that have reliably led aviators for decades. But 10 days before Christmas, the retirement of these familiar white cones is much more real.

That’s when the FAA published its request for comments on its plan to start retiring legacy systems to the old navaids home. The comment period ends on March 7, 2012, and you can read the proposal and comment on it here.

It’s the next step in the implementation of NextGen’s “flexible point-to-point navigation enabled by geospatial positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) infrastructure and aircraft advanced navigation systems.” I added that emphasis; most of the aircraft owners I know have already stepped up to GPS/WAAS, but if you haven’t, and you depend on your airplane to get from point A to B in the weather, now is the time to think seriously about stepping up to this technology.

Sure, the FAA plans to retain an optimized network of DME stations and a “minimum operational network (MON)” of VORs to ensure safety and continuous operations in the lower 48 states and terminal operations at the “Core 30 airports,” as well as the existing ILS network (the FAA will meet new Category I requirements with LPV approaches), but it seems clear that the FAA will maintain these legacy systems behind glass labeled “Break In Case of Emergency!”

The surviving legacy systems will not navigate you as they did in their prime. There are, the FAA says, 967 VORs. More than 80 percent of them are working well beyond their service life, and repair parts are getting increasingly harder to find.

The goal is to start retiring them. The survivors will create the MON, which provides minimal navigation. If flying above 5,000 feet AGL, it will “enable aircraft anywhere in CONUS to proceed safely to a destination with a GPS-independent approach within 100 nm.”

The FAA is also working on alternate positioning, navigation, and timing (ANPT) solution that would enable “further reduction of VORs below the MON.” The FAA would maintain the VORs that support international Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean arrivals, and it seems that ANPT might also allow their retirement.

Remembering the TO/FROM confusion that seemed to plague me from time to time, I doubt that many pilots will bemoan the demise of VORs. Upgrading to avionics that deliver NextGen’s required navigational performance, on the other hand, is something else entirely. Even worse, perhaps, are the old dogs that must learn NextGen’s new tricks. –Scott Spangler

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50 Responses to “VOR Days Numbered in FAA Proposal”

  1. Mike Says:

    While I understand why the FAA is doing this I completely disagree with the timing. I fly for a Part 135 Cargo only carrier and we have ZERO IFR certified GPS units in our fleet. In fact they took all of the autopilots out of our fleet so that we wouldn’t have to deal with pilots downing the airplane. While the implementation date is 1/1/2020, that is only 8 years away. Eight! I agree with you that it was coming, but why so soon, I think they will push the final date until 2025. This will allow general aviation individuals the time to upgrade given the current state of the economy. But I would always be wrong.

  2. Otto Says:

    If you had problems with VOR navigation, you really missed out by being too young for the fun of low freq ranging.

  3. McKinley Butler Says:

    Mr Spangler must not be a middle class aircraft owner for whom a $20,000 upgrade to IFR Certified glass avionics (for a $40,000 Cessna 172) cannot be justified. he obviously is not a flight school owner for whom a $50,000 outlay for new IFR Glass will put his small school out of bussiness, effectively grounding his IFR training fleet.
    Why rush to do away with the VORs. Let them die naturally AND get the FAA to stop adding so much cost to new avionics. Look at what you can get for uncertified but very capable TruTrak equipment.

  4. WT Says:

    As the LightSquared debacle has shown, if terrorists want to disrupt all air transportation in the U.S., all they need to do is buy a bunch of medium-powered radio transmitters, put them in trucks, and drive around the major cities with them transmitting on the GPS frequencies. The entire “NextGen” navigation system would come to a screeching halt. Along with other issues such as frequency jamming by even normal radio traffic in highly congested airspace, this “Nextgen” system already looks like “LastGen” — very poorly thought out. The old VORs might be a last line of defense against the chaos when GPS has problems. Better keep those old skills current.

  5. Mark C. Says:

    Wow, I just started flying, I guess I’m just as glad they’re doing this now before I wasted any time learning IFR. I’ll never be able to afford a certified GPS, I’ll have to stick to flying VFR and using a non-certified GPS for enhanced situational awareness.

  6. Bink Says:

    What did I miss here – did Loran cost too much to support, were there issues? Many of us had receivers and things were going great with that AND GPS yet they pulled the plug.

  7. bryan esterly Says:

    Any pilot not understanding TO/FROM is hopefully not flying in my airspace. The VORs are useful and the receivers are repairable instead of the throw away units that are sold today. (ie digital TVs). Maybe if we do away with the FAA more funds would be available for VOR maintenance.

  8. Ted Says:

    Welcome to the future of aviation in America. They want the little guys out, so they are going to price us out.
    If you want to be in the system, $17,000 for an IFR GPS. If you want to fly in controlled air space, $8,000 for ADS-B out. If you want services (like traffic), $9,000 for ADS-B in and a PFD.
    The small flight schools won’t be able to afford this. So we will only have the big ones. That will cost a student $130,000 to get their ticket. Then the FAA will complain that there are no pilots. No problem, they will get them from India.
    See, the free market decides. Along with the help of the hammer of bought and paid for government (lobbyists).

    But what happens when the lobbyists for LightSquared use the their bought and paid for government (FCC) to push through a 4G network that jams GPS?.

  9. Jim K Says:

    If I recall correctly, all NDB’s were supposed to be decommisioned by 2006. Remember, this is the government we’re dealing with here. VORs will be around until 2030 at least.

  10. Kent Johns Says:

    I agree that any pilot confused by a to/from flag should have his license pulled and be sent back for more training.

    I further agree with the statements of those above who have objected to all this on the basis of inflicting unreasonable cost on the general aviation community.

    In fact this all sounds like just another airline sponsored ploy to ground as many “little airplanes” as possible or at best keep them out of airspace the airlines want for their own exclusive use.

    Not only is this impractical for the majority of general aviation aircraft owners, but for some of the older single engine models there’s not even panel space available for the avionics upgrades that would be required.

    Somebody needs to wake up the FAA and the advocates of this system and bring them down for a visit to the same planet where the real people live.

  11. Ben Says:

    There are numerous problems with the demise of the VOR and the ADS concept in general, which FAA claimed would allow for decom of ground radar and navigation sources. It doesn’t work – you still need ground radar to be safe and secure (proven by DoD analysis), and you need a backkup navigation source. It’s daft to believe otherwise.

    The FAA is inconsistent and disingenuous about this. The cost savings they claim are based on DoD paying for GPS, which is true today but not forever (they have declared it “peace-time only” capability). Maybe I’ll keep that KR86 handy after all..and hoep they keep showing AM broadcast antenna on sectional charts.

    I’m one of those middle-class budget flyers. My cheap portable GPS (and now my $800 iPad) makes it a lot easier. Sure, I can do all the same things with just VORs (I learned to fly “direct to” off airway with a chart, ruler, and noggin). The upgrade to an ADS certified GPS source starts at $10k today, plus $5k for the ADS “out”). Installed that is over 20k for no new capability. My $60k single is too expensive to keep as a VFR only, local area puddle jumper, but there isn’t going to be $30k in the budget to upgrade. Yeah, “NextGen” will drive me out of aviation, finally.

    We can be like Europe – no pesky little airplanes cluttering up the airspace system.

  12. Bill Says:

    An entire airspace system dependant on just a few satellites seems unwise to me. I think Ted has it right. As for being confused about TO and FROM, shame on Scott.

  13. John M Says:

    I didn’t really see anyone too thrilled with just “eliminating” most all VOR’s.
    This new era of shortsightedness and putting all your eggs in one basket is disconcerting at best and downright dangerous at worst. VOR’s are the only really remaining legitimate ground based “controllable” navigation left. (Was Loran really that expensive?) Let’s just get rid of VOR’s and be at the mercy of the heavens, terrorists, well heeled communications corporations, unfriendly governments (or maybe even “friendly” ones?), or anyone else who may have the means and methods to disrupt an obviously vulnerable satellite network.
    I had to convert to GPS and yes I do like it… but to totally rely on one (defenseless) system is just plain wishful thinking. It’s awful hard to drive your pickup truck around to the “broken” satellites and get them running…. We need to think long and hard before decommissioning a stalwart reliable system and being left with little redundancy.
    If you think To and From is difficult to understand wait until you have nothing but a compass, clock and chart…..

  14. Mike Says:

    I hate to see them go. I agree with the person who said “If the to/from is confusing to the pilot I hope they are not flying in my airspace”. So what happens when all of the VORs are gone and some other country shoots down our sattelites? Just some thoughts.

  15. Mike A Says:

    If replacement parts are hard to find for aging VORs, why not manufacture more parts? America is in need of jobs. Why not use this VOR maintenance issue to solve that other problem?

  16. Scott Spangler Says:

    An interesting range of comments so far. What is most surprising is that the winnowing of the VOR network to the MON is a surprise. It’s been part of the NextGen plan since the FAA started working on the satellite-based system a decade ago.

    Also surprising is the seemingly sudden affection pilots have to VORs, especially since they embraced GPS with their whole hearts when it started making it way into GA cockpits in the early 1990s.

    While I don’t own an airplane (with two kids in college, and a freelance income, that’s not a option right now), a number of friends are aicraft owners, and I can’t think of one who didn’t step up to the ubiquitious Garmin 430/530 in the last decade.

    Like most GA aviators, they “saved” for the upgrade like they did for an engine overhaul, putting away a few bucks for every hour they flew. And while they saved for an IFR panel mount, many of the bootlegged their navigation with a portable unit.

    Most of the ire shared here probably stems from the human resistence to change, a trait more powerful in piots, who exercise their privileges in a very structured environment.

    There’s no denying that change is an exercise in love and hate, but its coming, and coming gradually. VORs will be around for awhile, maybe a decade or two more, but they are certainly going the way of the low-freq A-D ranges.

    And for the records, the VOR’s TO/FROM confusion ended shortly before I took my private checkride in in the mid-1970s, but I still double-check myself to make sure I’ve got it right…unless I’m following my GPS, and then I don’t worry about it.

  17. Hal Says:

    Keep it simple Stupid (KISS)

  18. bob forsman Says:

    Our current satelites giving us signals for gps are way behind date to be replaced. We are still falling further behind. I do not have a good feeling about eliminating VORs unless the Satelites providing the signals are replaced on schedule. Just a thought from the peanut gallery.

  19. John Says:

    Then there are the many for whom NextGen is of no direct significance because the economy already grounded us long ago. I can get all nostalgic about the good old days when I paid $17/hr wet for a new 152 and $25 for an IFR equipped 172. But the reality is IF ever I get to resume flying, it will be in either a Light Sport or Experimental, and it won’t be in controlled airspace. I remain eternally hopeful- yet not holding my breath- that even these scaled back aspirations might come to pass. My confidence in government to be wise, do the right thing, & look out for the people was destroyed completely by the time the 1990′s rolled around. They’ve been way too busy building monuments to themselves and rewarding their “special friends” to remember that we, the people are even out here. Hoping, but not particularly expecting that this too might soon change.

  20. tigerpilot Says:

    Two words say it all. Light Speed-or is it one word? Either way the ease in knocking out GPS is way to big a threat to allow the VOR network to shut down.

  21. Bret Says:

    Scott, you know me and I can’t afford a new Garmin, or even a used one. A $35000 plane is hard to put $8-20k into! My warrior is ifr now, but when the KOSH vor goes out what will I do?
    Gps is great, but pricing all of us out isn’t good for anyone in aviation.

  22. Keith Says:

    I’m with Spangler on this one. And I didn’t try to make too much of his tongue in cheek remark about the to and from setting. You people know that VOR sucks. I was ticked off that they required me to use it on a check ride. I will never use it again. I would defend the now deceased Loran before defending VOR. God forbid the worst happen and we had to become pilots again. My instructor asked what would happen if my gps quit working. I replied “I would use the other two as long as they work and then break out the charts.” Point taken.

  23. Dane Says:

    It is worrisome to have only one navigation system with no back-up. I frequently fly cross country, mostly IFR but also occasionally VFR. Within the last month I have lost all GPS signals twice ( Garmin 530, 430, 396 and 295). Without VOR backup I would fly by dead reckoning which is tough when in unfamiliar airspace or at night. If you have not experienced loss of all GPS signals, it is very unsettling. I hope the termination of the VOR system is delayed.

  24. Chris Phillips Says:

    GPS and ADS-B are the greatest things that have happened to aviation (safety) since the bonfires on the hills for the mail route. Let’s move to the future and stop lingering in the past.

    I have a steam gauge C180 and an all electronic Flight Design CTSW. Guess which one I prefer in controlled airspace?, even though I have XM in the 180.

  25. Kevin Says:

    I think that Next-Gen tech is a good thing for aviation as it is progress for the future. But at the same time, we need to keep at least some (if not the majority) of the VOR, Radar Station, even NDB’s (for rural ares), etc. At the very least, these old but reliable stuff can act as a backup and save some lives should something go wrong with the satellites (malfunction, shot down by an enemy, Lightsquare, etc.). And who in their right mind would confuse the TO/FROM on the VORs? Lame! While it may not be the most accurate method of navigation by today’s GPS WAAS standards, I have found it to be one of the best, yet simple ways to go from point A to point B without getting lost.

  26. Jim Says:

    I’m sorry, but any IFR trainer really should have an approach certified GPS. You don’t have to spend $20K for a GTN750. A used GNS 450 will do at $4k + installation.

    Initial pilot training should include use of a handheld GPS. Unfortunately with all the TFRs, restricted areas, and Class B/C/D airspace, even the most basic of pilots needs one.

    GPS is light years ahead of VORs. I am glad they are keeping ILSs in the system a while longer. It is possible to get an IFR approved enroute GPS (e.g., Garmin/Apollo GX55) for $2K, possibly less. Still, we do need more options for inexpensive IFR certified GPSes. And installation labor is a major cost of the system.

    This whole thing ties in to ADS-B also, in that it will be required to fly IFR into controlled airspace in many if not all areas around the same timeframe.

  27. Mike Says:

    Please take no offence at the “TO/FROM” comments. I know that can be confusing. You are right, change is coming and most of us dont like it. I do think it is obsurd when an avionics suite costs as much as the aircraft itself. Just my opinion. As for me, I will never go in the clouds again so you can find me in something low tech, VFR, and following a sectional chart for navigation. I might even blow the dust off of my E6B and see if I remember how to use it.

    Happy flying all.

  28. Scott Spangler Says:

    Changes in technology are not inexpensive or witout angst, but they are invevitable. We’ve gone from bonfires to beacons to A/B ranges, to NDBs, to VORs and Loran, to GPS. Paying the price for change is another responsibility that accompanys the privilege of flight.

    Fortunately, the changes are gradual, giving most aircraft owners time to make the change, unless they devote that time to pining for what way rather than planning for what will be.

    The VOR network will certainly be viable for another seven years or so, and it will exist as a the minimum operational network for some time after 2020. Yes, putting a lot of expensive avionics in an old airplane seems nonsensical, until you realize that the average GA airplane is middle aged, and that their avoinics is what gives them their value.

    Like many other things in live, aviation is separtating into operational and economic layers, like salad dressing that’s been sitting on the counter for several days. Those who use their airplanes for transportation, andhave the ability to deduct that expense from their taxes, will step up to NextGen. The rest who, like me, fly for fun, will stop flying in the clouds and migrate to light-sport aircraft, many of which are, for the most part, prepared for NextGen requirements.

    My, I’m with Mike. Give me a sectional, a compass (backed up by a portable GPS, naturally), and an E6B, and I’m happy.

  29. Don Pointer Says:

    The most significant comment here points out the possibility of an enemy (what? We have enemies?) blocking out the GPS. A large portion of New Mexico is already blocked by commercial interests. I use the GPS but I still keep up my paper and pencil skills.

  30. Mike Says:

    Technology is great and there is a lot of cool stuff out there. Some will make the transition and others will opt not to. I am hopeful that there will still be an avenue of flight options for both categories. What is more concerning to me is our escelating reliance on technology. This is a bit off the subject but it is very scary when there are ATP applicants out there who cant meet the PTS with out the box. Lets not forget how to fly in an effort to keep up with technology. Lets keep our Charts, Paper, and Pencils handy because we just might need them someday.

  31. John Worsley Says:

    I, too, share the concerns about having a backup in case the satellites fail, but I have another concern that I haven’t seen addressed. That is whether, when Nextgen is fully operational, current radar coverage will be maintained. If not, what will happen when individual GPSs go down, which they are known to do? Will that make the affected plane invisible to everybody, including ATC?

  32. Bill Dando Says:

    When the VOR needs servicing, they send a service tech and a truck. When the GPS satellite needs servicing, who do they send?

  33. Steve Thompson Says:

    I attempted to post this 4JAN12, but it apparently got lost. So this was the general idea of what I was trying to convey:

    In the business world we have something called BCP — Business Continuity Planning. It used to be called Disaster Recovery Planning.

    Too many people do not know history of telegraphy, telephony and radio. And they don’t know much about the effects of solar radiation and “sun storms”. During the halcion days of telegraphy when all the railroads had telegraph stations at each stop, there was a coronal mass ejection that took place, and it came straight at the earth (for all intents and purposes). Telegraph lines caught fire.

    We are, statistically, due for another one of those coronal mass ejections or a major sun storm. And when all those charged particles come this way, how many satelites will get fried (GPS or not)?

    The most inexpensive nav-aids are NDBs. You can even use the low end AM broadcast stations for this (they overlapped the frequencies used for NDBs). ADF units are quite cheap. I used to take care of the one off the Cumberland MD airport (CBE). Quite inexpensive to build and keep running — even with lightening strikes.

    Now we are told that parts for VORs are getting hard to find. Really? Are you trying to tell me that the VORs and VORTACs are old tube types? And how long would it take to get them to solid state with board replacement (no one does component level repair with Large Scale Integrated Circuits (CHIPS))?

    So, we have had people cover that we have enemies that could cause GPS problems (with Jamming or EMP). Now we find that the Sun could do the GPS Cloud in.

    We have also had people discuss loss of GPS signals that is happening now (and yes, I have lost RAIM in the clouds in western MS / eastern LA in 2011).

    Do our government officials (and Bureaurats) ever think of BCP?

    You, as a pilot, should be ready with maps, clock, and E6B. This raises the question — Should any one of these things happen, how good are you at flying glass with no GPS? Can you even do it? [Note to self: that experimental you are designing....]

    And what is ATC going to do when most of the intersections they want you to go to are only defined by GPS? How many controllers will it take to handle Chicago O’Hare or the NE 3 with just radar?

    If we actually go to ADS-B IN/OUT and we lose 25% of the cloud, will we still be using those transponders? Because if we aren’t, TCAS is lost.

    Back to BCP: LightSquared just provided the FAA with a BCP drill. Was anyone paying any attention?

    I like technology, always have. GPS units are coming down in price. It is the current maps that I find are expensive. Yet, I fly Part 91 with GPS and am looking for an iPAD.

    I think I can survive GPS loss — I make sure I have enough fuel to go 3 hours from my destination — that should get me to VMC.

    Can the FAA survive such a monumental problem?

    Eggs. Basket. Anyone with any pull/power see a problem here?

  34. Kent Johns Says:

    I’m very much onboard with Steve Thompson’s remark. Having already participated in one real-world BCP situation during my working career, I fully realize how some of the most disastrous consequences can arise from seemingly inconsequential things. That is not to say a coronal mass ejection is an inconsequential thing, but if it’s big enough to take out the nav sats then there will inevitably be problems with the power grid as well. At which point it may not matter much which nav system you’re using. Still, the chances of the VORs being up is a lot better than the GPS constellation.

    While it may be true on some level that arguments based on the economics of continued participation in an endeavor from which one is being squeezed out by escallating equipment cost requirements should not be regarded as valid, certainly the point that an “all the eggs in one basket” approach represents irresponsible planning needs to be taken seriously by everyone potentially affected by it.

  35. Mike Says:

    Didnt think about the sun? That is an excellent point and we are due for increased solar activity this year, I believe.

    If we dont maintain a viable backup then we are just asking for trouble.

  36. Barry Says:

    I must disagree with Scott, as have many of the rest of you. I am a pilot and aircraft owner and know many more. I most of those I know have NOT upgraded to the “ubiquitious Garmin 430/530 “. The reason of course is the cost. With fuel at $5.00 per gallon + and the cost of maintenance increasing every year, I don’t know many owners with and extra 10K to 20K to upgrade to these old units, let alone the new ones from Garmin. I expect to upgrade and improve things as needed, but 20K for something with no more capability than an $800 ipad is completely stupid. With VORs gone, my plane becomes VFR only. The airlines are pushing for help with the costs. Nothing coming for the rest of us.

    Keep the VORs until the costs for panel equiment is reasonable.

  37. Rob Mark Says:

    One thing that bothers me about the incredible increase in iPad usage amongst GA pilots is that these systems are not IFR certified.

    But they sure look like they are … almost.

    If, as Barry says, you can spend $800 for an IPad with a gazillion useful options, what’s to stop folks from eventually using these in IFR because they look like they’re pretty close to what someone has on a Garmin 430/530?

  38. Daniel Milstein Says:

    “That is so true, that barry saysyou can spend $800 for an IPad with a gazillion useful options, what’s to stop folks from eventually using these in IFR because they look like they’re pretty close to what someone has on a Garmin 430/530? One thing I learned before I became a bestselling author and long before Inc Magazine voted my company as one of the fastest growing companies is Too many people do not know history of telegraphy, telephony and radio. And they don’t know much about the effects of solar radiation and “sun storms” “

  39. Rex Says:

    why get rid of “VOR”maybe an oldie but its a “goodie”saves lives system works..anybody dont know to and from,how did u get past checkride? its an “EZ” system to use..I really love it..ur dang gps ever failed on ya,u got vor for back-up..too dang expensive get all these dang expensive gps Ipad stuff..jus to use/replace in older plane that some can afford to fly..doesnt make sense put $8,000-$20000. ina plane that somebody mite steal…Im at home with VOR EZ to use,hope it stays useful very long time..least fire up ye ol shop,make some parts give people jobs…easier than firin up bottle rocket n fixin sat. out n wild blue yonder..love them “VOR” for me…

  40. bob mcdonald Says:

    Mr. Spangler is truly a PRO ! To admit that he still checks to be sure his heading is the recip crs. “TO”the VOR and the OBS is indeed twisted up properly says a whole lot about his super professional attitude. I’ve been at this business for 20 years, and any one that ridicules one who might become confused with the TO/FROM indication once in a while is the same kind of JACKASS that says ” SPACIAL DISORIENTATION? NOT ME .. THAT’S FOR BEGINNERS “. I’ll fly right seat to Mr. Spangler any time. Welcome in the new , but NEVER forget where you came from.

  41. Kent Johns Says:

    I’m sorry but I just don’t see the big deal here. I thought everyone always synched up the OBS to reference whatever it is they’re trying to accomplish relative to their heading.

    Anyway, the point is we’re all supposed to be here commenting on the wisdom (or lack thereof) in decommissioning the vast majority of the VORs in favor of a new satellite based system, not bragging on our individual prowess as aerial navigators.

  42. Mike Says:

    I think there is no wisdom in decommissioning a proven, relatively easy system, and plunging head first into a system that is relatively new and unproven. Someone once said the greatest thing to happen to GA was the introduction of GPS. That same person also said that the worst thing to happen to GA was the introduction of GPS. I agree that this forum is to comment on the decomissioning of the VORs. Here is my comment, I think it is unwise, and when it happens I do think that our prowess as aerial navigators might just be very important to us and worthy of keeping up. That alone might just keep us out of trouble when things go bad.

  43. Kent Johns Says:

    Can we get a big AMEN for Mike?

  44. Mark Says:

    If they turn off the VOR’s how will the FAA designate Presidential TFR’s?

  45. Mike Says:

    Good question. I guess they will use waypoints and assume that everyone flying has the equipment to ID them?

  46. Kent Johns Says:

    Uh-huh…the ubiquitous assumption. How much trouble has that caused over the centuries?

  47. Dennis Goldman Says:

    I think what everyone has failed to realize here is that the current VOR systems are based on skylab technology. The circuit cards and chips are no longer manufactured by anyone. Environmental situations around VOR’s have caused major problems…it would take millions of dollars to cut all the trees that have placed major restrictions on facilities, not to mention windmills and cell towers. How many of us are still using a computer running on an 8088 processor or a 300 baud modem ?. So I guess the real question with all the current federal budget cuts is.. Where is the money going to come from to design and procure a replacement for the existing system ? The answer is… unless there is a whole lot of outcry to keep the system it is going to become history.

  48. Steve Thompson Says:

    “I think what everyone has failed to realize here is that the current VOR systems are based on skylab technology.”

    “Now we are told that parts for VORs are getting hard to find. Really? Are you trying to tell me that the VORs and VORTACs are old tube types? And how long would it take to get them to solid state with board replacement (no one does component level repair with Large Scale Integrated Circuits (CHIPS))?”

    No, I’d say that wasn’t lost on some of us. Some of us still remember crank phones. Now we have these pesky iPhones. Just like that technology moved on, so has RF technology. A transmitter that used to weigh about 1 ton, now weighs about 80%? less and uses 50%? less electricity for the same power output.

    Just need to write an RFP/RFQ and take bids.

    As for signal blocking, it would be nice if you knew what you were talking about. The airways would be non-usable if what you are alleging were true.

    – I fly using both GPS (IFR) and VORs (DFW area, try to get an IFR clearance without a SID/STAR). I pay attention to min reception altitudes, areas where a VOR can’t be received below xxx MSL if y miles away. I’m not running into a lot of these.

  49. Kent Johns Says:

    Funny you should say that. I have in my garage an Amstrad (British brand) computer from the mid 80′s with an 8088 processor and if I hook it up to a transformer to step the house current up to 220 volts, still runs perfectly. How many computers have you gone through in the last ten years? They don’t make ‘em like they used to…But that’s beside the point.

    Sounds like you may have just made a case for going back to ADF as a backup system. The transmitters aren’t bothered by trees, cell towers or windmills and any licensed ham radio guy can build one. Now if we could only remember where we put all that old hardware we had pulled out of our airplanes ten years ago…

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