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Thread: VOR for dummies

  1. #1
    Fitzwilliam Guest

    Default VOR for dummies

    Please do not read this if you are faint of heart. My ignorance may cause some type of neurological meltdown in the discriminating pilot. Our story begins after taking off from a small airstrip deep in the Bible belt (I know the takeoff was shaky, but even on calm days you can get wind shears and mysterious crosswinds—ever heard of crop circles?)

    Now, I am at 1,000 feet and it is time to tune to my VOR station. I put in the proper channel and hear the Morse code for the correct station. This is where I get lost :)

    How do I know which heading to set my instruments on? I look at my flight plan and it tells me that the heading should be 232… so I suppose I set my VOR display for that. WHY?! How do they know 232? I sure do not… do they look at a chart and measure the angle with a ruler? I am so lost… Yes I have read the Class 12: VOR Navigation. I just do not get it…


  2. #2

    Default RE: VOR for dummies

    Turn the knob until the pointer lines up straight with a "to" indication. Then fly the heading shown. This will lead you to the VOR. If you get off course, then realign it and fly the new heading. In a flight plan, the headings are shown from one compass rose to the next. If you fly exactly on course, then your heading will be what's shown. If the wind blows you off course, then your actual course/heading will be somewhat different.


  3. #3
    happydude Guest

    Default RE: VOR for dummies

    Fritz, dont feel bad for not knowing these things. You will learn them. I think pilots who are willing to admit they dont know or aren't quite familiar with something will be safer and in the long run, be better flyers.


  4. Default RE: VOR for dummies

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jan-21-03 AT 09:34PM (EST)[/font][p]Let's try this. Set the OBS heading so that the needle is centered. If you have a to indication, that heading will trak to the VOR. If it is a from indication, the reciprocal, will track toward the VOR. So if your flight plan says a heading of 232, set the OBS to center needle, it should be close to 232 (to) or 052 (from). Each radial equals 1 degree change that radiates from the VOR. Your flight plan heading and VOR navigattion will only be the same if there is no wind, and you are navigating from one VOR to another VOR.

    Try this. Go to KOFK runway 1, tune in 109.6, set OBS to 354, and depart. Once airborne and leaving 2500 feet, turn left to 350 degrees, when the needle centers, turn to 354 degrees. Fly on this radial for 15 or so miles.

    You should have a from indication, and be north of the VOR. Look at the GPS and this should help clarify the relationship of VOR radials and position. Just remember, centering the needle gives you position in relation to the VOR, not your heading. If you have flown 15 miles on this radial, with a C172 you should be able to do a 360 degree turn and the needle will stay close to center. Hope this helps.

  5. #5

    Default RE: VOR for dummies

    I'm thankful to a pilot that explained it to me back in
    my FS4 days..though I'll confess I still have a tough
    time occasionally.


  6. Default RE: VOR for dummies

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jan-21-03 AT 09:59PM (EST)[/font][p]All of that is explained in this book and it's free.

  7. Default RE: VOR for dummies

    Its ok...we were all newbies at one stage or another...even though some people dont seem to admit it. I never understood the VOR's in FS 5.1 for months. Cant say I really sat down and tried to work them out either....but hey.
    RIght trying to work out DF 177's GPS


  8. #8
    Fitzwilliam Guest

    Default RE: VOR for dummies

    Ok, I am making REAL progress with you all and your great responses. Thank you! I will start reading that weighty PDF tome very soon; but until then, I have a few follow-up questions:

    I looked for a simple example using a single VOR.

    I chose a small airport in Georgia (KTVI Thomasville Mun) and want to fly to (KTLH Tallahassee’s Regl). Now if I punch up FS2002, it will make me a nice neat flight plan with headings and waypoints. FS2002 gave me something like:

    SZW 117.5 (232 Hdg)
    KTLH (176 Hdg)

    Question 1: If I wanted to map this out on my own (and figure out the headings and VOR, etc.), what type of information would I need (and where can I get it online?). I assume a chart? And wouldn’t I need a chart of the airport so I would know where the runways are?

    Question 2: From the departure point to the VOR is now easy (thanks to the answers you all gave me in this thread); BUT! How do I find out how to get to my destination from the VOR once I am there?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    40 miles north KMSP

    Default RE: VOR for dummies

    Look at some tutorials in the Aeronautical section of The site was down for a while but was up a few days ago.

    As an aside, I did buy his $12.50 USD ppd CD containing his site content in additiona to other aeronautical goodies. It is not necessary, however, to get this since the tutorial info you are seeking is on line. Hal Stoen is a retired corporate pilot and CFI.

    KMSP - Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Puddles
    Support Team

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tennessee, USA.

    Default RE: VOR for dummies

    [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Jan-21-03 AT 11:19PM (EST)[/font][p]Hi,
    You're not a dummy.
    We're here to help, so don't worry your questions are dumb. They're not.
    Once you get to the VOR ststion, you can depart that same VOR on a different Heading, or radial. The direction you leave this VOR will depend on where your next destination will be. Whether it be the airport, or another VOR. You coule very well tune into another VOR on NAV 2, and this way you can be going TO on one VOR and FROM on the other.
    There is a great site for this navigation, with great pictorials of your position, and what the instrument should look like at different points along the way.
    Good luck, and take care my friend!
    Gary Rabbitt

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