FAA Begins VOR Decommissioning Program

List of the first VORs to be removed announced.

The FAA has announced a list of the first VORs to be removed from the national airspace system in its effort to reduce the number of navigation aids it says are unnecessary as pilots transition more and more to satellite-based navigation. Thirty-five VORs in 17 states are now on the slate for removal. The goal is to eventually remove as many as half of the nearly 1,000 currently operational VORs.

The agency announced in late 2011 its intent to reduce the system to a minimum operational network (MON). Reports from the FAA have indicated that more than 95 percent of the VORs currently in the system are beyond their economic service life and it would cost $1 billion to replace them.

However, the FAA wants to retain the capability of transitioning the country via airways with full VOR coverage above 5,000 feet AGL and conducting landings under IFR at airports within 100 nm of any location in the contiguous United States in case of satellite navigation outages.

Once implemented, the MON could affect as many as 5,035 of the 11,798 instrument approach procedures around the country. The FAA also said more than half of the 2,084 ODPs, SIDs and STARs could be affected, creating a massive workload for approach chart providers.


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