Section 1, Lesson 1
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Crossing Over a VOR

Crossing a VOR

Crossing over a VOR presents certain challenges that can surprise unprepared pilots. The two big takeaways from this lesson are to understand and anticipate the cone of confusion and to recognize if you need to change the OBS selection as you pass over a station.

Lesson Notes

There are a couple VOR crossing scenarios:

No Course Change
If the airplane does not need to change course, but is simply proceeding outbound on the opposite direction radial, no action is required by the pilot. The TO/FROM indication will simply reverse.
Course Change
If the airplane is changing course upon crossing the VOR, the new course must be set as the aircraft crosses the VOR. Then, the pilot must turn to intercept the new radial outbound.

Cone of Confusion
As the airplane nears the VOR, the VOR needle will become more sensitive, because the radials are closer together. As the airplane crosses the VOR, the needle will fluctuate and deflect fully to one side. Afterwards, the TO/FROM indication will reverse, indicating station passage. If a course change is required, the pilot can begin the turn in the cone of confusion, or wait until station passage.

Practice Questions

You are inbound on the 120 radial, planning to proceed outbound on the 300 radial. What action, if any, is required during station passage?

You are inbound on the 095 radial to cross the station and proceed outbound on the 355 radial. What action, if any, is required by the pilot?

Additional Resources

Flashcard Questions

What is the cone of confusion?

If a pilot crosses over a VOR from east to west, do they need to re-tune the omni-bearing selector to continue outbound from the station?

When is station passage determined to have occurred?