Section 1, Lesson 1
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How to Fly a Radial

How to Fly a Radial

Flying a radial is a fundamental VOR skill and the primary skill needed to fly on airways, and navigate directly to or from a VOR.

Lesson Notes

  • Tune & identify
  • Set the inbound/outbound course
  • Make sure the TO/FROM indication lines up.
  • Fly towards the needle (have to make sure TO/FROM is correct).
  • As you intercept, turn to match the course.
  • Once intercepted, if the needle moves, it’s probably wind or heading error. Correct accordingly.

Practice Questions

You are directly west of the SAC VOR. You tune the VOR and rotate the OBS knob to 090. What TO/FROM indication should you see?

You are northeast of the station on a 050 heading. You tune the station and rotate the OBS knob to 045. The needle is deflected 5 degrees left with a FROM indication. Is this correct?

How would you proceed direct to a station?

You’re flying outbound on the 110 radial. You want to transition to the 120 degree radial. How would you do this?

Additional Resources

Flashcard Questions


What will happen if a pilot tries to fly a course with the wrong TO/FROM indication?

Why might the airplane’s heading required to hold a radial not be equal to the bearing to or from the station?