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Teaching VOR navigation

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Flight Instructor

Okay this question is for the seasoned pilots (what ever that means).  


One thing I learned in my training over 15 years ago is that radials radiate from the VOR and bearings are flown to the VOR.  When I flew away from the VOR I was on a radial. But when I flew TO the VOR it was expressed as a BEARING TO the station.  For example -  If I were located ON the 180 radial (south of the VOR) I was told to intercept the 360 bearing to the station.  I believe it was taught this way to avoid reverse sensing (360 would be under the course index at the top of VOR indicator which would agree to the heading I should be flying).


Now that I have gotten back into some instructing I have not found any FAA material that teaches it as bearings to the station.  I never hear CFI's teaching bearings to the station.


Since then I have changed my way of thinking and use the VOR indicator as a course instrument.  I use the instrument to tell me headings to fly to intercept a radial to or from the station.   No more mental gymnastics and my positional awareness increased dramatically!  It has free'd me up to handle and concentrate on more important tasks.


Now my question:

Is necessary to teach bearing to the station?


Or should I ignore teaching them about bearings to the station and instruct them to intercept a radial and track it inbound to or away from the station.  For example the airplane is located 10nm south south east of the station and I asked the student to intercept and track the 180 radial TO the station.  The student just needs to know where he is, then decide if he is going to fly towards the station or fly away from the station.


I ask this because I NEVER hear atc giving instructions to intercept a bearing to the station.


Thank you for your help and suggestions old great wise ones with vast hours of dual given.

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1 Answers

  1. Wes Beard on Jan 03, 2015

    I don’t use bearings anymore when teaching VOR navigation. I don’t even mention reverse sensing to my primary students unless they ask. I simply explain how to intercept the radial using the information on the indicator.

    In your example if you are SSE of the station and want to track inbound on the 180 radial, the indicator would deflect in a way that would shade the headings one needs to fly to intercept that radial. In this case headings 270 to ~360.

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