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3 Answers

What is a DME arc?

Asked by: 3712 views General Aviation

Came across this. What is a DME arc. What does DME stand for.

Thank you

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3 Answers



  1. Wes Beard on Nov 10, 2012

    HI Michelle,

    DME stands for distance measuring equipment. It is implies, it is equipment on the aircraft that can measure the distance from the selected station.

    A DME arc then would be a defined circle around the station at a given distance. Pilots will typically intercept the DME arc at some location, fly the arc to a defined point and then come in towards the airport on the approach.

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  2. Dave on Nov 10, 2012

    Hi Michelle,

    Wes stated that you will fly to a defined point and the come in towards the airport. That is true.

    But just to make it a little more clear to you, the “defined point” is called the “Lead Radial”.
    That means, as soon as you have intercepted the “lead Radial” from a VOR Station, you can start turning (@ std. rate turn) towards your FAC and intercept the Localizer. Depending
    on wind conditions, you might want to choose your own interception heading, to avoid a full under/overshooting of the FAC.

    On Naco charts (USA), the Lead Radial is depicted by the 2 letters “LR” followed by the Radial.
    On Jeppesen charts, they’re only depicted by thin gray line next to the FAC, showing the Radial “only”.

    And, of course, it eases the workload of ATC, since they don’t have to give vectors anymore
    to intercept the FAC.

    Hope i could help you a little. ; )

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  3. Bob Watson on Nov 12, 2012

    In today’s GPS world, it seems odd to think of a navigation radio that CAN’T measure distance. But, before GPS was the norm, the VOR and ILS systems used provided only lateral navigation guidance (ILS, however includes beacons to identify critical distances). Only some VORs and ILS installations had an additional navigation system installed (a TACAN or DME transmitter) that required an additional radio in the airplane to compute distance from the nav-aid. TACAN is a navigational system developed for the military that provides lateral and distance information, but civilian navigation radios (i.e. the DME receiver) use only the distance information from those systems.

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