By Morgan Conington 1360127
#516577 Hi,

I'm a new pilot to the network, because of this I though it would be good to start in a simple GA aircraft (C182).
I know how to find and navigate to VORS using the radio stack and on the GPS but I just had a quick question about landing using VORS. On the attached photo you can see my flight plan (using Plan-G) ends at the Lambourne VOR and then at the runway. As you can probably see I have no idea what I'm doing and have been practising offline before I jump onto VATSIM. I just wanted to know when you fly to the Lamborune VOR how do you start an approach, would ATC give me vectors once I'm in their airspace, would they tell me to join a circuit, basically trying to find out how to land when the VOR is on the runway :)

Thanks for you help, noobs like me really appreciate it.

By Andreas Fuchs 810809
#516580 Hi Morgan and welcome to VATSIM!

As this is a learning environment you are welcome to train your manoeuvers while trying to be mindful of other traffic in EGLL, EGKK, EGSS etc.. There are not soooo many airports that still offer VOR-approaches, so you will have to search a bit.

VATSIM offers a Pilot Resource Center: ... ic-lessons
IFR-charts for the UK can be obtained for free at ... id=13.html

And for specific instructions and principles of VOR approaches, simply Google for "VOR approach explanation training" and you'll find plenty of stuff and videos. Now, you simply need to invest some time, absorb the information and go ahead practicing. If you have questions, just add them here to this thread, we are glad to help!
By Simon Kelsey 810049
#516586 Hi Morgan,

As Andreas says, instrument approaches are a big topic difficult to cover in a single forum post. However, as a very general overview to get you started:

An instrument approach procedure is a procedure designed to bring you from a position potentially in instrument meteorological conditions, i.e. in cloud, to a suitable height and position at which you can see the runway sufficiently to land on it. Generally such a procedure will make use of a ground-based radio navigation aid such as a VOR, NDB or Instrument Landing System (ILS), but GPS-based procedures are coming in to increasing use as well. VOR and NDB-based procedures are referred to as "non-precision approaches", because they consist of lateral tracking guidance only (and the pilot must interpret the chart to construct and fly a suitable descent profile). ILS approaches are known as "precision approaches" because they include vertical tracking guidance (by way of the glide slope).

In any case, the procedure will have been designed to ensure that you remain clear of terrain and obstructions provided you follow the procedure (both laterally and vertically) as published on the chart. Stapleford, however, does not have any published instrument approach procedures, so all arrivals and departures must be conducted visually. This means that you need to be able to see enough to fly a normal visual circuit to land. Further, Stapleford is located in Class G airspace below the London TMA: there is no Air Traffic Control service, only an Air/Ground Radio service to aid with deconfliction (but ultimately the radio operator can only tell you about the traffic they know about and not issue instructions or vectors etc).

The important thing to remember is that if you are IFR and/or in IMC you cannot descend below the minimum safe altitude for the leg you are flying (until of course, you can see sufficiently to maintain visual clearance from terrain and obstacles). The MSA may be shown directly in some flight planners, will be shown on instrument approach charts, or you may need to calculate it yourself by noting the elevation of the highest obstacle 5NM either side of your planned track and adding 1,000 ft.

If you descend to the MSA and you are in cloud and thus you cannot see the airfield sufficiently to fly a circuit to land, then you have a bit of a problem.

You could, of course, divert to another airfield with better visibility and/or an instrument approach procedure. Alternatively, you could fly an instrument approach procedure at a nearby aerodrome, descending with the procedure until such time as you are below the cloud and you can see sufficiently to then break off from the procedure and navigate visually to your destination and carry out a visual approach and landing.

Flying a VOR approach is simply a case of reading the chart and using the VOR (and, often, DME) instrumentation to fly the tracks depicted. As mentioned, because a VOR has no direct cockpit glideslope indication you will also need to follow the altitudes shown on the charts, taking care not to descend below the minimum altitudes specified for each segment of the procedure. However, as Andreas says, there is plenty of documentation online about this sort of thing and you might also consider signing up for a VATSIM Pilot Rating course with one of the Approved Training Organisations (ATOs) which will cover this and much more.

By Robert Shearman Jr 1155655
#516618 This is US, not UK, but: ... ddest=(SBY)

If the link expires, go to ... pp/search/

... and type KSBY, then scroll down to the VOR RWY 05.

Now until you get used to reading these charts, understanding them is a bit of a learning experience. However, in this case:

Overfly SBY (111.2) at or above 1700 MSL (caution -- coming in from the northwest, minimum safe altitude is 2100 -- or if starting the procedure from CBEAV it's 2000) then join a 221 outbound radial. Once on the radial you can descend to 1700 if not already there. Sometime after passing OMSIE (which is at DME 2.5), but probably closer to 6.0 to 6.5 DME (to keep the outer limits of the turn within 10nm), start the procedure turn by turning left 45 degrees to 176 and starting a timer. Fly for one minute, then fly a standard-rate 180-degree turn to the right (always in the opposite direction to the direction of the 45-degree turn you just did), in this case to 356. That should take you another minute. Re-intercept the radial, but now on an inbound course of 041. Now you can descend to 580 and start looking for the runway. Note that according to the minimums listed at the bottom, if you have DME and therefore can locate OMSIE (DME 2.5), you may descend further once you are within that point. The minimums depend on aircraft classification and intentions (circling versus straight-in), with the lowest being 420ft MSL if you're in a single-engine prop and your intention is to land on runway 5.

Hope that helps. The key thing is that a proper and safe approach using a VOR must be flown from a published procedure, and not just intercepting a VOR than happens to be near an airport and descending at your own discretion.
We have it a bit easy in the US since all FAA-published procedures are available freely online at the website I cited above, as well as many others (such as airnav, skyvector, myairplane, etcetera).