Pilot Discussion With a Global Perspective
By Oddvar Tveito 1389576
#523279 To get some variation I wanted to practice flying using only VORs for navigation, including landing. I read somewhere that I should then select Equipment Suffix /A when posting my flightplan.

Then I have 2 questions which I was not able to clarify by searching the web:
    Can ATC still add non-VOR waypoints in between the VORs? Or should I expect to be flying directly from VOR to VOR, which is easier for a start? I understand that waypoints in between is possible to handle by using DME to measure distance and then change course at the waypoints in between VORs.
    If I post /A, can they still give me an ILS app? Does /A mean “I am ILS capable”? I assumed not. For fun I want a VOR approach.
The reason I am asking is that this happened on my first VOR only online flight last night between KBOS and KJFK. ATC added waypoints in between VORs and they suggested an ILS app. Now, I have to admit that it could be because I posted the wrong equipment code. Or is this to be expected?

Maybe I should add that I'm flying a B737-300 (IXEG) which is /L. I just want to simulate an old school situation where I only use the two VOR-receivers, don't add any positioning info to the FMS, no route info. And post /A.

Thanks for any clarification. It's nice to know what to expect when you go online the first time.
By Bradley Grafelman 1242018
#523280
Oddvar Tveito 1389576 wrote:To get some variation I wanted to practice flying using only VORs for navigation

Based on questions you later ask below, I wanted to ask you one to clarify here: by "using only VORs for navigation", do you mean "flying only directly from one VOR to another"? Because that's not really the extent of an /A aircraft's capability. For example, are you also precluding the use of Victor / J airways and/or identifying fixes based on DME or crossing radials?

Oddvar Tveito 1389576 wrote:Can ATC still add non-VOR waypoints in between the VORs? Or should I expect to be flying directly from VOR to VOR, which is easier for a start? I understand that waypoints in between is possible to handle by using DME to measure distance and then change course at the waypoints in between VORs.

It's not just DME (which you could simulate not having by filing /U instead); fixes can also be defined by the intersection of the radials from two VORs (which would require you have two NAV radios). So, yes, even filing /U (or /A), it's certainly possible that ATC will assume you can join an airway or identify a fix (e.g. "depart SMFIX heading 230, vectors for final approach course"). If you want to impose additional unexpected limitations on your flight, you'll want to explicitly request them with ATC.

Oddvar Tveito 1389576 wrote:If I post /A, can they still give me an ILS app? Does /A mean “I am ILS capable”? I assumed not.

Why would you assume not? The same radio equipment to receive a VOR station is used for an ILS approach, so yes, unless you request otherwise, it's certainly reasonable for ATC to assign an ILS approach.

Oddvar Tveito 1389576 wrote:The reason I am asking is that this happened on my first VOR only online flight last night between KBOS and KJFK. ATC added waypoints in between VORs and they suggested an ILS app. Now, I have to admit that it could be because I posted the wrong equipment code. Or is this to be expected?

Part of the confusion may have been that BOS_GND's first amendment to your flight plan included changing your equipment suffix from /A to /L. It's impossible to know how the dialogue went, but there was perhaps a question asked about your navigation equipment/ability that was misunderstood. If not, that would be something to mention in feedback to the ARTCC as perhaps it was merely a training issue with that particular controller.

Once you talked to NY_RBR_APP, your equipment suffix was amended back to /A and the route was:

Code: Select allSSOXS LUCOS SEY PARCH CCC ROBER

The only oddity about that route for a /A aircraft would be going from SSOXS direct to LUCOS, as there is no airway between the two. If the APP controller had planned on putting you on the BOS 177 radial, direct SSOXS, radar vectors to LUCOS (or perhaps to join the BOS 183 radial to LUCOS)... then that route would be feasible. Again, without hearing the instructions, it's hard to know exactly what was said by only looking at flight plan amendments.
By Oddvar Tveito 1389576
#523290 First, thanks to @Bradley Grafelman. I learn a lot from your comments. Thanks for your time! And sorry for long answer ;-)

I think you have already answered my two original questions: Yes, I must expect that ATC adds extra fixes (I called them non-VOR waypoints in my previous post) in between the VORs I posted as long as it is possible to navigate to them using the two VOR/DME receivers.
And yes, /A means you are able to fly ILS approaches. It was not obvious to me that having a VOR receiver mean you also have an ILS receiver, since ILS also includes vertical information.

What I still don’t get is what is the difference in equipment between /A and /I? What’s the difference between being RNAV equipped and having 2 VOR-receivers with DME? If I got it right, RNAV means being able to fly paths that don't necessarily cross over the VORs. You only allign to or cross their radials and measures distance to them. And thats what you do with 2 VOR/DME receivers. So what does the /I have extra?

But more important: I noticed you have got my flightplan from my KBOS-KJFK flight with changes made to it by ATC, including them changing my equipment suffix. Is that logged somewhere? That would be interesting for me to see also, since I don't remember all the details from the communication afterwards. Is the available for me too?

What happened was that I picked 4 VORs from the SkyVector planning tool and filed the route:
PVD SEY CCC DPK

BOS_GND proposed a change to
SSOXS LUCOS SEY PARCH CCC ROBER

So, they removed 2 VORs and added 3 fixes that are not VORs (SSOXS LUCOS and PARCH). I got a bit suspicious he did not realize I was /A, not /L, since this route now look almost identical to the one I get when flying /L. But I realised I could navigate the new route with my 2 VOR receivers, so I accepted without asking.
I was ordered to follow the runway heading after takeoff. BOS_APP ordered a climb but no course change. After a few minutes I was far out in the Atlantic, so I asked him why he didn’t order me to turn towards SSOXS. I don’t remember the details, but he said something that indicated he assumed I was cleared with a SID and /L. That’s when I got suspicious that ATC did not treat med as /A. And that’s why I am asking these questions here.

From what I understand you are saying that the route given to me is perfectly OK for equipment /A except maybe for LUCOS. But BOS_APP should probably have told me to turn towards SSOXS. One thing I have learned is that if you get a specific order from ATC (fly rw heading), you should not stop doing that until you are told to do something else :-).
By Robert Shearman Jr 1155655
#523291 Five-letter waypoints might be "Intersections" or they might be "GPS Fixes." If they are represented on a chart with a triangle, they are Intersections. If they are on a chart as a four-point star with a hollowed-out circle in the middle, they are GPS Fixes.

Intersections can either be located with a single VOR with DME, or with two VOR radios. However, to fly a DIRECT path to one, you would need either a GPS, or you'd need to be traveling along one of the VOR radials that defines it. Otherwise, you can fly a path which INTERCEPTS the appropriate radial and then navigate down that radial to find the intersection, but you can't reasonably calculate a DIRECT path from your present position anywhere in space to that exact point.

On the path you describe, SSOXS LUCOS SEY PARCH CCC ROBER, I can see on SkyVector.com that you are able to get to SSOXS by either a radial off of BOS or PVD; and then LUCOS is marked as a radial/DME off of BOS (and on a couple other Enroute-Lo charts, it's indicated to be on the PVD 103 radial as well). But, unless I'm missing something obvious, I don't see a /A-compliant way to navigate directly from SSOXS to LUCOS. So I don't think that route should have been given to you if you had filed /A. That may have been done when you were asked about navigation capability and said whatever you said that the controller mistook as justification for amending you to /L.

Thereafter, LUCOS direct SEY is easy enough; track the 067 inbound to SEY as charted. SEY to PARCH -- the 276 off of SEY out to 25 DME (on SkyVector this is easier to see on the Enroute L-33 chart than on the World Lo). PARCH to CCC -- track the 085 inbound to CCC. CCC to ROBER -- CCC 229 out to 18. All this can be done /A.

And yes, it's assumed if you are /A that you can fly an ILS. If you prefer a non-precision approach for practice, then when they say "expect vectors ILS rwy ___." simply respond with "request VOR rwy ___ if available." They don't need a reason, necessarily; just leave it at that. They'll assume you are either simulating ILS outage, or, just want to practice non-precision approaches. If there's some traffic-flow-related reason they can't accommodate, they'll let you know.

Hope that helps...
By Oddvar Tveito 1389576
#523298 Thanks a lot @Robert Shearman!
Your text is such a great help. I learn a lot, things become clear. It makes me much more confident when filing VOR-based flightplans to VATSIMA ATC.

And when I checked my XSquawkBox after this flight, the equipment code was set to /L. And I believe ATC cannot change that in my client software. This indicates that the confusion about navigational capability was my fault, that I forgot to change from default /L to /A before posting. At the same time I wrote no SID and VOR only, so rather confusing from my side.
So the ATC should not be blamed :-).