A VHF Omnidirectional Range is commonly called a VOR. In some ways, it is like a more-advanced NDB.
To understand what the VOR does take a look at the chart below. Notice the large blue VOR ring, indicating that there is a VOR station at the center. We will dig into what that all means to you as a pilot but first, take a look at the thin blue lines radiating out in several directions from the edge of the VOR ring. These are airways, and they are frequently used for navigating, especially IFR. The purpose of VORs is to make navigating along these radial paths, inbound or outbound, easier by providing a way to identify the aircraft’s bearing from the station.
Airways are not the only routes that can be flown, and many pilots simply fly to or from VORs along any radial that makes sense for them.
To give this information, the VOR has a master signal that is transmitted constantly, and a rotating secondary signal, that changes phase as it rotates. Our VOR display can read the phase difference and determine our location relative to the station.
The signal is transmitted in every direction and it is not limited to just the victor airways. You can use your onboard VOR display to fly inbound or outbound on any radial bearing you want and use the VORs to crosscheck your position from anywhere as long as you are close enough to the station to get reception.
The blue information box to the right of the VOR contains a lot of useful information. It includes the name of the station (Lawrenceville), the frequency (122.9), and the morse code identifier used to verify that you are tuned to the VOR that you intend.
There is a lot that goes into navigating by VOR and this will be covered in future posts.