by Jonathan M. Stern
VOR approaches are non-precision approaches; they do not provide electronic glidepath information. They can have minimum descent altitudes (MDAs) as low as 250 feet, although they generally will get you down to around 500 or 600 feet above the ground. VOR approaches can have two variations:
- The terminal VOR approach, when the VOR is located on or very close to the airport and the VOR marks the missed approach point.
- The non-terminal VOR approach, when the VOR does not mark the missed approach point. Either DME or elapsed time is used to identify the missed approach point.
If the approach is aligned within 30° of the runway, the approach is designated for the specific runway. If it is not so aligned, the approach is designated by a letter (e.g., VOR-A), and only a circling minimum is provided for the approach procedure. When the approach NAVAID is also part of the enroute structure, it is unnecessary to have a feeder route to provide a transition from enroute to approach.
In this section, you learn to fly VOR approaches, both the terminal and the non-terminal variety. You'll fly a VOR/DME IAP, where DME is required to fly the approach. You'll try your hand at a DME arc transition to an IAP, where a curved path is flown at a constant distance from a VORTAC to transition to the approach environment. Finally, you'll fly a circling approach at an airport where the approach is not aligned with any of the airport's runways.