Saturday, February 13, 2016

FAA to Begin Decommissioning VORs This Year

As part of the NextGen initiative to adopt a Performance Based Navigation (PBN) airway structure supported by GPS, the FAA is moving forward with plans to decommission approximately 30% of currently operating domestic VORs over the next 10 years.
The VORs left behind will constitute a minimum operational networkintended to support conventional navigation in the event of a GPS outage, while not tying up resources maintaining unnecessary and underused VORs.
The decommission process will take place in two phases, with the first phase lasting from 2016 to 2020, and the second phase lasting from 2021 to 2025.
Although the FAA has not released specific dates for when each VOR will be decommissioned, they have provided a list of the first 35 VORs that have been approved for decommissioning, and in what phase of the project each will be removed.
That list is available in pdf format here 
For instance, our local HRS VORTAC in Young Harris is slated to be decommissioned in Phase 2. That particular VORTAC surprises me.
The removal of these VORs will have a large effect on the domestic airway structure and instrument procedures at many airports.
And if I may be allowed a bit of editorial license, staking our entire aero nav structure on a space based system given the current international environment we live in is just plain, well -- stupid.
Both China and the Russia have and are working on anti-satellite weapons aka satellite killers. While we may have a lot of GPS sats in orbit, start taking them out and the GPS system will be degraded. At what point would DoD turn off the civilian side and leave all those users out in a lurch. In today's environment I would not be comfortable with that thought.