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  There Ain't No Such Thing as a "To" Radial.
                                              Russell Still, ATP, CFI/CFII, Master CFI

You've heard it before, but here's a review: Radials extend outward from the VOR station. They start at the station and extend outward. There are no "From" radials and no "To" radials. They are just radials going in one direction. Don't make this mistake and fly an intercept on the wrong side of the transmitter.

Let's Review:

This example comes from an actual instructional video. That is correct. Some people paid money for this advice. Be careful; it's a jungle out there.

You're on a checkride and your airplane is positioned as shown in the image. The examiner asks you to "intercept the 270 radial and fly it inbound to the station."

The video instructs you to fly it as shown here, using the
"270 To Radial."

You follow the video's advice, mistakenly thinking that the 090 radial is the "270 To Radial". You intercept it, then fly on a bearing of 270 to the station.

Congratulations. You just flunked your checkride.

This is the correct way to intercept the 270 radial. Do this and your examiner will be happy.

There Ain't No Such Thing As A To Radial.

If you think there is, be prepared to fail your flight test.

Fortunately, this is not a common mistake, but if CFIs don't teach the difference between radial, bearing, and heading, we're being setup for potentially dangerous conflicts.

Even with today's reliance on GPS navigation, this issue still can cause confusion. GPS units have the ability to create radials from any fix or waypoint using "OBS Mode". Intercepting from the wrong side is less likely, but the terminology remains the same.

Although VOR use by pilots is in decline, the VOR system isn't going away anytime soon. It is a critical aviation component and an important backup to the GPS system.

To learn more about the VORs and radio navigation, view VOR Navigation at the Gold Seal Online Ground School.



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