What Does VOR Mean? Discover the Navigational Beacon!

Are you interested in learning more about VOR and how it is used in navigation? In this article, we will explore the meaning of VOR, how it works, the different types of VOR stations, and how it can help pilots and navigators travel safely.

What is VOR?

VOR stands for Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Range. It is a type of radio navigation system used by pilots and navigators to determine their position and track their course. VOR uses radio signals transmitted from ground-based navigational beacons to create a reference point for aircraft in flight.

How Does VOR Work?

The VOR system works by measuring the angle between two different signals transmitted from a VOR station, known as the Reference and Variable signals. A VOR receiver on board the aircraft uses this angle to determine its location relative to the VOR station. The VOR system also provides information about the aircraft’s direction of travel, which allows the pilot to follow specific flight paths and avoid obstacles.

What Are the Different Types of VOR Stations?

There are two main types of VOR stations: Terminal VOR (TVOR) and En Route VOR (EVOR). TVORs are located near airports and are used for terminal approach and departure procedures. EVORs, on the other hand, are located along airways and are used for long-range navigation.

What Are the Advantages of VOR?

VOR has several advantages over other navigation methods, including:

  • Accuracy: VOR provides highly accurate information about the aircraft’s position and direction of travel.
  • Reliability: VOR signals are transmitted from ground-based stations, which means they are less susceptible to interference or signal loss than other navigation methods.
  • Flexibility: VOR can be used for both short-range and long-range navigation, making it a versatile option for pilots and navigators.

What Are the Limitations of VOR?

Despite its advantages, VOR has some limitations, including:

  • Line of Sight: VOR signals are limited by line of sight, which means they can be affected by obstacles such as mountains, tall buildings, or other aircraft.
  • Range: The range of VOR signals is limited, which means pilots must rely on other navigation methods for long-range flights.
  • Equipment: VOR receivers are expensive and require regular maintenance to ensure they are functioning properly.


VOR is an important navigation system used by pilots and navigators to determine their position and track their course while in flight. It has several advantages, including accuracy and reliability. However, it also has some limitations, including line of sight and equipment requirements. Despite its limitations, VOR remains an essential tool for aviation navigation.

Common Questions About VOR Navigation

  • What is the difference between VOR and GPS?

    VOR and GPS are both navigation systems used by pilots and navigators, but they use different methods to determine the aircraft’s position. VOR uses ground-based radio signals, while GPS uses satellites to provide location information.

  • How accurate is VOR navigation?

    VOR navigation is highly accurate and can provide position information within a few feet of the aircraft’s actual location.

  • What happens if the VOR system fails?

    If the VOR system fails, pilots must rely on other navigation methods, including GPS and visual landmarks.


Aviation Glossary. (2021). Retrieved from https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/phak/media/Appendix-A-Glossary-of-Terms.pdf

CASA. (2021). VOR. Retrieved from https://www.casa.gov.au/publications-and-resources/publications/glossary/vor

Transport Canada. (2021). Radio Navigation. Retrieved from https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/publications/tp9690-chapter5-1833.htm

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