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Tatave

Flying NDB/VOR where there are no such aids

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Hi all, 

 

I'm interested in flying a bit nostalgic and flying my regular routes with old aircraft. However, routes such as Brisbane to Sydney or Sydney to Melbourne are sparse in terms of NDBs and VORs, with only a couple at each end of the respective routes. 

 

Back in the day, 727s were used very commonly on these routes, and I'm just wondering, how would they have navigated (before the days of GPS of course)? 

 

Thanks in advance! 

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I'd imagine that back in the pre-GPS era, there were probably more ground-based radio nav aids in service in Australia. I know that here in the U.S. a substantial number of NDBs have been decommissioned in recent years. NDBs and (especially) VORs are very expensive to maintain due to the need to keep their output signals precisely calibrated at all times, the cost and availability of parts for aging equipment, and the requirement for a large staff of skilled technicians.

 

It would be interesting to locate an old aeronautical chart for Australia from 30 years ago to compare to a modern chart to see what has changed. Obsolete nav aids could be re-created with suitable scenery design tools, but that would be the only solution in FSX/P3D. Re-creating former nav aids would be much easier in X-Plane, since they are defined in simple text files.

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They'd mostly rely on INS. Measuring distance traveled from set position using speed calculations. Aside from Doppler and LORAN (not used much), they used NDB and VORs. There's dead reckoning, celestial navigation, and of course visual aids. Some are hard to impossible in a sim environment. Back in the day they had navigators and modern pilots (even 727) didn't likely use a sextant.

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Thank you both for your answers!! Sure would be interesting to have a 1960s environment in FS... 

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Actually, looking at current charts, you should be able to do VOR-VOR navigation on those routes even now if flying at high altitude. Midway between Sydney and Brisbane you have Coffs Harbour VOR (CFS 117.0) and midway between Sydney and Melbourne is Mallacoota VOR (MCO 117.5) If those are present in FSX as class "H" VORs with a 195 nautical mile range, you should just about have enough coverage to do either city pair using VOR NAV only.

 

Looking at the current low-altitude Australian enroute charts on Navigraph, it appears there are still quite a few active NDBs along both routes.

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If you want to get really specific about what routes you can still use "old skool", load up SkyVector.com and select "World Hi".

 

Black = Airway navigable without GNSS

Blue = Airway only navigable with GNSS

 

It looks like the only bit that would be really difficult would be the straight line between Perth and Alice Springs.  Most of the rest seems navigable with only small diversions.

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I've taken old metal on the YBBN-YSSY route a number of times. Going south an easy but lazy way is tracking BN LAV TW SY which takes you a little to the west of the current H62/H12 route. If you want to follow H62/H12 exactly track BN LAV MSO/NDB from MSO/NDB I think it's outbound 190° until you hit inbound SY 160°. Another interesting route is YBAS-YPAD It's been a while since I've flown it but between I think Oodnadatta NDB (OOD) and Leigh Creek VOR (LEC) there's a small gap where you're out of range of radio navaids you basically fly a constant heading until you pick up LEC

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