AOPA Pushes WAAS As FAA Targets VOR Retirements

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The FAA plans to reduce VOR coverage beginning in 2010, according to AOPA, in spite of AOPA's urging against the reduction -- particularly if widespread implementation of WAAS is not part of the plan. The association argues that FAA regulations require pilots flying with non-WAAS GPS to also carry a "primary navigation system" and AOPA says that for general aviation "the primary system available for regulatory compliance is VOR." AOPA's concern stems in part from estimates that WAAS-equipped GA aircraft make up only about 15 percent of the general aviation fleet. In a letter to the FAA dated May 23, AOPA urged the FAA to more universally implement wide area and required navigation performance systems to boost user confidence and ensure "that all IFR flights can be conducted from takeoff to touchdown with an IFR GPS, regardless of the airports involved." Until GPS-equipped aircraft are allowed to fly direct, instead of point to point via VORs, AOPA argues a "reduction in the VOR network would be premature."