First of all, is it permitted? I am practicing VOR tracking on my simulator and the missed approach procedure (KLGB VOR 30) takes you out to an intersection off two VOR radials. Since the plate doesn't specify "DME required" I figured yes.

Assuming yes, are there any tricks/protips to doing this successfully?

  • $\begingroup$ Is there a reference to something that specifically disallows cross-tuning for a holding fix? $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Jun 14 '20 at 23:12
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    $\begingroup$ I know it was allowed at one time. I remember a documentary of a crash that occurred in the 70s or 80s. The narrator mentioned that the plane only had one working VOR receiver, so the copilot was distracted by the need to constantly switch frequencies to maintain their hold, and that this was legal. I don't know if they've changed the rules since then or not, and I can't even find the documentary anywhere. $\endgroup$ – HiddenWindshield Jun 15 '20 at 0:01
  • $\begingroup$ @HiddenWindshield That's my recollection as well (legal at one time), and why I upvoted the question. I vaguely remember a statement about you can crosstune up until the FAF, but not past it. Not something I'd relish having to do in the weather, but legal at the time. Hopefully we get a definitive answer to this for today's rules. $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Jun 15 '20 at 4:04

Yes, you can hold at an intersection with only the radial from one VOR identifying the intersection as long as you have either DME or GPS. And yes, you can hold at an intersection without DME or GPS if you have the intersection identified by the radials of two VORs. You can even hold with nothing but a GPS alone.

If you want to hold at a non-published hold position of your choosing, you could do so at a specific distance and direction from any identifiable point along a specific bearing from your hold fix. You can substitute the distance with the bearing from a second identifiable point. This includes NDBs, airports, Visual Reference Points, GPS waypoints, etc.

I always find it easiest to track inbound to the fix using either a radial, bearing, or GPS direct-to to the fix. When using VOR and DME, it is easiest to intercept the identifying radial way prior to reaching the appropriate distance. If you are using two VORs to identify the hold fix, intercept one of the identifying radials using one of your OBSs first. Use your other OBS to identify your second radial. Which OBS you choose depends on the radial or bearing of the fix along which you will be holding. That should be your primary OBS.

One of the holds given to me by the DPE on my instrument checkride was an unpublished hold at a self-declared, unofficial waypoint/fix. Since, I was on an IFR flight plan, I had to request the hold from ATC with the following format.

Skyhawkxxxxx, requesting a hold xx direction on a ### bearing, ## nautical miles and XX direction from intersection xxxxx, along the ### radial of xxxVOR, 1 minute legs, standard turn, at #### feet.

Admittedly, this was a bit of an over the top scenario given by the DPE. He was a legacy carrier captain who believed in making sure he tested beyond the capabilities of the magenta-line generation. It was more of a test of how I could think through, draw out , and communicate the hold while maintaining directional control under the hood rather than how to fly it. The bearing from the fix put me right in line with the IAF of my first IAP that had a hold-in-leau of procedure turn anyway.

  • $\begingroup$ Along with the info about all the things one can do in scenarios that are NOT asked about, does this answer actually give a "yes" or "no" answer to the stated "single receiver" (presumably without any other equipment like ADF, DME, or GPS) question? $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Jun 14 '20 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ @RalphJ - Actually, yes. The first paragraph answers the question of “Is it allowed and possible to hold at the intersection of two VOR radials using a single VOR receiver?“, as edited by Pondlife, with a Yes. It also answers the question “Is it possible to hold at an intersection with one VOR?“ as originally posted with a Yes. The third paragraph answers the question “Assuming yes, are there any tricks/protips to doing this successfully?“ $\endgroup$ – Dean F. Jun 15 '20 at 12:56
  • $\begingroup$ @RalphJ - If the OP’s question is specifically whether you are allowed to identify the holding fix using only one operational VOR receiver and one operational OBS display, the answer is still yes. Just as long as you have either a way to know distance, or there is a crossing VOR radial from another VOR transmitter. Flip-flopping VOR frequencies and radials is not the preferred method of doing this (especially IMC). But, there are still a lot of planes flying with only one NavCom radio (C150/2, many LSAs, etc). Just establish yourself on the hold’s inbound radial first before cross-referencing. $\endgroup$ – Dean F. Jun 15 '20 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ I fully understand HOW one would do it; the interesting question is, is such an operation permitted with the single receiver + no GPS, DME, or other navigation receivers. And, ideally, a link to something authoritative stating that it is (or isn't) permitted to identify a holding fix in this manner. Not just "yes you can" but "yes you may, per {this reference}". $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Jun 15 '20 at 19:23
  • $\begingroup$ @RalphJ - Both the AIM 5-4-5 and the Instrument Flying Handbook both contain similar verbiage: “More than one navigation system separated by a slant indicates that more than one type of equipment must be used to execute the final approach (for example, VOR/DME RWY 31). More than one navigation system separated by the word“or”indicates either type of equipment can be used to execute the final approach (for example, VOR or GPS RWY 15).” I am unable to find an IAP labeled VOR/VOR at this time. $\endgroup$ – Dean F. Jun 15 '20 at 19:51

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