There are a few victor airways that cross without a named fix, just two solid lines drawn over each other on the IFR low charts. Can these be used as intersections for changing airways in IFR route planning? Assuming you are above MEA for both, prior to the crossing. They aren't very common but I happen to have one very near my usual airport that along with a poor DP makes planning for certain directions rather tedious.


  • the crossing of V55 and V170 just north of JMS VOR on chart enroute L-14 North Dakota;
  • V495 and V23 with V187 over Tacoma(this one may be due to SEA class B) ;
  • V183 NE of RZS near Santa Barbra, could you plan to turn north from V183 onto V485 or V107?
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting question. Bullet #2 is in my neck of the woods so I checked it out. (I don’t see V495 coming into play though...) I think it would be a problem, mainly with planning and filing because ForeFlight wouldn’t allow or show the transition when I tried just now. But, perhaps you could get around it creatively? E.i. File: “SEA, V23, (request radar vectors) V187, RADDY...” Or, pull up a lat/long for the point and insert into flight plan? $\endgroup$ Sep 2, 2020 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ I may need to modify my question, my intent was focused on fully by the book flight plans, usable with lost comms or lost radar and using traditional nav. (excluding RNAV.) More of a pure theory question. $\endgroup$
    – Max Power
    Sep 3, 2020 at 0:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Given all those conditions I think the answer is probably no. But truly the only limiting factor is that the intersection doesn't have a name. Because it is an intersection... $\endgroup$ Sep 3, 2020 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ Taking a look at this again out of boredom, and at least for the Tacoma example I can't imagine why either you would want to transition at this non-intersection, or why ATC ought to let you. It is a 90 degree turn, in class B airspace, why not simply cut the corner and go ALDER to RADDY, or vice versa? Do the other examples have a compelling reason why someone might want to do this? $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2021 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


Yes one can fly one airway to intercept another. Many reasons exist as to why not all intersecting airways have an intersection, the simplest being, it wasn't necessary.

I will suspect one may encounter difficulties in executing your desire to change airways as stated. Such would be the inability to file a flight plan with dispatch or that flight planning software can't/won't accept this unconventional navigation method and the most illogical, if one could accomplish the later, I would image would be ATC. Why? Because the controller has never encountered this situation, before and doesn't want to explain their actions should something go afoul.

For years ATC would issue preferential routes to aircraft departing KPIA to KORD as such; PIA PIA030R V10 PLANO ORD. Aircraft would depart KPIA on the tower assigned departure heading then be vectored to join the PIA 030-radial to intercept Victor-10 northeast of BDF VOR onward to KORD. Then computers became more involved along with flight management systems and pilots were no longer capable to navigate this route because computers couldn't calculate the routing or how to intercept one radial (airway) from another without a set point (intersection) along the second radial , something pilots had done since the 1950's.

  • $\begingroup$ the IBM 9020 (and subsequent Center computers) will join airways if entered in the format "J17..J94", as long as the airways actually cross (cross point is adapted on both airways as a computer fix). A radial to join an airway has to have an adapted point on the airway. The adaptation usually only joins airways of like types, so, J-route to J-route, but not Victor airway to J-route. $\endgroup$
    – atc_ceedee
    Jul 28, 2021 at 15:39
  • $\begingroup$ @atc_ceedee Interesting. So then is it not possible for a pair of airways to intersect in more than one place? $\endgroup$ Sep 29, 2023 at 1:16
  • $\begingroup$ No, it's entirely possible. V589 and V85 from MBW to DDY (Wyoming), for instance, take different routes to the same points. This happens a lot in mountainous areas, where some aircraft can't use the more direct, higher MEA airway, and opt for the other airway that lets them stay lower. Generally, in my airspace, this is an onboard oxygen issue, but there could be other reasons. $\endgroup$
    – atc_ceedee
    Oct 2, 2023 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ Another example is V611 and V81, which both pass over BRF (Black Forest, Colorado Springs) northbound, V81 to the northwest, V611 to the northeast. They intersect again at CYS, with V81 going northeast, and V611 going northwest. The crossing points are VORs, so these should be filed if going from one airway to another. At KGCC, we teach trainees to use V524 from the south as an "inbound" airway, because it has a straight-in ILS from TOOKE. We use V298..V247 for southbound departures with degree divergence, to keep the airport running smoothly. $\endgroup$
    – atc_ceedee
    Oct 2, 2023 at 16:07

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