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Why do VOR A, and B charts only have circle-to-land minimums, while VOR X, Y, and Z charts have straight approach minimums too? Is this the only difference and is it only used to separate the two chart types?

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Yes, that is the difference. From the FAA's Instrument Procedures Handbook, Chapter 4:

Straight-In Procedures
When two or more straight-in approaches with the same type of guidance exist for a runway, a letter suffix is added to the title of the approach so that it can be more easily identified. These approach charts start with the letter Z and continue in reverse alphabetical order. For example, consider the (RNAV) (GPS) Z RWY 13C and RNAV (RNP) Y RWY 13C approaches at Chicago Midway International Airport.

Circling-Only Procedures
Approaches that do not have straight-in landing minimums are identified by the type of approach followed by a letter. [...] As can be seen from the example, the first approach of this type created at the airport is labeled with the letter A, and the lettering continues in alphabetical order.

In actuality the circling approaches are named such that the suffix is unique across all airports with the same name within one state, and unique across all airports serving any one city, as laid out in this Av.SE answer.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for your answer. I would also like to ask, why does Jeppesen create a separate chart just for circle-to-land approach, even though VOR Z, Y, and X charts already have circle-to-land minimums? $\endgroup$
    – pilot162
    Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 4:51
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    $\begingroup$ @pilot162 Small point, but Jeppesen "creates" no approaches; each national government (i.e. the FAA in the US) creates the approaches. Jeppesen prints them in a standard format, distributes them in both paper and electronic media, and does a number of extremely useful things in that regard, but the approaches are created by somebody else. They publish whatever information the FAA gives them in terms of courses, waypoints, minima, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 5:21
  • $\begingroup$ So let me ask, why does someone (the national government) create a separate approach (VOR A,B) for circle-to-land even though there are circle-to-land minimums specified in the VOR X,Y,Z charts (approaches)? $\endgroup$
    – pilot162
    Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 5:25
  • $\begingroup$ @pilot162 Sounds like another question. Please include examples. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 5:27
  • $\begingroup$ @pilot162 The VOR-A (and similar early-letter) approaches are probably older than approaches with a late letter to a given runway (i.e. VOR-Z runway 32). As to why not get rid of a "VOR-A" when a "VOR-Z to 32" could have the same circling mins, that's going to be specific to each airport... perhaps the VOR-A is build so that it can be flown with less equipment (no DME, perhaps) or less missed approach performance required than the Z. But it would be up to the individual airport to ask the FAA to decommission a particular approach, if there were a need to do so. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Nov 20, 2022 at 5:27

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