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I want to import data the data in the .csv file in the FAA NASR Data data but am finding that some navaids and airports have the same names. Does anybody know if fixes are unique in regards to airports and navaids?

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3 Answers 3

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Your language is not, strictly speaking, accurate, which may be causing some confusion.

Let us take an example: the airports and NAVAIDs near Omaha, Nebraska.

There is a civil-use airport near Omaha, NE, with the following characteristics:

  • Name: Omaha/Eppley Airfield
  • FAA Location Identifier: OMA
  • IATA Identifier: OMA
  • ICAO Identifier: KOMA

There is a military-use airport:

  • Name: Offut Air Force Base
  • FAA Location Identifier: OFF
  • IATA Identifier: OFF
  • ICAO Identifier: KOFF

There is a NAVAID:

  • NAME: Omaha VORTAC
  • Identifier: OVR

There is another NAVAID:

  • Name: Offut TACAN
  • Identifier: OFF

Offut TACAN is located on the property of Offut Air Force Base, but as Michael Hall alluded to, the two locations do not share the same geographic coordinates.

There are many examples where a NAVAID's identifier is the same as an airport's FAA LID—for most of those examples the names are also the same (as at Offut) but some where they are not (IAH, "Houston/George Bush Intercontinental Airport," and IAH, "Humble VORTAC"). Then there are examples where the names are the same but the identifiers are different: LEX, "Lexington/Blue Grass Airport," and HYK, "Lexington VOR-DME."

Fixes and waypoints do not have "names" as such. Their five-letter identifiers are designed to be pronounceable on their own (some imagination required). Therefore there should be no conflict between a fix/waypoint and a NAVAID, even when waypoints have been designated with the intent of replacing a NAVAID (LWM, "Lawrence DME," and LWRNC waypoint).

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 for (some imagination required)! Within a facility, is there a set standard of "how we pronounce this fix," or is it left to controllers' imagination, as it is for pilots? For example, LITME (near DC)... is it "lit me" or "lie t' me"? Is the Dallas arrival the "Jeffrey" or the "J-Fry"? Leaving LA, is CNERY "scenery" or "Connery"? Inquiring minds... $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Apr 15, 2023 at 10:58
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    $\begingroup$ I've seen a PDF of an "official pilot's guide" put out by one specific facility (I want to say it was CLE?) but besides that it's just institutional knowledge that gets passed down during on-the-job training. And the pronunciation that was intended by the procedure/airspace design team may not always stick in the operational environment. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Apr 15, 2023 at 19:12
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look at the "NAV DATA LAYOUT" Word doc that's in the NASR zip file. Each of the different NAV csv files will have an "ordered by" specified. The unique identifier is actually like a compound key, not a single field. For the NAV_BASE file it's NAV_ID + NAV_TYPE + COUNTRY_CODE + CITY. That's how much it takes to make each unique.

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  • $\begingroup$ That looks like that will make them unique. Aren't they all in the US though? $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Apr 21, 2023 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ There are some in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. I guess they're close enough to be used when flying in the US as well as the owning country, so that's why they get included. $\endgroup$
    – L. Kerr
    Apr 21, 2023 at 21:43
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Yes, they are unique.

No two airports or navaids with the same name share the same Latitude and Longitude. (That might sound snarky, but that isn't the intent!)

The reality is simply that you eventually run out of pronounceable names and may have to reuse some. Location is how they are differentiated.

Did I interpret the question properly?

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  • $\begingroup$ I am actually importing into a database and so far I do not see any fixes with the same names as airports or navaids. I need to have a unique identifier and cannot use name and lat/long. There are lots of airport that have the same names as navaids but I am going to use the ICAO name for airports that conflict. $\endgroup$
    – Paul
    Apr 14, 2023 at 20:26
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    $\begingroup$ In the US there are plenty of Navaids with the same 3 letter identifier as an airport. Not all are co-located either, which is why it's important to make sure you differentiate by adding the "K" if you want the airport. Is that what you are getting at? $\endgroup$ Apr 14, 2023 at 20:29

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