What is the difference or correct terminology for flying into a bearing (or radial?) when navigating by VOR? What is the difference? What is the correct lingo for VOR communication?
Question: What is the correct lingo for VOR communication?
When referencing navigation with respect to a VOR (VOR/VORTAC/TACAN) the correct terminology/reference would be "Radial" as in, for example:
Intercept the Barko two seven zero radial
(with Barko [BAR] being the name of the VOR). When written on charts it would be BAR R-270.
When using the VOR system of navigation bearing is not the correct communication/procedural reference.
There are numerous examples of how this terminology is used in ATC/Pilot verbal communication or when using digital or paper navigation tools/charts/etc. This link is to the FAA Order JO 7110.65Z (Air Traffic Control Handbook) showing similar examples as noted above beginning on page 2-5-1 (Section 5. Route and NAVAID Description).
Radial is the word we use to refer to the actual line on the ground emanating or radiating from a VOR or TACAN, or for that matter from any defined geographic point. Think of it as a spoke on a wheel.
Bearing is the direction or ground track (no-wind heading) we would need to turn to in order to point directly at the VOR, TACAN or Point on the ground.
When on any specific radial, you need to point in the reciprocal magnetic direction to point directly at that point.
E.g., if on the 180 radial, you would point north to put the point directly on the nose. The Bearing to the point would be 360.