Had a great short flight in Cessna 152 using VOR nav

I’ve been watching YouTube and wanted to learn how to navigate using VOR so I planned a route with SkyVector from KGYY to KPWK. Route is:

KGYY → CGT VOR on HDG 326 until intercepted. Then turn HDG 356 towards LAIRD on the VOR 356 radial. At LAIRD turn to OBK VOR on 316 radial. Tune other radio to the LOC at KPWK set to 163.
At OBK turn to KPWK and use the LOC for glide slope into land.

Probably sounds boring, but it was really satisfying to navigate all the way there and intercept the glide slope and come in for a perfect flight and landing. Also had a look at downtown Chicago on the way from the lake. Very nice. :+1:


Yeah, it’s very satisfactory, isn’t it?

I did it a couple of times as well:

  • LIRZ - LIRA in Italy, with a view of Rome
  • LFAC - EGMC, take off from Calais in France, cross the channel, then Dover and UK inlands to Southend on Sea
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Boring?! How dare you! This is how I fly 90% of the time! :sunglasses: I love it!

I love the preparation: figuring out what route to fly, which nav aids to use (I usually use VOR and ADF), what radials, which intersections, etc. and then flying it (without GPS map): it’s so satisfying to reach your destination this way! I always pick destinations that don’t have a VOR on site otherwise you can simply fly straight to it… now THAT is boring. :wink:

I don’t know how you flew your flight but I myself usually fly with the C172 steam gauges and then without the GPS map (I do need the GNS for the radio’s, unfortunately, but I always set the top GNS to another page). Of course I could also fly it with the C152 but I do like to use the AP every now and then. It’s a pity the C172 doesn’t have a old radiostack with a DME but well, the flight is even more exciting when you don’t have a DME and have to rely completely on intersecting radials. It’s somehow even more satisfying if you manage to complete the flight without actually flying over a VOR or ADF: I often cut corners by aiming between where the VOR is and which radial I want to fly on (or by), stuff like that. The entire flight is an exiting puzzle this way, great for your brains LOL

BTW I also use SkyVector: it is AWESOME for planning these kind of flights! And in MSFS I never actually plan the flight: I only select the departure airport (parking spot) so I won’t accidently be able to see the plan anywhere while flying. :wink:

And while I am at it: I always and only use VORs that are shown as VOR DME on SkyVector because MSFS call every nav aid that is not ADF a VOR DME and way too often I took off only to find out the VOR didn’t give a signal I could use. In the sim itself all nav aids work as they should and as shown on SkyVector. So don’t use the MSFS planner to plan VOR flights like these.


I will do some corner cutting too just for the fun of it. One thing I did neglect to do is work out the time for each leg and use a timer. I’ll do that next time so I know where and when to expect a turn. I also did not observe the altitudes marked on SkyVector. I flew at 2,000 feet when I “should” have been at 3,500 at cruise.

I know what you mean about flying the 152, it was constantly pulling to the left, and I’m not sure if it’s simulated torque or my joystick that’s the problem. I was steering to the right slightly almost the entire flight which got tiring. I only have Standard Edition and am thinking of upgrading to get the 172 steam gauges.

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p-Factor, or a strong wind.

I have to admit I never do that… I am flying on my own time and have no hurry (and I also don’t always fly the same speed…) and so I plan crossing radials for my turning points. (“If I am on this radial I have to turn that heading when the ADF needle touches this heading and then I’ll have to fly that heading until I am on this radial…” and so on) I totally rely on the needles! After a while you learn to read them. :wink: Just a quick look and it’s as if you are watching a GPS map. :wink:

Altitudes are another thing I seldom look at… As long as I don’t hit a mountain I’m fine.

(BTW I never really know when to use the word ‘heading’ or ‘bearing’ or ‘course’… LOL I will have to google that one day.)

Beware (if you didn’t know that yet) that the C172 steam gauges does have a basic GNS instead of a good old radiostack: you do have an old fashioned AP (with the ARM button inop but you can still fly to and intercept altitudes), a squawk box and an ADF but to use the two VORs you need to use the NAV radio’s on the GNS. Such a shame… To me it isn’t completely ‘steam’ this way but it works.

In fact, you can also fly with VOR only using the C172 with G1000: just enable the DME, BRG1 and BRG2 on the PFD and you’re good to go. Don’t plan a flight so you won’t see the magenta line or simply set the MFD to something else but the map.

The C152 doesn’t always pull to the left on my PC but it does always pull away from where I want to go… and for instance staying on a radial for 50 nm can be quite a challenge. Hence my preference for the C172 with AP. Specially because I often have to set and check needles… Whenever I am doing that I don’t really have the time to keep an eye on where I am pulling… Besides, the C172 AP is pretty precise and with all this needle balancing I like that… :wink: (The C172 steam AP isn’t 100% precise though because you never really know if you set the 338 radial or the 339… The compass plate and the needle aren’t the sharpest in town. And there is no popup showing the set radial on the VOR gauge. :wink: There is on the ADF gauge though… a bit odd.)

I love flying VOR to VOR. I made an hour long flight in the 152 yesterday with the first 20 minutes or so by VFR pilotage and then catching an intersection of VORs and flying a VOR arc (wasn’t perfect without DME) around to my destination.

Good skills to have if piloting in the real world, but also fun and useful in a sim. I’m trying to teach my 14 year old son these skills in the sim, but he gets caught up in the “why do need that when I have GPS?” mode of thinking.

One of our check pilots favourite tricks would be to change the GNS530 page to the most obscure, irrelevant menu page shortly after departure, look at you and say, “I really like this page, mind if we leave it here for a while?”

That usually starts a scurry to find the flightplan and check you recorded the departure time, and then a double check of the clock you forgot to check during pre flight. Haha.

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Love this thread, I feel exactly the same. I’m pretty new to this and have really enjoyed learning about the basics of flying the low end Cessnas and navigating via VORs. I’m aware of what DME means, but in the 152, there isn’t any DME equipment is there? And maybe it’s in the 172, but if it is, I have no idea how to use it :slight_smile:

I’m hoping that we’ll start to see new YT videos focusing on this aspect of using the non-glass cockpit planes in this incredible sim. There are a lot for FSX, and they’re great, but would be good to have some specifically for FS2020 and the versions of the 152 / 172 we have here.

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A couple of days ago I was also able to navigate between non-VOR waypoints, by triangulating 2 VORs

Not sure if I’ve done it correctly, I’m not a pilot and I just made it up by myself, but basically:

  • I find 2 VORs nearby where I want to go
  • I calculate the radials by using skyvector for each of them towards my waypoint
  • I configure the 2 VORs in the 2 NAV frequencies and set the different radials
  • when the 2 NAV lines are both in the middle, I’ve reached my destination

Again, I’m not a pilot and I’m not sure this is the correct way, but it works and brought me to my destination :slight_smile:


I fly the 152 a lot. At cruise speed and power, there is no p-factor. I wouldn’t think it would be the wind or it would pull other directions at times. If you are using a fightstick/joystick, I would be looking at the calibration. I hope you find the problem.

Nice, I also enjoy that old fashioned way of flying :slight_smile: I’m currently on a world tour, trying to use the cessna as often as possible (didn’t know that India is THAT hughe! LOL).

However, I’m looking forward to getting an old timer plane as soon as possible. I did a world tour in FSX back in the days with a DC3 which is exactely my kind of plane. Not too fast, two prop engines and no fancy GPS stuffed inside.

I hope there will be some nice aircraft of that kind rather sooner than later!

A great way to fly. Have been around the world three times in FSX, using only VOR, NDB and dead reckoning. Put together a massive flight plan, with 280 airports, over 1000 Nav points, with frequencies, headings, distances, etc. Printed the thing out and only used that, no GPS, to navigate the world. What a blast! It visits the 50 US state capitals and then its on to the capital cities in every nation. My hope is that we’ll see many more sim aircraft become available for FS2020 that have nothing but old style radio navigation.

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First flight sim I’ve ever bought
Did the whole gps nave thing
Jumped into the 152
Printed out some charts from skyvector
And discovered the magical world of VOR navigation & no autopilot

Now I’m having real fun!

12yo daughter to father; “Dad, can I have my protractor back and why the hell are you doing geometry at your age!”

For paperless flight planning little nav map is a fantastic tool to use for planning & tracking your VOR flights as it can show the ranges of each vor. On my second monitor I use it as a map to get visual references of roads, lakes, rivers, towns etc to make sure I’m on track. But don’t cheat and turn on your sim plane locator; it spoils the fun

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Hi guys,any recommended guides for VOR flight for a complete noob?

FSX and FS9 before it actually had a pretty great lessons course. The writer, an instructor in real life at the time, uses far too much cheezy humor but the info is good. Lesson 3 in the Private Pilot section covers VOR.


Thank you very much!

VOR basics: https://www.avsim.com/forums/topic/380559-complete-vor-tutorial/
Written while using MS Flight but obviously the information is universal.

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There are many good VOR and NDB navigation tutorials on Youtube geared towards sim pilots. If you sort by most recent results there are several that use MSFS 2020.

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Thank you!