Whats Up with the Waypoints


does anybody know whats up with the 5 Letter Waypoints that are all over the world map? Who defined them and why are they where they are? For me the placement is completely random. But i guess they should make sense somehow. Do I have to follow these in low IFR flight or is this up to me?
Also, is there some change? Meaning new waypoints are introduced and old ones are removed?

Thx very much

Bing & Google are your friends, among many other finds, here’s one:
A Pilot Explains Waypoints, the Hidden Geography of the Sky | Condé Nast Traveler (cntraveler.com)

Well that’s not my question. I know what a waypoint is. I am curious more about the definition process. But nevermind.

Names of waypoints are determined by some local identifier. The seemingly random locations are actually based on a number of variables but suffice to say that they are based on intersections of radio navigation “highways”. Where they occur is usually based on terrain, proximity to other flight segments, transition points to join arrivals or enter airways from departure procedures.

There is a lot going on. In most countries other than some European ones that have adopted a “Direct Navigation” standard, there are preferred routes to simplify things for ATC. If you are on a Victor airway then your path is predictable and it becomes easier for ATC to control separation.

In general, if you filed either High or Low altitude airways, you are expected to follow those published routes. If you prefer to fly direct then use direct GPS flight plans instead.

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Did you read the article that @ccrbc linked? They explain how the waypoint is named. Just read it

Yeah I read it. But again my question is not so much about the name but more about who defines these waypoints. Like is there some kind of official organisation. e.g. people meet in a room and say: Oh look, we need a waypoint here. Who votes for or against it? Or: This waypoint has to be moved. A mountain is to close.
What is if some pilots have waypoints, others do not know about. Maybe thats impossible.

Ah OK. Thank you very much

These are not personal or company waypoints. These are part of the aviation navigation network.

  • Simplified description;
    Airways are the highways and the 5 letter names along those are the intersections.

Naming of these locations is spelled out below. (Note that this is just the FAA, but most countries follow many of the same standards)


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