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FAA working quickly to compensate for VOR lost in wildfiresFAA working quickly to compensate for VOR lost in wildfires

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Charred rubble of Fillmore VOR

When the Southern California Consolidated Terminal Radar Control (SoCal Tracon) was forced to shut down a week and a half ago by wildfires raging dangerously close by, it caused massive but relatively short-term disruptions. Now the FAA is dealing with potentially much longer term disruptions caused when a heavily used radio navigation aid burned to the ground in one of the fires.

Fillmore VOR (FIM), located northwest of the Los Angeles Basin, is the primary navaid for traffic from northern California and the Pacific Northwest heading into southern California.

[See also a list of affected procedures and airways.]

It defines portions of two high-altitude jet airways and seven low-altitude Victor airways. The loss of FIM affects nine departure procedures at six airports, 10 standard arrival routes (STARs) at six airports, and 30 approach procedures at eight airports.

The FAA says the area has good radar and radio coverage, so controllers are vectoring air traffic along the route to compensate for the loss of FIM. There are no RNAV (GPS) STARs either in existence or planned that could be used to replace Fillmore VOR, and because of terrain and coverage issues, no other existing VOR signals could be used to compensate.

Longer term, the agency is trying to decide if it will put a mobile temporary VOR in Fillmore's place or rebuild the facility from the ground up. Not replacing the facility would require redesigning and flight-checking every affected procedure.

03-4-082x

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