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Approach — Vectoring Last updated: 2018-01-23

Many times the approach position is associated with the term vector and this brings up the subsequent question: what is a vector? A vector is a heading given to provide navigational guidance by radar. You may vector aircraft for a number of reasons such as traffic, navigational guidance, noise abatement, etc.


You may vector an aircraft:
1. In controlled airspace
2. At or above the MVA (Minimum vectoring altitude)
3. In airspace for which you have control jurisdiction, unless otherwise coordinated

NOTE-
VFR aircraft not at an altitude assigned by ATC may be vectored at any altitude. It is the responsibility of the pilot to comply with the applicable parts of CFR Title 14.

There are three rules that apply to vectoring:
1. Whenever you initiate a vector you must tell the pilot why (see reasons for vectoring below)
2. Whenever you vector a pilot across a localizer/airway/radial they are expecting to join you must let them know (see reasons for vectoring below)
3. Aircraft must be vectored to join the localizer or final approach course at 30 degrees or less if greater then two miles from the final approach fix, or less then 20 degrees if less then two miles from the final approach fix (if applicable), and 45 degrees if a helicopter.


Methods


1. Direction of turn (if required) and the magnetic heading to be flown. Note that you must pronounce each digit of a heading individually, and if a heading is less than 100 degrees, a leading zero must be added.

PHRASEOLOGY-
TURN RIGHT/LEFT HEADING (degrees)
FLY HEADING (degrees)
FLY PRESENT HEADING
DEPART (fix) HEADING (degrees)

EXAMPLE-
“turn left heading zero three zero”
“fly heading zero three zero”
“depart Boulder City VOR heading zero eight zero”

2. State the direction of turn and the number of degrees to turn, in group form

PHRASEOLOGY-
TURN (number of degrees) DEGREES LEFT/RIGHT
EXAMPLE-
“turn ten degrees left”

3. For NO-GYRO vectors, state the type of vector, direction of turn and when to stop

PHRASEOLOGY-
THIS WILL BE A NO-GYRO VECTOR, TURN LEFT/RIGHT
followed by
STOP TURN
EXAMPLE-
“this will be a no-gyro vector, turn left”
“stop turn”


Reasons for vectoring


Whenever you initiate a vector, you have to inform the pilot of the reason for that vector. This only applies to the first vector. When vectoring departures, no reason must be stated as it is implied that it will be to the aircraft’s assigned route.

PHRASEOLOGY-
VECTOR TO (fix, airway)
VECTOR TO INTERCEPT (name of NAVAID) (specified) RADIAL
VECTOR TO FINAL APPROACH COURSE
VECTOR FOR SPACING
EXAMPLE-
“depart Boulder City heading zero eight zero, vector to final approach course”
“turn ten degrees right, vector for spacing”

Inform the pilot when a vector will take the aircraft across a previously assigned nonradar route.

PHRASEOLOGY-
EXPECT VECTOR ACROSS (NAVAID radial) (airway/route/course) FOR (purpose)
EXAMPLE-
“vector across Boulder City 213 radial for traffic”

Inform the aircraft whenever a vector will take it across the final approach course and state the reason for such action.

NOTE-
In the event you are unable to so inform the aircraft, the pilot is not expected to turn inbound on the final approach course unless approach clearance has been issued.

PHRASEOLOGY-
EXPECT VECTORS ACROSS FINAL FOR (purpose)
EXAMPLE-
“vector across final for resequencing”

“{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 5-6-2 5-9-3}”


Vectoring below the minimum vectoring altitude


The minimum vectoring altitude (or MVA), is, as its name suggests, the lowest altitude at which you can vector aircraft. You always must vector aircraft at or above this altitude except in the following cases:

1. When a diverse vector area (DVA) has been established, you may vector aircraft below the MVA within the DVA.
2. You may vector a VFR aircraft below the MVA who has not been assigned an altitude as it is the pilot’s responsibility to maintain appropriate terrain separation.

“{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 5-6-3}”


Ending radar navigational guidance


You have to provide radar navigational guidance to an aircraft you have initiated vectors until they are on a heading that will, within a reasonable distance, intercept the nonradar route to be flown. The pilot must be informed of his position in respect to a fix in his route unless he has RNAV, FMS or DME and is being vectored to a VOR/VORTAC

PHRASEOLOGY-
(position if required), RESUME OWN NAVIGATION
or
FLY HEADING (degrees), WHEN ABLE PROCEED DIRECT (fix)
or
RESUME (name/number SID/STAR)

EXAMPLE-
“7 miles west of Boulder City, resume own navigation”
“fly heading zero six zero, when able proceed direct Boulder City VOR”
“resume MCCRN five departure”

“{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 5-6-2}”

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