The Liberty Gazette
March 24, 2009
March 24, 2009
The View From Up Here
By Mike Ely and Linda Street Ely
Mike: Before the introduction of GPS for air navigation, airways were created using radio beams radiated from objects on the ground such as Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Beacons, or VORs. That white witch-hat shaped thing in the middle of a field near Daisetta is one such navigation aid. There are also Non-Directional Radio Beacons (NDB), and long ago there was something called the Four-Course Range, and longer ago light beacon airways helped pilots navigate.
Between these navigation aids, routes or “airways” were developed, and along each of these are intersections created by intersecting airways much like the intersections of roads or sometimes just a “mile marker.” Before radar, or in areas of poor radar coverage, pilots reported over these intersections so that controllers could keep track of the aircraft’s progress along its assigned route, maintaining the required amount of separation between aircraft.
Instrument approaches use all these types of navigation aids so that when the weather is below what would be safe or legal to fly by visual references a pilot can fly by reference to the instrument in the aircraft. The Daisetta VOR is used as an anchor point for aircraft arriving into Houston. It is also used as the final approach fix for the VOR instrument approach into Liberty Municipal.
Instrument arrivals into high traffic areas like Houston are cleared by Air Traffic Control over a Standard Terminal Arrival Route, or STAR. STARs are named by the FAA folks who develop them and often have local flavor, such as the Stros Four and the Rokit Nine Arrivals into Houston. In Phoenix they have the Suns Arrival and into Salt Lake City the Jazz Arrival. All intersection names contain five letters, which often leads to creative spelling. For instance, honoring Mel Blanc’s association with New Hampshire, the approach into Portsmouth International uses the following intersections created from GPS coordinates to identify the route: Itawt, Itawa, Pudye, Ttatt. If the pilot can’t make the landing, he flies to the missed approach point, appropriately named Ideed. Imagine yourself the air traffic controller, or the pilot reading back instructions for the Tweety Bird approach.
Linda: The Aggee One Arrival comes down to Houston from College Station. Waypoint names along that route include Corps, Rvvle, Mroon, Twelf, Maaan, Advll, and Ninfa. Waypoints along the Bluebell Two Arrival include Blubl, Cowzz, and Snday. The Daisetta Seven Arrival (the one you see being used as you drive down FM 1960) uses waypoints named Cidor, Surve, Reptl (thanks to Anahuac, no doubt), Daetn (wonder what city this is over), and the Rokit Nine intersections include Tmacc, Sslam, Duunk, Murphy, Akeem, Innis, Drxlr and Ruddi.
Then there’s the Riice Two Arrival. On this route you’ll fly over the Cowboy VOR, and intersections named Chmpz, Lukiy, Homrn, Bazbl, Baats, Riice, Brkmn, Jerzi. The Stros Four Arrival will bring a smile as you cross Allou, Dirkr, Stros, Toyoh, and Feeld. Bagwl and Bigio are sky markers also. The Texnn Three Arrival comes from up North, from either the Cowboy or Maverick VOR just north of Waco, crossing the intersections of Goall, Ppunt, Drppd, Ftbal, Carrr, Texnn, Coach, Qtrbk, Takkl, Recvr, Fmble, and Tchdn. As of this month there is a new arrival route named after the Columbia astronauts, whose ship broke apart over Houston six years ago.
Mike and Linda can be reached at Texasavi8r@aol.com.