Loran-C No More In the USA

The United States Coast Guard is going to terminate the LORAN-C service this February. The full service shutdown wont be complete until October of this year.

Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has certified that the Loran-C system infrastructure is not needed as a backup to the GPS system or to meet any other federal navigation requirement.

More information can be found on Inside GNSS.

I’ve never been formally trained on how to use LORAN-C for navigation, however I have flown aircraft with the equipment on board.

I agree that we do need a backup to GPS however I dont think current navaid technology (VORs, NDBs) are good enough. LORAN-C seemed like the perfect tool.

Have you ever used LORAN-C? Does this affect you at all?

I don’t believe there are any LORAN-C transmitters in Canada.

6 Responses

  1. Richard says:

    I’ve used Loran-C, man and boy, off and on for 33 years. Have a Loran-C navigator in the Cherokee. Since both NDBs and VORs are scheduled for phase out I have to wonder what other navigation system is going to back up GPS. Galileo?
    Oh, and this is the third time in the last (I think) 5 years that Loran-C has been on death row. If you threaten to kill something often enough people stop using it. Then it dies from apathy. Too bad really it is a great system and can accurate enough for en-route and terminal navigation.

  2. Joe says:

    There were some transmitters in Canada, but they were decommissioned on Jan 8th (I think the US system went down on Jan 7th) I think they were only used in the great lakes area, because it is primarily a marine navigation system.
    Many pilots talk about Loran C, but its mostly (if not all) VFR. I used it for a while when I was flying. It worked ok, as long as you knew how to use it. A moving map GNSS is about 1000x better…
    I don’t really think that any backup is needed for GNSS, commercial aviation has been using it exclusively for a long time now, and it works great. However, I doubt if VOR’s or NDB’s will be phased out anytime soon (next 5-10 years)
    Joe

  3. Richard says:

    VOR decomissioning is already underway.

  4. Joe says:

    Im not aware of any being decommissioned in Canada that are in use. There are some examples where a vor has been replaced by a better one nearby (vie-ycf) also some have been removed with the expansion of radar sites (not as many required when you can provide radar separation). There could be some that I’m not aware of though…

  5. Blake says:

    I don’t know of any that have been decommissioned either. Just VOTs, which I wrote about previously.
    In fact, here is an example of NavCanada improving an already existing site:
    http://www.navcanada.ca/ContentDefinitionFiles/Newsroom/ServiceProjectAnnouncements/2009/an0904a_en.pdf
    I highly doubt that VORs will go away in the next 20 years. As for NDBs? I see them sticking around for longer, especially since they are cheaper to maintain.
    Some countries, like Australia, have only VORs in Terminal airspace. While the rest of the country is served by NDBs. (Feel free to correct me on that).

  6. Richard says:

    http://planenews.com/lnko
    and
    http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pubs/frp2008/2008_Federal_Radionavigation_Plan.pdf
    Mind you the second calls for the FAA “retaining a minimum network…”, and it also indicates that Loran or eLoran could be used during GPS outages.
    These are US sources, not Canadian, but I can’t see NavCanada staying far behind the FAA on this file, especially since the CAA (in GB) is apparently starting in 2011: http://forums.flyer.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=57866
    There may well still be VOR stations around in 20 years, but will they be dense enough to provide a credible backup to GPS for GA?