In-flight access to FSS via VORs discontinued - why?
Votes
Answered By AOPA
I teach daily within and around the Washington SFRA airspace.   In late-February I noticed that almost all VORs in that area were postting a new NOTAM,
"COM VOR VOICE U/S. 20 FEB 11:00 2020 UNTIL PERM. CREATED: 18 FEB 15:28 2020"

Thus no pilot could communicate with FSS via these VORs from 20FEB onwards, permanently.   I'm not aware that there was any advance publicity for these widespread and simultaneous closures, nor any explanation provided after the closure date.

This substantially limits the ability of pilots to reach FSS in the Washington airspace area - because there are very few dedicated FSS antennae installed in that airspace (e.g. 122.2 at BWI).   So very difficult to contact FSS if low-level (say 2000-2500'MSL) and distant from one of the few dedicated FSS antennae.

Why has Leidos implemented these closures - with effectively no notice and no publicity?   How am I supposed to teach my students to contact FSS in accordance with the procedures published in Aircraft Flying Handbook and Private Pilot ACS, if there is effectively no practical method to demonstrate this procedure around Washington?
5 Replies
Votes
AOPA Staff Answer
There is additional information concerning voice communications over VOR at the bottom of the website I provided. I attached one of those for you to review. It may answer some of your questions. I cannot guarantee it will be a satisfactory answer, but it will give you some perspective.
RCO_Reduction_FAQ_111918.pdf
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VOR closures have been implemented for the last several years as part of the NEXGEN program. To get more detailed information on FSS plans and future you can visit their webpage at https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ato/service_units/systemops/fs/ .
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To Promestheus:   These VORS have not been discontinued.   Only their COM channels (i.e. access to Leidos FSS) has been discontinued.
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Quote from website proposed by Prometheus:

"How will I know which frequencies will be decommissioned and which ones will be retained?
You can see the list of frequencies that are going to be retained and removed on our website."

What website?  What URL?  Where,within that website?
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Hi Mike
The website to get latest updated information is the same one posted in my earlier response. In the attachment I sent to you there is a link to send for additional information: www.faa.gov/go/flightservice

For what it's worth, there was an article written in 2016 summarizing this plan and how to provide comments. Unfortunately that was 2016. Here is a link to that copy. https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2016/april/28/faa-plans-major-rco-reduction

I tried contacting Leidos in search of future plans, unsuccessfully. I did get a hold of a briefer who mentioned the mass closings on Feb 20. His understanding is there are no current plans to close additional outlets.