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En Route Procedures
4. Airways and Route Systems
Three fixed route systems are established for air
navigation purposes. They are the Federal airway
system (consisting of VOR and L/MF routes), the jet
route system, and the RNAV route system. To the
extent possible, these route systems are aligned in an
overlying manner to facilitate transition between
The VOR and L/MF (nondirectional radio
beacons) Airway System consists of airways
designated from 1,200 feet above the surface (or in
some instances higher) up to but not including 18,000
feet MSL. These airways are depicted on IFR Enroute
Low Altitude Charts.
The altitude limits of a victor airway should not be
exceeded except to effect transition within or between route
Except in Alaska, the VOR airways are:
predicated solely on VOR or VORTAC navigation
aids; depicted in black on aeronautical charts; and
identified by a “V” (Victor) followed by the airway
number (for example, V12).
Segments of VOR airways in Alaska are based on L/MF
navigation aids and charted in brown instead of black on
en route charts.
A segment of an airway which is
common to two or more routes carries the numbers of
all the airways which coincide for that segment.
When such is the case, pilots filing a flight plan need
to indicate only that airway number for the route filed.
A pilot who intends to make an airway flight, using VOR
facilities, will simply specify the appropriate “victor”
airway(s) in the flight plan. For example, if a flight is to be
made from Chicago to New Orleans at 8,000 feet, using
omniranges only, the route may be indicated as “departing
−Midway, cruising 8,000 feet via Victor 9 to
Moisant International.” If flight is to be conducted in part
by means of L/MF navigation aids and in part on
omniranges, specifications of the appropriate airways in
the flight plan will indicate which types of facilities will be
used along the described routes, and, for IFR flight, permit
ATC to issue a traffic clearance accordingly. A route may
also be described by specifying the station over which the
flight will pass, but in this case since many VORs and L/MF
aids have the same name, the pilot must be careful to
indicate which aid will be used at a particular location.
This will be indicated in the route of flight portion of the
flight plan by specifying the type of facility to be used after
the location name in the following manner: Newark L/MF,
With respect to position reporting,
reporting points are designated for VOR Airway
Systems. Flights using Victor Airways will report
over these points unless advised otherwise by ATC.
The L/MF airways (colored airways) are
predicated solely on L/MF navigation aids and are
depicted in brown on aeronautical charts and are
identified by color name and number (e.g., Amber
One). Green and Red airways are plotted east and
west. Amber and Blue airways are plotted north and
Except for G13 in North Carolina, the colored airway
system exists only in the state of Alaska. All other such
airways formerly so designated in the conterminous U.S.
have been rescinded.
The use of TSO−C145 (as revised) or
TSO−C146 (as revised) GPS/WAAS navigation
systems is allowed in Alaska as the only means of
navigation on published air traffic service (ATS)
routes, including those Victor, T−Routes, and colored
airway segments designated with a second minimum
en route altitude (MEA) depicted in blue and
followed by the letter G at those lower altitudes. The
altitudes so depicted are below the minimum
reception altitude (MRA) of the land−based
navigation facility defining the route segment, and
guarantee standard en route obstacle clearance and
two−way communications. Air carrier operators
requiring operations specifications are authorized to
conduct operations on those routes in accordance
with FAA operations specifications.
The jet route system consists of jet routes
established from 18,000 feet MSL to FL 450
These routes are depicted on Enroute
High Altitude Charts. Jet routes are depicted in black
on aeronautical charts and are identified by a “J” (Jet)
followed by the airway number (e.g., J12). Jet routes,
as VOR airways, are predicated solely on VOR or
VORTAC navigation facilities (except in Alaska).
Segments of jet routes in Alaska are based on L/MF
navigation aids and are charted in brown color instead of
black on en route charts.
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