Victor airways are low-altitude airways established in the United States by the FAA for flight below Flight Level 180 (approximately 18,000 feet (5,500 m) above mean sea level (AMSL)). They can be flown by pilots under either instrument flight rules (IFR) or visual flight rules (VFR). They are defined in straight-line segments, each of which based on a straight line between either two VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) stations, or a VOR and a VOR intersection, hence the beginning letter V (pronounced as Victor, see ICAO phonetic alphabet). Victor airways are defined in the FAA Order JO 7400.9.
Victor airways have minimum (and possibly maximum) altitudes for IFR operations established. For VFR operations, victor airways are just a subset of so-called Federal airways (which also include so-called colored airways), which are designated as Class E, and hence are extended from 1,200 feet (370 m) above ground level (AGL) up to, but not including, 18,000 feet (5,500 m) above mean sea level (AMSL).
Victor airways are depicted as black solid lines on IFR Low-Altitude Enroute charts and as thick faded blue lines on VFR Terminal and Sectional Area charts. They may be likened to "highways in the sky" and are identified by a number, similar to an interstate highway (for example, a pilot could say that he/she is "flying Victor Eight").
- When VORs are less than 102 nautical miles (NM) (189 km) from each other, the victor airway extends 4 NM (7.4 km) on either side of the centerline (8 NM (14.8 km) total width).
- When VORs are more than 102 NM from each other, the width of the airway in the middle increases. The width of the airway beyond 51 NM from a navaid is 4.5 degrees on either side of the centerline between the two navaids (at 51 NM from a navaid, 4.5 degrees from the centerline of a radial is equivalent to 4 NM). The maximum width of the airway is at the middle point (or a designated changeover point) between the two navaids (this is where 4.5 degrees offset from the centerline radial results in a maximum distance from the centerline).
- FAA Order JO 7400.2, Procedures for Handling Airspace Matters. FAA. Retrieved 2012-12-17. (cited as 7400.2)
- FAA Order JO 7400.9, Airspace Designations and Reporting Points. FAA. Retrieved 2012-12-17. (cited as 7400.9)
- FAA Order 8260.3, United States Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS). FAA. Retrieved 2012-12-17. (cited as TERPS)
- FAA Order 8260.19, Flight Procedures and Airspace. FAA. Retrieved 2012-12-17. (cited as 8260.19)
- Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. FAA. 2008. Retrieved 2012-12-17. (cited as PHAK)
- PHAK, p. G-33
- 7400.9, Sec. 6010 VOR Federal Airways
- PHAK, p. G-11
- 7400.2, Para. 20-1-5 Route Identification
- 8260.19, Para. 3-1a
- TERPS, Paras. 1711, 1716