In the United States and Canada, Victor airways are low-altitude airways. They are defined in straight-line segments, each of which is 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, in the ICAO phonetic alphabet).
In the United States, Victor airways are designated by the FAA in FAA Order JO 7400.9. They are available for flight below Flight Level 180 (approximately 18,000 feet (5,500 m) above mean sea level (AMSL)) under either instrument flight rules (IFR) or visual flight rules (VFR).
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 are identified by a number, similar to an interstate highway (for example, a pilot could say that he/she is "flying Victor Eight").
The width of the victor corridor depends on the distance from the navigational aids (such as VORs):
- When VORs are less than 102 nautical miles (NM) (189 km) from each other, the 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 to account for the increased margin of error in the VOR signal. The width of the airway beyond 51 NM from a navaid is 4.5 degrees on either side of the centerline (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 a designated changeover point between the two navaids, usually half way.
The basic VHF/UHF airway width is at least 4NM on each side of the centerline prescribed for such an airway, and is expanded along a line diverging 4.5° on each side of the centerline from the designated facility.
The basic LF/MF airway width is at least 4.34NM on each side of the centreline prescribed for such an airway, and is expanded along a line diverging 5° on each side of the centerline from the designated facility.
Low-level controlled fixed RNAV routes have dimensions of 4 NM of primary obstacle protection area, plus 2NM of secondary obstacle protection area on each side of the centreline. The airspace associated with RNAV T-routes is 10NM on each side of the centreline. RNAV T-route airspace and protection areas do not splay with distance from the waypoint.
- 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
- Aeronautical Information Manual. https://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/ca-publications/AIM-2015-1-E-WEB.pdf: Transport Canada. 2015. p. 193.