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What does this route mean?

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Hello, I was just on FlightAware and I found a flight from KBHM to KMEM. SWA 1863


This is the posted route NW9 VUZ333025 HAB LUGOH2 


What does this route even mean?


NW9 isn't a SID, Waypoint, NDB, VOR, or Jetway

I also don't understand what this means "VUZ333025" Again, It's not Waypoint, NDB, VOR, or Jetway.


I'm just a bit confused on what the route basically means.





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If you go to Sky Vector and set up a flight plan from KBHM to KMEM, then click on the Routes link in the planning box, one of the options is the route in question.  I don't know what the NW9 part is, but VUZ is a VOR about 10 NM northwest of BMH.  The 333025 part signifies a point 25 NM along the 333 degree radial.


If you look at that route on Sky Vector, it is nowhere near as straight as the actual flight path.  I think they got vectored direct as soon as they were airborne.

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This isn't a straightforward question to answer since there are differences between the procedures used by airlines and General Aviation, between civil and military, between IFR and VFR, and others. But here's the best answer that I can suggest.    :cool:


In particular, there is also a significant difference between the format of a flight plan as filed and the same plan as it is entered into the FMC (either uploaded or tweaked via the CDU). Since most simmers don't file a flight plan or request clearance, they often remain unaware of this — until they try to use filed routes from a site such as FlightAware or have to file a flight plan for online flying, when they may bump into the problem that you encountered. 


To take a simplified example, with an airline it is the dispatcher who will decide on the route to be flown (depending on the weather, current NOTAMs, and so on). The route will not include such things as SIDs and STARs — although those may be included in the clearance when it arrives. (This is why the more advanced FSX aircraft will not upload a route that contains SID or STAR information into their FMC). The dispatcher also puts the route into its final form to be uploaded directly into the FMC of the aircraft. (Note, however, that the pilot still has to action the necessary last-minute changes via the CDU, such as runway to be used, SID, weather and runway conditions, and so on — and to sanity-check the final version of the route in the FMC). But the point is that the format of the route filed is somewhat dissimilar to the route as it appears in the FMC, which is the root (no pun intended) of your problem.


> "This is the posted route NW9 VUZ333025 HAB LUGOH2  ...  What does this route even mean?"


Well, it does look pretty cryptic, that's for sure.   :)   If you really want to use that particular route then your best bet is to break out the en route and other charts for the area and have a look at what's going on. (Your task is further complicated by the absence of SID or STAR, of course, but nonetheless, with the charts things do become clearer. My task is complicated by the fact that I hardly ever fly in the U.S. (where the rules and terminology do differ from ICAO), so hopefully someone with local knowledge may be able to shed more light than I can).


So to decode the cryptic flight plan that was filed you need to check the charts and make your best guess. Here's mine.


First of all, I too am puzzled about NW9, although I suspect that it may be an identifier code for an un-named turn point which nominates the point at which (depending on the departure runway) you turn towards VUZ, which is only about 10nm away (so a formal SID seems unlikely). Take a look at this document: http://http://www.jeppesen.com/download/navdata/navdata_info1.pdf which contains useful information about some of the more arcane identifiers that you can encounter, including un-named turn points. However, since VUZ is only 10nm to the northwest of the airfield, I'm thinking that some funky DIRECT TO (with ATC guidance) is going to be needed!


As you will see from the chart (below), once you manage to get to the VUZ VORTAC (VULCAN BIRMINGHAM 114.40) you can jump straight onto the LUGOH TWO arrival for Memphis and stay on it for the rest of the trip (this probably accounts for the fact that the filed plan is so short: the FMC equivalent would be simply <departure> VUZ LUGOH2 <arrival procedure>). 




The next point of interest is the HAB VORTAC (HAMILTON 110.40), following which there are a number of possible intersections (ERASE, CRAMM, LUGOH, and the delightfully-named MASHH) before the airway passes a little to the south of KMEM, your destination. There is no need to nominate any of those, of course: all you need is the usual VIA and ROUTE entries. In the aircraft, those intersections which you fly over will appear on the LEGS page, but not on the ROUTE page.


As previously mentioned, no STAR will be suggested in the plan filed, although looking at the charts if you are headed for rwy 36 I would anticipate the VUZ transition to the LUGOH2 STAR.


> "...how would I enter VUZ333025 into the FMC?"


<grin>  With difficulty, I would suspect (although some identifiers can appear very strange, as the pdf document recommended above shows). As Pete said, "The 333025 part signifies a point 25 NM along the 333 degree radial", but TBH I'm not sure how that point helps us, since HAB (the next identifiable point) is 63.9 nm from VUZ (although it *is* along the 303º radial, so...).     :mellow:


Therefore, for FMC purposes, my suggestion for a rough translation would be:


<departure runway procedure>   DCT VUZ   LUGOH2   <arrival depending on runway in use>


Just my 2ȼ....  Anyway, I hope the above helps a little.    ^_^





a.k.a. brian747


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