Specific courses are assigned or published to facilitate smooth traffic flow and to provide
terrain and obstacle clearance. In order to maintain the proper course during the departure,
enroute (on or off airways) or approach phases of flight, it is necessary to first understand the
principle of radial tracking.
A radial is a magnetic bearing extending from a VOR, TACAN or VORTAC station.
Radials are numbered in three digits beginning with 001° and extending clockwise through
360° (magnetic north). See Figure 1.
The course an aircraft flies directly outbound from a navaid is the same as its radial.
(See Figure 2).
3-2 RADIAL TRACKING AND COURSE CONTROL