When asked in an interview about how a VOR works what in your opinion is the best answer to give. I know you may think this is an obvious question but I have heard of people who have quoted chapter and verse on the VOR and then been grilled on some of the intricacies involved. Are you better to give a brief overview which they may or may not find sufficient or to leave yourself open to further complex questions to do with a VOR. I know you should try to impress with your knowledge but if you dont have that level of knowledge across the board you may get yourself into a situation where the rest of the interview may become a stressful experience. This may not be the totally correct forum but to anyone who takes the time to reply thanks a million.
:o :o :o :o
I'd give them a brief but sound summary of the working principles and navigational use. It should include the "rotating antenna" principle or how it is substituted and that the VOR receiver, in contrast to NDB radios, gets its directional info created at the ground station, that means independently from aircraft systems.
Always difficult to know which way to go on something like this. I'd suggest that if the interviewer expects you to know it all, which will undoubtedly become clear from the in-depth questions, the chances are pretty good that they're looking for an excuse to fail you. Conversely, if you DO know it all, there's still a good chance that they'll flunk you only, in this instance, it'll be for being too theoretical and, by implication, not practical enough.
I'd be giving the practical answer that's short on detail but long enough that the interviewer sees that you know the difference between a VOR, a NDB and a Localiser. That way, you put the ball back in their court to ask a more in-depth question. They obviously have a right to expect that you'll know a fair bit about it, because they'll know what's in the training syllabus - probably better than you know it.
As a purely personal observation, I'd be thinking that if they want more detail than is practically useful, they may not be the sort of mob I'd want to work for. It IS a case of "horses for courses" though, because it largely depends on the type of job you're being interviewed for. The standard, garden variety flying job (airline or GA) shouldn't require you to demonstrate a thorough knowledge of it but, if it's an instructing type of job, all topics are fair game... and in fairly significant depth.
I'd give them a quick overview that showed you knew what they were and could use one (if the GPS packed up ) and let them ask any more questions that they may feel appropriate to demonstrate an appropriate level of knowledge.
Also, you could simply ask them. This would be fair game I think because being lengthy when they're looking for an overview could be as bad as a two sentence answer when they wanted the secret plans to build their own.
One thing you could say though was a VOR will tell you where you are from it whereas an NDB will tell you where it is from you.
Like OE says, it depends what you are interviewing for.
The depth of knowledge required probably hinges on the examiner's knowledge of the subject. This is especially so when it comes to written exams. In overworked, underpaid government departments, the examiner may not have a clue how VOR works, and is solely relying on key words or phrases he/she has on his/her official checklist. He/she may want to hear/read that the VOR signal is made up of two components with certain characteristics, that the ground station is aligned with local magnetic north (and you need a functioning compass system amongst other things on your aircraft to effectively interpret the ground station signals), etc, etc.
He/she may want to know how crosswinds affect navigation towards ADF stations Vs VOR stations. He/she may want you to know about VOR's limitations (effective range of signals, why there aren't many VOR's in high latitudes, etc). He/she may need you to know what an aircaft VOR antenna looks like and where it is located (so that if you see a broken one on your walkaround, you know what to call it in the maintenance logbook) .
If your intention is to become a pilot, then I doubt that he/she will ask you to draw a comprehensive block diagram of a VOR receiver (They usually reserve that sort of punishment for Licenced Aircraft Engineers ).
What kind of Check Airmen truly believe that pilots need to understand this, in order to fly airplanes? Either a cockpit VOR course indicator has an off flag, or it doesn't (and with an internal failure, it might not). The pilot should ident the VOR freq before he/she begins an approach.
People have told me that the Japanese Airline ground schools require pilots with thirty years (retired TWA, NWA etc) of operational airline flying to understand radio theory, before a 55-year old pilot can get into the ANA or JAL simulator. This is almost unbelievable.
Seems to me there's no issue here with VORs, the issue is with interview technique. If you're asked a technical question, answer it to the best of your ability. If you're asked to go into more detail, answer by saying "I don't know the answer to that, the best I can do is give you an educated guess." If the interviewer invites you to make an educated guess, then do so, making sure you tell him why you think what you think.
For example, if I were asked in an interview why there are few VORs at high latitudes, I might explain to the interviewer that I wasn't aware that there were few VORs at high latitudes, but I could take a guess. Then, when asked further, I'd tell him that magnetic variation needs to be applied at the VOR sight, not at the aircraft. Normally, we don't need to worry too much about this, since the variation at the VOR will be so close to that at the aircraft it doesn't really matter. But at high latitudes, variation can change by many degrees in a relatively short distance, and this could cause confusion if variation isn't applied correctly.
I don't know if that's the right answer. (Is it?) But it shows that I understand how to apply variation at a VOR. It shows that I understand that there are parts of the world where variation is significant. And if it's not the correct reason, well, no problem because I told the interviewer beforehand that I didn't actually know the answer to the question.
This comes from being both interviewer and interviewee in the IT world - as interviewer, if a candidate demonstrates that they understand the principles then I will forgive them for not knowing the details of a small area. As interviewee, I've never had a problem getting job offers from interviews yet, so I assume I must be doing something right.
"why there aren't many VOR's in high latitudes
Ok, I'll bite...why not?"
Hmmm.... Perhaps I've misunderstood something I was taught (a long time ago).... I thought you couldn't use VOR when an aircraft Heading Reference system was operating in "True". Considering most modern glass jets have IRS's and that the Hdg Ref systems switch to True automatically, I thought you wouldn't be able to use VOR above a certain latitude(?). For example, doesn't a flag drop into view on a 747-400's RMI when above a certain latitude (or when True is selected)?
P.S. Or is there less VOR coverage in high latitudes because polar bears keep chewing on the VOR groundstation repairmen?