View Full Version : Colored Airways?

Panama Jack
4th Jun 2004, 11:55
I am curious on the background behind "Colored Airways" versus "Victor Airways."

I've seen the names-- Green, Amber, Red and Blue. Where do they derive their names from? I used to think that they were strictly NDB Airways but I've seen some of them linking VOR's in some countries. I also note that some countries have renamed them "Golf, Alpha, Romeo and Bravo."


4th Jun 2004, 22:19
Green and Red were primarily East/West airways and Amber and Blue were primarily North/South. (A portion of Red 1 went YYR - YEO - YZV - YYY etc, headings roughly 240/060. Blue 19 went YZV - YWK heading 020/200. Red 1 actually began in Victoria BC and went all the way to Goose.) They were low level airways, ie below 12,000 ft east of the Rocks, 18,000 ft. over them and were between either an NDB, or earlier, an LF range.
I seem to recall it was about 30 years ago in Canada that they began calling them Romeo 1 or Bravo 19 or whatever. To my knowledge, all Victor Airways in Canada were between VHF facilities (VOR's).

4th Jun 2004, 23:06
The original Coloured airways were the first one's between LF/MF freq' facility,prior to the establishment of the VOR(late 50's early 60's)..Utilizing the medium waves the reception wasn't effected by line o;sight (as per VHF)ergo the MSA's were Lower(MOCA),but, as you know ,were effected by WX,sunsets,and ground metals ...the last few years they have been designated ICAO alphabet in place of colours.the present ben
eifits are that they show airways with much longer legs than VOR coverage..:ok:

Panama Jack
5th Jun 2004, 03:50
Where did the colors come from? Were they originally lighted (beacon) airways?

I also heard that there was some sort of a right-of-way rule with the following order of priority:

Green over Amber over Red over Blue.

Is this true and how did it end up working in practice? Thanks for indulging me :)

5th Jun 2004, 04:09
There were very definately actual lighted airways, originally designed for the commencement of air mail service in the USA.
Each light was approximately 20 miles apart, and flashing morse signals to indiacate just where the individual lighted towers were.
These were directional, within about 30 degrees of centerline.
The last of these lights/towers were decommissioned in the late 1950's, altho the towers were not removed until years later.
Many were natural gas powered generators, with two lights installed.
If one bulb failed, a photoelectric cell would activate the change mechanism, and the new bulb was moved into place.
All had fences around the installations, to keep persons/amimals away.

Panama Jack
5th Jun 2004, 10:22
Were the beacon lights colored depending on the airway designation? Is this where the colored airways got their name from?

6th Jun 2004, 04:59
Originally yes, but later on, colored lights were discarded in preference to white directional lights.
Easier to see in the mist.