With the needle centered with a "TO" indication, turn the aircraft to the bearing shown on the top of the VOR receiver display. Since the VOR is displaying the direction to the station, and your airplane is flying that heading, you will be heading directly to that VOR. However, the airplane will drift with the wind, unless a crosswind correction is applied.

To correct for the wind, maintain your heading and observe the movement of the needle, which is referred to as the course deviation indicator (CDI). If the needle moves right or left, it indicates the need to move the airplane right or left to stay on course to the station. This is another confusing concept of VOR navigation: The needle is not telling you to turn left or right, it's telling you to move the entire airplane left or right. In order to do this, you will, of course, have to turn the airplane. However, your goal is to adjust the heading in order to move the airplane laterally. Remember, the needle is giving you position information, which has nothing to do with your airplane's heading.

For example, if you were directly south of a VOR, on its 180 degree radial, then centering the needle with a "TO" indication would result in 360 being shown, since the VOR is directly north of the airplane. Turning the airplane to a 360 heading will get us heading toward the station. While maintaining a 360 heading, observe the movement of the CDI. Let's say the CDI begins to move to the right. In this case, the instrument is telling us that we are drifting to the left with the wind whenever we maintain a 360 degree heading.

At this point, we must choose a new heading to counteract the airplane drifting to the left. We'll turn right and establish the airplane on a 015 heading. Maintaining this new heading, observe the movement of the CDI. Let's say it continues to move to the right. We can gather that a 015 heading is not enough to counteract the wind. A greater correction is required, so we choose a further right heading of 030 degrees.

While maintaining a 030 heading, the needle begins to move back toward the center of the display. This means a 030 heading more than counteracts the wind, and we are returning to our desired course. Maintain the new heading until the CDI is centered.

Once the needle is centered, we make a guess as to what heading will perfectly counteract the wind. We know from our experiences so far that a 030 heading more than counteracts the wind, but that a 015 heading fails to counteract the wind. So, we should pick a heading between the two. We decide to try a 020 heading. After maintaining that 020 heading for a few minutes, the CDI needle is still centered.

This process of determining the proper heading for wind correction is known as bracketing, since you progressively narrow the range of headings the desired wind correction heading lies within.

Flying Directly Away From a VOR

With the needle centered with a "FROM" indication, turning the airplane to the bearing shown at the top of the VOR receiver display results in the airplane flying directly away from the station. This is because you have turned the airplane to a heading that is the same as the direction your airplane is from the station.

Track the radial away from the station using the same bracketing technique as when flying to the station.