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Background A diversion occurs when an aircraft flying between two airports makes an unplanned landing at another airport for any reason. In recent years, CRW has seen many aircraft diversions. The most notable of these were a United Airlines flight between Washington DC and San Diego and a Southwest flight between Nashville and Baltimore. In addition to these flights, there have been numerous other diversions. Many have begun to ask, why does CRW see so many diversions?
Why CRW? Location The primary reason we get the diversions we do is our location. CRW is located near two VOR Stations; one in South Charleston, the other in Henderson. VOR is short for VHF Omnidirectional Range and these stations are navigational waypoints for aircraft.
Why CRW? Location These VOR stations also serve as waypoints along numerous high altitude airways. Think of these as highways in the sky. The Charleston VOR is an intersection for numerous airways.
Why CRW? Location As you can see below, some of these airways passing over Charleston stretch the length of the country.
Why CRW? Location The Henderson, Charleston, and Beckley VOR’s are each the starting point of many STARS (standard arrival paths) into numerous major airports in the East. The Charleston VOR alone is an initial waypoint on approaches into Charlotte, Washington Dulles, Washington National, Detroit, and Atlanta.
Why CRW? Isolation When able, airlines typically divert to airports where they have scheduled flights. CRW is the only airport in the large area between Pittsburgh, Washington, Roanoke, Knoxville, Lexington, and Columbus that has five major airlines and their regional counterparts.
Credits Airway and VOR maps - http://puck.nether.net/faa/ All map sources – Google maps