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Guest Robiwankonobi

Flight Plan vs ATC

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these are 3 questions I have about the relation between ATC instructions and flight plans.1. In real life, when flying a flight plan and being allowed to be on own navigation by ATC, what happens when you reach BOD (Beginning of Descend). Do you continue flying at the cruising altitude until ATC tells you to descend, or do you descend according to the flight plan?2. The same applies to taking off. After take off, do you wait until ATC allows you to fly your flight plan, after which you probably fly directly to the closest waypoint, or can you fly the flight plan immediately? If the latter is not the case, what is then the purpose of planning a SID?3. Does ATC have an exact copy of my flight plan so they know at all times what I'm up to?Any real pilot out there who could answer this question? Many thanks in advance.Robert

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Well I'm not a real pilot but I think I can help you with my experience on VATSIM. 1) Usually ATC will give you an altitude to descend to. Also, in most cases when you're using a STAR they will give you an altitude and speed restriction at a certain waypoint published in that STAR.2) This is where you listen to your clearance. The most common cases are...ATC will tell you to takeoff on runway heading which means you just stay on the runway heading after departure until they vector you elsewhere OR they give you a heading to fly after departure. They can also say "Via radar vectors to ..." That means they will vector you to the navaid then most times they tell you to resume own nav. 3) They should always have a copy of your flightplan since you send it to them before getting clearance and in most instances they will know exactly where you are. Again, I'm not a real pilot (yet) so there maybe some things I left out or more details I've overlooked but that should give you a basis to go off of. Also a lot of the stuff I said applies mostly to IFR flights.

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Hi RobertI'm not a real pilot, but I fly online with VATSIM a great deal, and the procedures they use are similar to the real world.1. Being on your own navigation in fact means following the flightplan you have previously filed with ATC. Contrary to what is sounds like, it doesn't mean you can fly where you like. It just means that it's up to you to fly the route and height that has been approved, without ATC having to tell you to fly a specific heading. Your altitude has been assigned to you by ATC, and you CANNOT deviate from it without ATC permission. Normally ATC will give you descent clearance before you reach BOD. If not, you can ask for permission to descend.2. When you get your initial clearance, ATC may clear you via a SID, if there is a specific one for the departure runway. If you get this in the initial clearance, you can fly the SID immediately the wheels leave the runway. The SID ends at the first waypoint of your flightplan. ATC may however give no SID in the clearance, in which case ATC will give you vectors to fly from the runway to the first waypoint in your flightplan. The initial vector is likely to be given along with take off clearance. There is no option to take off and head directly for the first waypoint in your plan, but saying this, if you are following ATC vectors, the first instruction you receive may turn you towards that waypoint anyway.3. Yes.Hope that's of some help.Bruce.

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>these are 3 questions I have about the relation between ATC>instructions and flight plans.>>1. In real life, when flying a flight plan and being allowed>to be on own navigation by ATC, what happens when you reach>BOD (Beginning of Descend). Do you continue flying at the>cruising altitude until ATC tells you to descend, or do you>descend according to the flight plan?In the real world - you'll either do that, or you'll say something like "XYZ Center, SWA1039 would like to start down". See my response on the bottom for MS-ATC>2. The same applies to taking off. After take off, do you wait>until ATC allows you to fly your flight plan, after which you>probably fly directly to the closest waypoint, or can you fly>the flight plan immediately? If the latter is not the case,>what is then the purpose of planning a SID?When the tower clears you for takeoff, they'll give you instructions, or expect you to follow the SID... for example "SWA1039, fly runway heading, cleared for takeoff". Once you're talking to departure, they'll give you vectors towards a waypoint on your plan, or to intercept an airway, with words like "fly heading 234 to CVG, resume own nav".>3. Does ATC have an exact copy of my flight plan so they know>at all times what I'm up to?They have a copy of your clearance. Think of it this way... Your flight plan is how you tell ATC what you want to do. Your clearance is how ATC tells you what they expect you to do. You either accept the clearance and abide by it or you decline it and work something else out, but you don't operate without it.>Any real pilot out there who could answer this question? Many>thanks in advance.>Very little of this applies to FlightSim ATC built in to MSFS. VATSIM and other online ATC works pretty much like the real thing. What's tricky about VATSIM is when you don't have a controller working your airspace. In that case you just fly your route and manage your own altitude.Hope this helps.

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Hi Bruce, thanks for the reply which makes things a lot clearer. However, some questions remain just for better understanding the system:At which stage in take off preparation do you receive the information that you either have to fly a SID or are vectored by ATC to your first way point of the flight plan and who gives you this info?Since the weather and the amount of traffic has an impact on which runway and with that which SID you have to fly, I assume that this information is received during the take off preparation at the gate. It wouldn't be very practical if the info which SID to fly comes while taxiing to the runway because of the time needed to make program changes in the FMC.Many thanksRobert

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"At which stage in take off preparation do you receive the information..."As mentioned on other posts you

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