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Do commercial airline pilots fly IFR or VFR, also do they use SIDS/STARS for landing procedures?STEVE

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Commercial airline pilots fly as they are told to.Most commonly airline operations will require pilots to fly through Class A airspace, thus requiring an IFR flight plan for at least that section of the flight. You can depart VFR, call for an IFR clearance once airborne approaching the class A bounderary and you can also depart IFR and cancel IFR when clear of the last class A airspace. all this does hold with it the weather should be VFR permitting, thus VMC. I heard some pilots do cancel IFR sometimes, but I'd say 99% of commercial AIRLINE operations are done IFR.Cheers

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When approaching a runway that is only capable of a VFR landing, im not so good at landing, i always end up approaching at the slightest of angle thus coming off the runway on touch down at some point, is there no way of lining up the aircraft as it does automatically using an ILS landing?STEVE

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The only way, to handfly and get right on the centerline is to practice, and make sure you practice crosswind crab approaches. Bob K.

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The flight dynamics are so true to the real aircraft (in my view) that it is almost required to have rudder peddals to fly a cross wind approach.

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I thought airlines operating under part 121 (the part which airliners operate in) couldn't be VFR?

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Actually, they can be whatever their ops specs allow. Many commuters will do VFR.

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Loganair (British Airways company) used to and still maybe do operate some flights VFR.

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I know that only some smaller planes have done VFR passenger carry flights, planes are then something like Twin Otter or Islander. I have never heard somebody flying VFR with a 737 :-)

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I imagine it's hard to see the little town and the railraod intersecting from the west at 35,000 feet in a 737.

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I'm not so sure SIDS or STARS are used very much. Most of the listening I do here in Phoenix (KPHX) the controllers give specific turns, headings and speed directions which don't seem to coincide with what I see published in the U.S. Terminal Procedures book. Of course I may be way off, but it also might depend on the flight plan and traffic conditions.Perhaps someone who knows for sure can comment?

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I would fly IFR in FS if the default flight rules were much more realistic. In real life, you probably won't have as much trouble as the FS one and the won't circle you around the whole airport tons of times without clearing you to land. I only use VFR in FS because the IFR in FS is poorly done.Nick B.Continental Airlines 737NG Pilothttp://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/forum/800driver.jpg--AMD Athlon XP 3200+ @ 2.2 Ghz (Equal to 2.8 ghz)400W Power supply3x 80 mm Case FansSoyo VIA KT600 Dragon PlusnVidia GeForce FX 5200 128 mb2 x 512 PC400100 GB Western DigitalMicrosoft Sidewinder Precision 2

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Some SIDs are vector departures where the departure controller will give you vectors to your first waypoint to clear any conflicting traffic. Some SIDs are pilot nav, and if conditions permit the controller may not need to contact you at all for vectors. It all depends on what is filed, current traffic conditions, etc., etc. Most ATC utilize a STAR as long as they can, but once you have all those aircraft stacked in the terminal approach area, all bets are off. They'll vector you, slow you down or speed you up, or descend you as necessary to keep you separated from traffic. Even though you have filed a STAR, there's no 100% garauntee that you'll be flying it all the way through to the last waypoint. ATC has the last call on that. I was on a NWA flight from KIND-KMSP one day a few years ago. I checked before I left for the airport to see our routing, IND..BVT..BAE.EAU6.KMSP. Once in the air I noticed we didn't make that turn towards Chicago, and we certainly didn't overfly it on our way to the Badger VOR near Milwaukee. I asked the pilot later why we didn't pass over Chicago and he told me we simply got direct straight to Minneapolis once we were airborne and with Chicago Center, didn't fly a STAR either. This was more of a convenience thing though, as we were about 30 minutes late out of IND and it got us there right on time instead of having to take the northerly track that was filed.

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Isn't commuter operations under Part 135, not 121? My understanding is that those small commuter planes under VFR might be operating under 135....those airline operations under 121 I don't think are aloud to be under IFR. Again, my take on the situation.

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>I imagine it's hard to see the little town and the railraod>intersecting from the west at 35,000 feet in a 737. That, and once you get above 18k, you get into class A airspace, which is IFR only :)

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GuysIn my experience most commercial flying is accomplished under IFR mainly because it is safer. Let us not forget that IFR is not about how you navigate but more about how much separation ATC must give between you and the other aluminnium tubes full of people. Yes IFR requires radio aids but there is no rule that says you can't use a VOR or NDB while flying VFR as long as you are not using it as your sole method of navigation.As stated earlier Class A airpace requires an IFR flight plan, all Airways are class A and so if you want to fly airways you need to file IFR, simple as that. Class A also applies to most major TMA's such as London, PAris Etc. After all the last thing you want is to find a puddle jumper ahead of you when you are barrelling down an approach at 200mph! I have flown VFR in a commercial aircraft but this was in order to remove an ATC slot restriction that would have put me and my crew out of our duty hours. The advent of systems such as TCAS make this a slightly safer option but I wouldn't want to make a habit of it. We did this in the Fokker F27 which is significantly larger than a Twotter of Islander but from a speed point of view is not prohibitive for VFR. The B737-300 I fly now however would make VFR more difficult because: a) moving faster makes navigation difficult:( flight above FL245 in Europe is deemed Class A airpsce and so needs to be IFR, flight below FL245 would be permitted BUT would be very inefficient on the fuel burnAs for SIDS and STARS, In most major European airports we fly full SIDS, STARS are less commonly enforced but must be planned for just in case. Often you only end up flying the first part of the SID or STAR before being vectored off it or given a Direct routing. SO in short yes we use them but to varying degrees, they are not cast in stone by any stretch of the imaginationFinally Visual approaches are notoriously difficult in the B737, nothing that cannot be overcome with practice though. Crosswinds make it difficult and this is compounded by not having any direct rudder control (be it pedals or twisting of your stick) but it can be done. The trick is to stabilise the approach as early as possible find a heading that keeps you on the loc and a pitch / power setting that keeps you on the G/S then leave it there. Make SMALL corrections as required and then as you get to the last 30 or so feet then start to kick off the crab and land straight. Landing straight is not mandatory and in fact is not even attempted when the aircraft autolands as it has no direct rudder control.Hope that lot helpsKris

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yes it does, thanks a lot nice to hear it from the horses mouth so to speak :)steve

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>Isn't commuter operations under Part 135, not 121? My>understanding is that those small commuter planes under VFR>might be operating under 135....those airline operations under>121 I don't think are aloud to be under IFR. Again, my take>on the situation.No, they can also be under Part 121. The real issue is the planned altitude. If, for operational reasons, you want to go above FL180 (this is US-only, of course), then you must file IFR. But you'll find B190s, SF34s, DH8Qs and even some RJs running around at 15,500 or 16,500 VFR on short legs. It all depends on the op specs approved for the company by the FAA.Then, of course, there's our operation. We *NEVER EVER EVER* go anywhere VFR. Even the 21nm reposition we do twice per trip is done IFR. We call it the "7-minute circus" but we want all the help with separation we can get. Even still, the only real TCAS RA I've ever gotten was on one of these legs.

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>I would fly IFR in FS if the default flight rules were much>more realistic. In real life, you probably won't have as much>trouble as the FS one and the won't circle you around the>whole airport tons of times without clearing you to land. I>only use VFR in FS because the IFR in FS is poorly done.>Try VATSIM then. Ofcourse the default ATC is a bull****. Do you really think that computer can "think" so well to separate so many planes and give them smart vectors etc all at the same time? Try VATSIM, you dont always have ATC, but in the evenings its quite realistic in major airports. There's nothing wrong with IFR in FS. Nothing. Just the ATC that is not Instrument Flight Rules, but Air Traffic Controller :)

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Thanks for that Richard :)

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How do you fly a an approach if it is IFR conditions and poor vis where there is no ILS or localizer. How do you line up for the runway and know if you are on the correct glide slope and on course for the threshold?kavan

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Most airports have some kind of VOR, NDB, or GPS approach designed for these situations.You follow the procedures, and if you don't have the runway in sight by a certain time (just for instance, 90 seconds after passing a certain waypoint) or passing a certain altitude, then you go missed approach and can either try again, or divert to an alternate airport.

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Hi Richard,What are the 2 airports you use in the 21nm reposition? Sounds like fun!Thanks,Bruce.

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Hi Bruce,We bounce between KASH and KBED on those legs.cz

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