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Guest wvushark

SID/ STAR Reality Questions

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Guest wvushark

Hello all, I have a question about how the reality of approaches and how to best accomplish that in the simulator. I live in Atlanta, and fly in and out of KATL fairly frequently (as a passenger), so much that I know that most flights are vectored toward the aiport, and then sent parallel to the final approach course, heading outbound from the airport. At about 15-20 miles out, the planes turn inward from the outboad course, and intercept the ILS heading of the designated runway, and begin to intercept the glideslope. This is of course my observation. Now, if I build a flight in FS Navigator, and then fly into ATL in my 737NG, I will fly a similar route, but much shorter. It seems that if I come into the turn I am way too high, and already needing to be on the glide slope, and by time I get to level flight, Im right on top of the runway. I have alot of trouble slowing down in time, and lately I have been modifiying my inital flight plan to include leveling off and slowing down legs to the flight (which takes about 20-30 miles of the initial cruise in FS Navigator). So I guess my question is how do I get it right?? Should I modify the STAR in FS Navigator to incorporate the longer approach? Should I add Radar Contact or another ATC program to allow more accurate approach control?? How do most plan there descents?? Is there a good tutorial out there that discusses this with a realistic ATC option? Hope you can help me, I love this product and am eager to learn more and more,Raymond

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I can highly recommend Radar Contact as an ATC add-on. It completely re-defines the IFR flight experience in FS. HOWEVER be prepared to tighten your personal standards on airmanship and adherence to real-world procedures, FS becomes less of a game and more of a simulation.As well as decent ATC, download some of the very well crafted SID/STARS available at www.navdata.at or www.planepath.com, these are often more accurate than the stock ones (but not always!).I don't have FSNavigator but the following should apply to you also:When I'm building a flightplan in FSbuild, I actually exlcude the SID and STAR at that point, I JUST focus on the 'middle bit' of the flightplan itself. Then once I've loaded the plan into the FMC, I add the departure and arrival details manually, the appropriate departure runway, SID/STARS and approach get slotted into the plan in the correct places, I clear any discontinuities on the legs page and I'm all set.


Mark Adeane - NZWN
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The transition between STAR and ILS varies. The typical ILS procedure includes transitions (between enroute and terminal airspace), the initial approach leg (from IAF to FAF) and the final approach course (FAF to runway), which is generally about 5 nm. The STAR procedure usually provides routing within the enroute airspace up to several hundred miles out and it's primary purpose is to funnel traffic into one or more handoff points between center and approach. Many large terminals (KATL) have STARS that continue to route the flow within the terminal airspace either right to the IAF or to within range of final vectors from ATC to intercept the approach course.I recommend you first look at flightaware.com, enter KATL in the airport code text entry box and you'll see live traffic and lists of arrivals and departures. Clicking on a flight number will bring up a screen full of info about that specific flight and the route (including SID/STAR info). Elsewhere, there are screens full of information for each airport with download links for all the SID(DP), STAR and IAP charts. Under Statistics, you can query and retrieve the most common flight plans between any two US cities.Now, using actual traffic and current charts, fly into KATL. One of my saved flights is KDFW-KATL via SOLDO2 MEI HONIE2 FL350. Note that the route is simply a SID and a STAR connected at a VOR. In this case the HONIE2 routes the traffic from Meridian MS into KATL via fix HONIE. Note that traffic landing West (for example) crosses TIROE at 14000. As the flight proceeds along the STAR, the altitude constraints decrease to 7000 then 4000, speed should decrease to 240 below 10000, ATC will assign speed constraints if they have a train of traffic going. From the final fix in the STAR (HEDEG), the traffic is vectored to intercept the final approach that is usually 27L (it says so on the STAR). I don't use the AI ATC because it doesn't recognize the FMC flightplan (and because it's very unrealistic); just turn a base leg (heading 360) and then a heading to intercept the final course by about 30 deg (intercept heading 300 in this case). From the time you leave HEDEG, you will be at 4000 and speed about 210. Now you are flying to the IAF ANVAL at 4000, during which time you should be getting the gear down and slowed to the correct speed for 15 flaps. ANVAL is 10.6 DME from the localizer, so you are close to 9 nm from the runway. Intercept the glideslope at ANVAL and get everything in landing configuration before you get to the FAF DEPOT, where you are 5.5 nm from runway and decending through 2800. Speed control is just as important as attitude on an approach. Learn to fly a stabilize approach where nothing changes (configuration or speed) on the final 1,000 ft of descent.


Dan Downs KCRP

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Guest wvushark

Thank you both, I am familiar with flight aware, and the approach charts, although I admit they are a bit to digest. However, after looking at them for a period of time I am beginning to understand. I will check to see if FS Navigator programs these specific routes into the flight plan, along with all the altitude restrictions on the chart. I have also noticed that in FS Navigator that the descent path does not match that calculated in the FMC, when I load the route. This leads me to believe that I may need to manual adjust a few things in the FMC to better allow speed control on the approach. I too find myself canceling IFR clearance on approach, and I am very curious if the Radar Contact option will add more realism to the simulator. It would be nice to fly the whole route, STAR, and land with ATC guidance.....is that possible with RC?

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WARNING - LONG REPLY!RE: Radar Contact, you'll never fly default ATC again!!!It will handle you realistically and competently from Start to Finish. The only area it's a bit vague in is the ground handling, it won't give specific taxi routing to the active runway, though for most that is a good thing as they would get lost pretty quickly unless they knew the taxyway layout fully. Nor will it provide specific instructions to taxi in after landing. That's a minor issue though and in spite of it, RC4 is seriously brilliant.-------------------------------------------------RE: Your handling of the approach phase. I get the impression you are staying in LNAV/VNAV for the whole approach, is that correct? Technically you should be arming the LOC and APP modes as you approach the ILS so that the aircraft then flies down the approach course accurately, also you should be taking more control of the speed of the aircraft, which VNAV doesn't do very well on its own (most likely you'll still be doing 170kts on final!).If you want to stay in LNAV/VNAV, at the very least you should use Speed Intervention, click on the speed control knob on the MCP and the aircraft will stay in LNAV/VNAV but will hand control of the speed to you.---------------------------------------------------General speed guidelines follow... (this is REALLY rough and ready, there is more finesse to it than this but it does fine for practice, as you get more competent you can re-evaluate your own technique)After takeoff, VNAV will handle the speed perfectly well until you are in the descent.As you descend through about 13,000ft (FL130) you will want to start thinking about slowing down to comply with the 10,000 foot maximum of 250kts. I normally go to 270-280 knots in SPD INT at FL130 then 250knots at FL110/11,000ft. This way the FMC doesn't wait until just before 10,000ft and then fly level while the speed bleeds off. It's smoother for the 'passengers' and keeps you on the VNAV descent profile.As you pass through 7,000 feet the time has come to slow down a bit more, I'd aim to slow down until you're about 10 knots above the first flap speed (it will be shown on the speed indicator on the PFD, about 210-230 kts?) Passing 5,000 drop it below the indicated flap speed and lower flaps as appropriate.Once you are beginning your final manoevure onto the approach (normally a few miles before you are intercepting the approach) get your speed down to 180kts and lower the flaps as appropriate. Once you are nearing the approach path press LOCLOC will eventually go from armed to active (will appear as green on your PFD). As you turn onto final go to 160kts, lower the required flaps. Gear down. Press APP. Hopefully you are below the glideslope at this point!As APP goes from armed to Active the aircraft will start to fly the approach. LNAV and VNAV are out the window now. Reduce speed to the approach speed you set in the FMC (INIT REF page if you need reminding) and lower the flaps as you slow through the speeds shown on the PFD.Hopefully at 1,500 feet you'll be at approach spped with the required flaps extended and the aircraft flying down the approach path. At your leisure, disconnect the autopilot and hand fly to touchdown.Good luck!


Mark Adeane - NZWN
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Guest wvushark

Mark, Actually yes I am using the LOC and APP modes. However, and as you addressed, my issues are with getting to this point accurately, and "safely" for what its worth. Often, holding VNAV and LNAV down to this point I have to use speed brakes to slow down. I know this is not correct. I am going to try another flight this evening, and make sure that the approach path is very well defined, as are most of the STAR routes entering KATL. I think better planning, and therefore simpiler execution, will help me a lot. I will repost when Im finished. As for Radar Contact, it sounds like the answer. I will probably buy it over the weekend and install it sometime next week. I look forward to the learning curve, and if its has anywhere near the impact that the PDMG software has had on my simulator experience, it should be great.Thanks again,Raymond

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Raymond-Just wanted to jump into the conversation and tell you that I'm thrilled to see you taking the time/enjoyment to learn more about what is going on...Also wanted to encourage you a bit- because your knowledge level is well ahead of where you think it is... I can tell by reading your observations of your energy state. Bravo! ;-)Flying in and out of KIAD for many years- there is a similar approach vectoring that goes on. If coming from the north, and andling on "The Ones" (1L/1R) we would fly one of a couple of transitions that would take us down the eastern side of the airport- about 10 miles easy of the 1R/19L. (Incidentally the ROBRT Transition... So i'm not sure why all those other guys were always using it!)When we hit the last fix on the transition- the instructions were to maintain heading/altitude until vectored to final. Sometimes ATC would pull you off the transition early and stuff you down into the ILS (always easy on VMC days- but in the spring we'd always get 40knots winds from the east, making the turn quite interesting in IMC...)Sometimes however- like around 3PM when all the international/transcons and the requisite feeder aircraft show up- ATC would continue down until you were about to go feet wet on the potomac river- THEN turn your north over the FBI academy and back in.... 20 mile final..... So it can vary quite a bit even in the real world.... And it's not uncommon for controllers to push you right up to the edge of your energy limits- because the expectation is that at this level- you should be able to handle it without any problems...The important thing is that controllers always have a plan- and if you can't meet their expectations- you have to say so- and say so early... Then they'll help you out. :-)So much for a short answer....LOL...


Robert S. Randazzo coolcap.gif

PLEASE NOTE THAT PMDG HAS DEPARTED AVSIM

You can find us at:  http://forum.pmdg.com

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Hi RaymondLike you i am beginning to study and learn more about real world procedures and i am starting to dig out charts and studying them. I can tell you when i first purchased the 737NG i thought i would never need to use charts ,as in my head, they were always complicated to me, sure i have LNAV and VNAV what else do i need to know :)I have to say as an avid fan of the 747 i still go back to the 737 and she isnt that easy to closely control even more so if you have speed and height restrictions. Hence this is where the fun of learning and understanding what really goes on comes into play. I read a lot of posts from real life pilots namely Mr Randazzo and Jon_b as i find their insight extremely valuable and their advice and tips have helped me get so much more out of my PMDG products. As another poster commented i now look at FS as a simulation rather than a game. Pre flight planning in the past consisted of loading my fuel and away i go! now im checking charts, weather, going through checklists, consulting ATC. Anyways enough about that :)Let us know how you get on in this approach and post your findings!


Paul McMahon

Ireland

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Guest wvushark

Hello All, Well first let me say thanks for the encouragment. I sat down last night and only had a brief amount of time. I went through the FS Navigator flight planning procedures for KMSY to KATL, intending on using the HONIE2 arrival mentioned above. After I got the default HONIE2 loaded and compared the altitude and speed restrictions with that of the HONIE2 chart found on flightaware, it was indeed off. The altitude restritions were high all the way in, and thus when I flew the route previously I always felt like I was playing catch up. Unfortunately, I didnt have time to make the flight, and now today I have to fly to Boston for a small trip. I will be back home on Sunday, and hopefully I can try out the modified route then. On a related note, I completely agree with the simulator and not a game comment. As an engineer I am fascinated by how planes are put together and how they operate. I can pass most of the flight just trying to figure out whats going on around me, and what is the crew preparing to do at that particular moment. It's even more amazing how far the simulator add ons have come. Im really excited to learn more, learn better ATC procedures, and #### maybe another leap with FSX??Anyway, thanks to you all, and Ill post again on Sunday.Raymond

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You found the same thing I found in the HONIE2 STAR, and many others. The SIDSTARS files are an excellent product but the data that Terry Yingling has to work with is not the same as used by Jeppson/Garmon/Collins etc. It is the only public source but it is heavily influenced by it's owner (DoD I think). As a result, I have learned how to edit the SIDSTARS files using the tutorial by Terry. Most of the edit is simply adjusting or adding a constraint.In cases where a fix has a constraint based on which way traffic is going (i.e., landing East or West), the SIDSTARS are certain to omit either constraints or entire legs due to a limitation in the language to provide runway-based routing. HONIE2 is in this category.The easiest solution is to compare the route using the Legs page with current charts and make the necessary adjustments. When flying real world, I always verify my loaded plan before using it so this is seems natural to me.However, I've got some kind of quark in my personality and I've started producing updated SIDSTARS. I've just finished by first complete revision for KPHL and posted in the AVSIM FS2004 Flight Plans library. I've also done a lot of work, but incomplete, for KLAX, KLAS, KSJC and KHOU and am thinking about doing more uploads to the library. Any encouragement from others will certainly provide motivation.


Dan Downs KCRP

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Guest Senior Captain

I would just like to add my 2 cents as well. I have always loved aircraft. So I bought my first flight sim and it was a game. However this radically changed when I soon discovered certain addons (PMDG) and Vatsim. This is a Sim and as real as it gets for most. I agree with the above for the Sids and Stars. They are a great starting point. Since I like my flights as real as it gets. I now enjoy my flight planning almost as much as my flying. I find the Sids to be closer to correct. As for the stars when reviewing my flight plan, I always check my arrival airports charts. Almost always I have to make changes in the FMC for Alt and always for speed. In doing so Im always ready for Vatsim ATC and if they are not on then im ready for a well excuted landing on my own. I must also say that if it werent for people like Mr Randazzo, PMDG team and many others. This would just be a game. Raymond I hope all your landings go well with all the great advice you have got from the previous posters.Cheers

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Guest D17S

You bet. Please continue. There are whole different worlds of aviation to explore out there. The world of RW procedures is one of the most interesting. (But on the just for fun side, think you can get us 'around the corner' at VHHX?)

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I tried that one, lets just say I went pretty wide on the corner, a lot of residents on the hill side got their washing blow dried!It's doable, but tricky. The more waypoints you can incorporate the better. Bear in mind it's still a more or less visual approach and really lends itself to hand flying. :)


Mark Adeane - NZWN
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