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Randh

Most Realistic Approach Settings

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Hey, guys,I've got a quick question regarding approaching an airport. There are really two methods I generally use, one is to simply default to the vectors and have controllers tell me where to go. This is always predictable, using simple downwind to base to final, without many deviations. In aircraft that have an advanced enough FMS, I'll use the computer to insert waypoints retrieved from the database of published approaches and let the autopilot vector me in, and request a full ILS approach instead of the vectors.What do real pilots do? Are vectors generally only used at airports that don't have published approach plates or in cases where weather or other obstacles may preclude pilots from using a published approach? Or do the controllers, under normal circumstances, simply ask pilots to use a certain published approach and only vector them if necessary, such as if the pilot meanders off course or has a navigation issue?


Randall Huck

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Our ATC controllers on our beta team tell us both options are used. It is determined on a location by location basis. If you have the IFR plates there are notes on the STAR map or description page telling what to expect. Some STARS stop at a point about 30 miles out stating "expect vectors to . . .". Others may take you to the IAF (initial approach fix) of an instrument approach. If traffic is heavy or weather is a factor even with full published approaches ATC may decide to vector you off a STAR at some point to get you lined up using horizontal and vertical separation from other traffic.As more jurisdictions use RNAV approaches which take you further in policies appear to be changing. Advances in ATC monitoring also will allow less controller directions but they must be ready to immediately take over due to traffic complications.The airline industry would like Constant Descent Approaches where basically an aircraft can descend at idle thrust from top of descent all the way down to the airport pattern for fuel savings. Many controllers see this as an added complication because in heavy areas it does not give them the freedom of vertical separation not just for arrival traffic but from departing traffic. ATC controllers keep "snapshots" of movements in their heads because even if the approach is mapped all the way to final any ATC equipment problems or wayward aircraft movement may require them to immediately depart from published criteria. At that time FMC type aircraft go to manual control, that is the FMC directed flight becomes uncoupled from the flight control system (AP) and pilots use MCP control or manual flight control to realize commands from ATC. The FMC display (CDU) may still provide some advisory information regarding aircraft performance.In some areas ATC also can not monitor aircraft through the full approach due to terrain (although that might be changing somewhat by using satellite position reporting) and the only choice is to allow aircraft to follow a published approach at the conclusion of a STAR.Regarding the STAR itself if traffic permits ATC may provide a vectored shortcut if terrain permits. This would be in the earlier sections of a STAR that starts a long distance from destination.I'm not an active pilot ( I was a GA pilot) but in my enthusiasm follow the industry via real world airline publications.The handling of SIDs and STARs in the next version of RC (still many months away) will offer much more advanced options in handling them.

--------------------snip----------------------What do real pilots do? Are vectors generally only used at airports that don't have published approach plates or in cases where weather or other obstacles may preclude pilots from using a published approach? Or do the controllers, under normal circumstances, simply ask pilots to use a certain published approach and only vector them if necessary, such as if the pilot meanders off course or has a navigation issue?

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From what I read in ronzie's well thought out reply, then any approach (vectors, ILS, or any other published approaches) can be used at pilot's discretion?


Dan George (woodhick)
Check out Greenbrier Aero Club, the VA for and about the GA pilot.

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RandhIn UK nearly all the major airports use radar vectors to ILS approaches.As Ronzie implies the the traffic patterns using the published procedures would simply not be suitable for the numbers involved.In fact in Europe many flights are in effect radar vectored a lot of or even the whole way with "fly heading xxx"or "proceed direct to xxxxx fix".Round here where I live(EGCC)even the SIDs are frequently dispensed with after the first few fixes.

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Regarding RC4 itself you get your approach options after acknowledging the first vector and runway assignment by requesting an IAP. That's your only arrival option in RC4 to deviate from vectors. This happens a bit less than 40 nm out. The entire STAR waypoints should be part of the plan sent to RC so the early parts are monitored. You can use NOTAMS specifying that preflight in the RC controller page. That means that during approach you will be told that the pilot takes on all responsibility for altitude based terrain avoidance and RC altitudes become advisory and can deviate from them if you wish. NOTAMS does not take effect until after your crossing restriction which is still part of Center control.

From what I read in ronzie's well thought out reply, then any approach (vectors, ILS, or any other published approaches) can be used at pilot's discretion?

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We have two UK controllers at least on our beta team and they provide very good advice for that area.Similarly in the U.S. in congested areas such as the Northeast Corridor where enroute legs are fairly short and there is heavy congestion all around, the FAA has established "preferred routes". Many of these pass from TRACON to TRACON (think local control) never contacting Center for the entire flight. They do have to file a "normal" plan with terminal procedures and waypoints. KBOS to KJFK is typical where SID meets STAR because of the short distance. This particular route does go through BOS center ATC though for a short distance. In order to keep these aircraft out of the way of those on longer routes they fly at pretty low altitudes all the such as from FL240 to 16,000 feet typical.KBOS BOS LUCOS SEY067 SEY PARCH KJFKName Type Latitude LongitudeKBOS Origin Airport 42.3629722 -71.0064167BOS VOR-DME (NAVAID) 42.3575000 -70.9894444LUCOS Reporting Point 41.6381278 -70.7682194SEY VOR-DME (NAVAID) 41.1675000 -71.5761111PARCH Reporting Point 41.0992278 -72.1207389KJFK Destination Airport 40.6397511 -73.7789256was flown at FL220 at the highest.Another airline used an A320 flying max at 16,000 feet!There is no indication of all vectors here, though.Here's an online database of FAA preferred routes:http://www.fly.faa.gov/rmt/d_prefroutes.jspOmit the K for FAA airports.

RandhIn UK nearly all the major airports use radar vectors to ILS approaches.As Ronzie implies the the traffic patterns using the published procedures would simply not be suitable for the numbers involved.In fact in Europe many flights are in effect radar vectored a lot of or even the whole way with "fly heading xxx"or "proceed direct to xxxxx fix".Round here where I live(EGCC)even the SIDs are frequently dispensed with after the first few fixes.

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Hello all.Sorry to drag this up again but I'm curious (don't fly in the RW) about how one makes the choice of SID. I posted a question in a FS9 thread but the topic of discussion moved off in another direction so I thought I'd try here.I'm quite comfortable flying SIDs with RC4 (looking forward to v5 & the added complexity) but am never sure that I'm doing things as realistically as possible so...Is the choice of SID something that's decided by a controller or is it made by the pilot as part of a flight plan? (I know in FS the choice is mine anyway up to my first waypoint).Or is that a really stoopid question... is there in reality only one SID for each runway/airway combination and you pick an airway for your flightplan, are given a runway and then just fly the appropriate SID?Thanks for a superb product,Dave

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Hello all.Sorry to drag this up again but I'm curious (don't fly in the RW) about how one makes the choice of SID. I posted a question in a FS9 thread but the topic of discussion moved off in another direction so I thought I'd try here.I'm quite comfortable flying SIDs with RC4 (looking forward to v5 & the added complexity) but am never sure that I'm doing things as realistically as possible so...Is the choice of SID something that's decided by a controller or is it made by the pilot as part of a flight plan? (I know in FS the choice is mine anyway up to my first waypoint).Or is that a really stoopid question... is there in reality only one SID for each runway/airway combination and you pick an airway for your flightplan, are given a runway and then just fly the appropriate SID?Thanks for a superb product,Dave
Hi Dave,The choice of SID to be used is dependant on several factors.Weather,Direction of your flight after departure,and in some cases type of aircraft which you are flying.The controller will advise you of the SID in use at any particular time.The ATIS broadcast will tell you in advance which runways are in use.Based on your charts together with any local notams for the day you as a pilot should be able to work out which is the SID which will be most appropriate for you to use.In most cases the contoller when he advises you of the departure SID will be confirming the SID already in the FMC,however if some mishap,or other happening has caused a change the FMC is reprogrammed as sonn as this information is available.That is a very brief synopsis .RegardsNorman Bowman.PS Some airlines have SID programmed into the Co Routes downloaded to the FMC.

Norman Bowman

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I cannot add anything useful to Norman's very succinct reply to you David but if you get into the FAA(for the USA)or NATS(for UK)websites you will get a list and charts of all the current SIDs and their full procedures,fixes etc.STARS and other procedures too.Try http://www.naco.faa.gov/index.asp?xml=naco/online/d_tpp for the USand http://www.nats-uk.ead-it.com/public/index...p;Itemid=2.htmlfor UKThere are other sites for many other countries.

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Remember one thing though: when choosing a SID based on runway in use (especially if you use third party weather programs such as Active Sky) RC's ATIS report of atctive takeoff runway is sometimes not the actual FS runway in use (the one AI traffic will use).So if you use FSX, to keep things more realistic you should use traffic viewer to watch AI info on departures and arrivals and base on that your dep runway. The SID will come with that.The program is included in the SDKHope it will help


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If you are using ASE with DWC on you'll force the global weather mode for FSX. This results in unstable destination AI and weather behavior and most likely cause RC approach to assign the incorrect runway. See the pinned topic at the forum head.

Remember one thing though: when choosing a SID based on runway in use (especially if you use third party weather programs such as Active Sky) RC's ATIS report of atctive takeoff runway is sometimes not the actual FS runway in use (the one AI traffic will use).So if you use FSX, to keep things more realistic you should use traffic viewer to watch AI info on departures and arrivals and base on that your dep runway. The SID will come with that.The program is included in the SDKHope it will help

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