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RestUnknown

Regarding sids and stars

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Hi allI know that Radar Contact is able to handle sids and stars, but I can't seem to get it too work.I make a flight plan using fs2004 itself, load it and then use a sid to takeoff via the active runway.My plane follows the route as it should, but the atc keeps assigning me an higher altitude and eventually gets mad after the third time he says it. (this occurs with a route where I have to fly at 6000 for quite a while before I can climb any further. I also tried via fscommander and load the sids and stars directly into the flight plan, this doesn't work either and don't want to use it like this as I find it unrealistic... Or do pilots know what the active runway will be in 5 hours at an airport a couple of thousand miles away?Am I doing something wrong?Thanks!

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Nope, you are not really doing anything wrong. what you have to bear in mind is that SIDs are ATC's way of 'getting all their ducks' in a row when aircraft are going off the runway, to essentially get them pointed at the airway they are intending to use, but the truth is that it is fairly rare for an aircraft to fly a SID all the way, because once ATC know you are en route and clear of other traffic, they will often get you off the SID and up to your climb, which airlines appreciate since it will be a more direct routing most of the time, so Radar Contact is in fact emulating the real world in this respect. Thus what you should do is fly the SID until ATC start getting you on your way with specific instructions, and then go with what they say, as that is what often happens in real life. As bizarre as it seems, pilots very often do know which runway will be in use hours in advance, but there are a few reasons why that is so. First, the winds in most places around the world are relatively predictable, which is why many runways are built on the headings they are, for example you will find that there are a lot of runways in the UK that are on magnetic headings in the 20s (i.e. 240, 270 etc, and between about 060 and 090 the other way). This is because the prevailing winds are usually coming off weather fronts coming in from the Atlantic, so the wind is usually westerly, over the UK, making building a 'runway 27' in the UK a smart thing to do. Where there are twin runways, i.e. at London Heathrow in the UK (09/27 left and right), their use is usually alternated at various times in order to give people a break who live in houses on the departure flight path, so one will be in use for a few hours, then the other one, and then back to the other. Thus an airline knows which runway will be most likely at their scheduled time of arrival for the weather that day, and they may even file flight plans which take that into account, since it could mean a shorter taxi to and from the active. But airliners also have SELCAL (selective calling, via a radio) and ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System). SELCAL lets out a chime in the cockpit when a message for that specific aircraft is coming in so the crew does not have to continuously monitor the radio frequency, which is what the SELCAL number is that you see on a little placard in the cockpit, that being the aircraft's unique SELCAL code (basically this is a bit like the aeroplane having a unique phone number). ACARS is essentially a more modern version of SELCAL which works via the FMC's CDU screen most often. Both SELCAL and ACARS mean crews can be told to expect stuff (such as runways in use) via their operations manager at the airport they are going to. You can in fact see an ACARS system portrayed being used (as it was in real life) in the movie 'United 93' about the aircraft the passengers tried to recapture from the terrorists on 9/11, where you see a message appear on the CDU warning crews about possible cockpit intrusions (which ATC directed airline operations centres to send to their aircraft), and you also see one of the pilots get a forwarded message from his wife asking if he is okay. You can have an ACARS system in your FS aeroplanes if you buy the add-on 'Flight Keeper', which will install one in any aeroplane you have for FS9 or FSX, and you can use that to find weather reports, runways in use and such in much the same way (basically you type in the ICAO code and it'll give you all that info). It will also let you send and receive messages to other Flight Keeper ACARS users, which is in fact what some virtual airlines do for added realism, since Flight Keeper's ACARS can emulate that capability by effectively being what is an email client in a pop up panel in FS, which is what the real ACARS is as well. Al

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