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Patco Lch

flying a STAR in rw

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I was wondering how often a pilot is able to fly a complete star into a major hub with out being taken off by ATC vectors and altitude changes. Often or rare to never? If ATC is going start you down at their convience is there much use putting in wind data and going to such pain to calulate an accurate TOD? Would not the 3 to 1 rule work fine for a rough estimate for TOD? Maybe I am using default ATC to much. Also would a pilot be assigned his star by center or after being handed to approach?

Vic green

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If you watch one of these Just Flight videos of real flights you'll see that the Airline, such as AA, will contact the control tower and find out the arrival runway and then send an updated flightplan to the FMC. This happens with aircraft from foreign countries too such as Air France. They know the Star and landing runway far in advance, especially the heavies.  Gives pilot/co-pilot time to look at charts and talk to the Just Flight reps videotaping the flight.


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In Australia (sorry, I'm from Australia so most things I know are based here) Airliners will usually get assigned their arrival STAR and Runway by a Centre position (sometimes called "arrivals" by ATC management, but addressed "Centre" by the aircraft on frequency).


This will usually happen prior to descent. The STAR profiles will usually have a descent profile as defined by a "Cross PLACE at FLxxx or below/above". If air traffic volumes allow, and there are no conflicts with other traffic, the aircraft will be told "When ready, descend to FL2x0" (Usually FL210 at Sydney, FL240 at Brisbane, other places have other standard descents). This means the pilot will descend when they are ready from their current altitude to the given clearance.


In all practicality this means when the FMC initiates VNAV descent at the FMC calculated "TOD".


At some point around FL250 they get handed from the high sectors to the lower sectors, still "Centre"


The lower Centre position will then descend the aircraft to the MVA (around 10,000ft/9000ft at most Australian class C airports). The MCP altitude is reduced to that new altitude, and usually VNAV is left in command.


as they enter the Approach controller airspace, they will be handed off. Before this happens one of the pilots should have the full ATIS and on the transfer, the pilot will state receipt of the ATIS designator ie "Melbourne Approach, Qantas 262 descending 9000ft with Mike"


Due to the fact that Melbourne Centre and Melbourne Approach can talk to each other, they already know that QFA262 is on the (lets say) LIZZI7A arrival to runway 16. There is in fact a legal requirement for controllers to co-ordinate their handover so that the Approach position knows what is coming and what it was last instructed to do, and what they expect to do (ie land on Runway 16 with the LIZZI7A arrival).



In the case of the LIZZI7A arrival, it will actually feed straight into the ILS Rwy16 initial approach, so if there is no traffic requirements, Approach could literally just step QFA262 down the altitudes minima. "QFA262, descend 6000ft, QNH 1014, Runway 16"


later "QFA262, descend 4000ft"


then "QFA262, Descend 3000ft, from Bolinda, cleared for the ILS approach runway 16"


Not a vector in sight. The FMC in LNAV/VNAV will deliver the aircraft right to the ILS centreline, and assuming the forecast winds have been entered and are correct, (remember, forecast even in the real world doesn't equal perfect exact match) the FMC instructed VNAV will probably even be at the right altitude too.


A single press of the "APP" Button on the MCP at or approaching the Bolinda NDB will cause the ILS to become active when intercepted.


On the other hand, at Sydney, all of the arrival routes, (for instance RIVET9 arrival)

will 'end' about 10nm from the SY VOR, with the instruction to Expect vectors.

Now there is a crossing restriction to cross one waypoint at or below 9000ft, and above another one above 6000ft (this is because departures climb to 5000ft).

After meeting the crossing restrictions (FMC in VNAV with forecast winds to the rescue again) the aircraft will be on a heading, direct to Sydney VOR, at which point, in real world, the Approach controller will issue a vector, and maybe further descent instructions. They would usually issue a heading that takes the aircraft on a downwind of the runway, then on a base and eventually intercept angle to the ILS, at either 4000ft or 3000ft depending on runway/traffic.


Obviously the "Radar Vectors" portion of the arrival cannot be done in VNAV/LNAV, but the part up to the "pass BOOGI at or above 6000ft" bit can be. In this case you would leave the aircraft in VNAV/LNAV till the Approach controller told the aircraft to do something like "Turn Left heading 150, descend 4000ft".


Default ATC from FSX can't do these intelligent things. It will just randomly start to zig zag you around and put you on a 200nm final, instead of something sane, like 15 miles.


I use VATSIM (although due to the fact that they are real, unpaid people doing ATC, you are limited when and where you can fly with ATC)


Sydney to Melbourne (LIZZI7A)



Melbourne to Sydney (RIVET9 & Vectors)

Trent Hopkinson, 2015 Crewmember of www.mangrove.com.au WorldFlight sim

          Youtube channel www.youtube.com/user/musicalaviator

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I was wondering how often a pilot is able to fly a complete star into a major hub with out being taken off by ATC vectors and altitude changes.


 From what and where I've seen (CYVR, not exactly a major), most don't want to fly the complete RNAV STAR on their own. Flying out to an often unnecessary 14nm final when 6-9 (or less!) will suffice.

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