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Radar Contact: Straight In Approaches

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I'm having a little bit of trouble with straight in approaches and radar contact.  I usually take radar vectors to the runway.  When I fly the far side approaches or using downwind base and final, all is fine.  However the last few times when I was on a near side approach for example KOAK, after BUSHY intersection, Center handed me off to approach.  Approach then told me to expect vectors for runway 29.  Then they kept me on a heading of 300 and I flew right pass the airport without them turning me to intercept the localizer.  They also never got back to me.  Radar Contact is otherwise a very good program except for straight in approaches.  It seems that the program just won't vector you straight to the runway.  Maybe some of you can add your thoughts on this and maybe help me out with this.  I would like to take radar vectors for straight in approaches with no problems.  Thanks.

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I recommend you repeat the flight turning on debug before you load your plan and send it in per the pinned topic.

 

It seems this happens on fairly short flights where you go from departure quickly to approach. Was this the case?

 

Did your comms switch OK?

 

The window for a straight in pattern is +/-20 degrees I believe of the runway heading.

 

Use your navaids to line up without vectors and capture the localizer on your own. Look at your nav display, RMI, GPS and when you see the airport on the display or RMI heading for the navaid agree with the runway heading turn inbound. Use the published charts here  for altitude guidance to capture the glide slope of the ILS.:

http://flightaware.com/resources/airport/KOAK/procedures

RC should respond when you are on final.

 

On a straight-in the commands and checkpoints come pretty fast and by the time your aircraft and you react maybe RC gets lost. On approach you should be about 35 nm out so slow up and start your descent as necessary according to the STAR and approach charts. Use the NOTAMS option for arrival in RC to prevent controller nagging.

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I don't really do longer flights so I don't know what will happen.  Now with the approach part, I guess I could vector myself but that kind of defeats the point of having radar contact though.  Or does this happen happen in the real world on a straight in approach, where you basically vector yourself in?  Shouldn't radar contact handle all the headings and altitudes?  

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Yes, RC should. How long of a flight are you doing? I would guess about one hundred miles for a jet minimum would be appropriate. This would be 30nm departure, 30 nm enroute, and 40 nm approach zones in RC terms. With turbo-props I have not experienced such problems.

 

For best RC performance be sure Prerecorded Chatter and Display Text options are disabled.

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No such issues with 200 nm+ flights.

 

As Ron has stated, better to slow down wayyy below 250 kts at 40 nm out; otherwise chances are, you will not make the descent within the remaining distance.

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Hi Ronzi the problem isn't dececending fast enough, it's that radar contact won't line me up correctly for the ils.  They sent me in the wrong direction for the ils at koak. 


Oh and I usually do about 200 to 300 hundred mile flights.


I was doing the ils 29 at koak and they put me at 3000 feet on a heading of 300 degrees.  The heading they gave me was sending me north of the localizer.

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On downwind legs RC can give you vectors for a 30 degree intercept path to the ILS. This isn't possible for a straight-in approach as it would take you away from the flight path.

 

You will be very close to the runway heading at 40 miles out so watch the heading in the top line in RC and compare it to the runway heading. They won't be too different. When I've flown into Milan (LIMC) from the south the most difficult part is keeping your speed down so you can descend in plenty of time. 210kts at 40 miles out should be your target and everything will come together nicely.

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This used to happen to me and, ultimately, it was the reason I quit using RC.  It seemed like a good program other than that.

 

Gregg

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I have never once in nine years not been vectored correctly by RC.

That is literally thousands of flights in both FS9 and FSX and now I fully expect the same level of performance going forward in P3D.

That is pretty much amazing value for a piece of software

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I'll try what you said Ray.  I guess if Radar Contact doesn't vector me right, I'll activate the vectors to final on the GPS and then it will guide me to the FAF and then I can start my approach.  Even if Radar Contact says I'm off course I guess I'll just ignore until the controller hands me off to tower.  Thanks again.

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ap1. Depending on your flight plan it's likely the last waypoint is going to be reasonably well aligned with the runway heading.

 

If you can supply a plan that's causing you problems I can better advise. As I fly jets and mostly use ILS runways it helps because the ILS becomes active around 15-20 miles out and that helps with heading and altitude.

 

It's unlikely RC will tell you you're off course since by definition you're heading towards the airport.

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As I have understand it RC is not able to vectors for a straight-in. It will always try to turn you for base (90 degrees) and then final (30 degrees). If you approaching the field from the "straight-in direction" this normally have the result that you will be lined up for a very long final (25 miles not unusual). I have also noticed sometimes that when it tells you to turn final you have already passed the extended centerline and will never hit the localiser with the heading provided. On the other hand, it's not unusual for pilots to ask for a straight-in and then set up themselves for a 10 miles final so what I do is to request an IAP in this cases and just proceed direct for the final (I mostly fly the PMDG B737NGX so easy to set up a fix 10 miles out). 

 

Regards

Johnny

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The plan I'm using is CASTA3 GMN PXN3 and the star ends at SUNOL and says to expect radar vectors for most likely 29.  Radar Contact switches me to approach at about BUSHY and then they start to vector me.  The first heading they assign is 300.  And that heading takes me away from the localizer.  They then keep giving me altitudes to descend to but never clear me for the approach.

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ap1,

 

I'm struggling to find the waypoints you list for KOAK. The latest charts I've found here list Rwy 30, not 29. I'm wondering yours are out of date?

 

Without charts to refer to it makes any advice difficult.

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Yes, mine is outdated.  I'm using the default GPS with no updated waypoints.  However, if you take a look at the charts, the waypoints are very similar to the 29 approach in the FSX GPS.  The waypoint SUNOL exists in the default GPS.  So, I would just use the updated charts to guide me through this since it's pretty much the same thing.

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I've had another look at those charts and SUNOL is not the ideal waypoint for an approach to 30. You would need to turn left to 260 after passing it to pick up the localiser far enough out to make a decent approach.

 

Instead you should choose MISON for a straight-in approach. That may involve choosing an alternative STAR.

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I tested with SUNOL and a Heavy (MD-11) and RadarContact vectored me nicely.

 

A scenic approach, BTW, with the SFO cityscape in the background.

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Well, I guess I'll change the star or request the iap approach.  Thanks.

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Hi bob thanks for the link.  I took a look at it and gave me some more solutions.  Thanks.

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Somewhat off topic but, one other problem I've had is on a SID that has a manual part at the beginning and RC4 decides I've missed a fix so it tells me that I'm off course.  Is there a way to sync it up to where I actually am?  E.g. tell it that my next fix is ahead of me?

 

Gregg

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Do not include the waypoints in the SID in the flightplan you use for RC. The first fix should be where you leave the SID and joins your airway or direct route. Then RC will let you do whatever you want until you reach the first waypoint in your flightplan. If that waypoint is more then 30  miles out from your departure airport you have to tell RC in the Controllers tab when you set it up you are going to follow a DP (altitude or no altitude restrictions).

 

Regards

Johnny

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Do not include the waypoints in the SID in the flightplan you use for RC. The first fix should be where you leave the SID and joins your airway or direct route. Then RC will let you do whatever you want until you reach the first waypoint in your flightplan. If that waypoint is more then 30  miles out from your departure airport you have to tell RC in the Controllers tab when you set it up you are going to follow a DP (altitude or no altitude restrictions).

 

Regards

Johnny

Ok...I'll try that.

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Somewhat off topic but, one other problem I've had is on a SID that has a manual part at the beginning and RC4 decides I've missed a fix so it tells me that I'm off course.  Is there a way to sync it up to where I actually am?  E.g. tell it that my next fix is ahead of me?

 

Gregg

 

You're expected to pass within 1 mile of waypoints inside 30 miles. Those are deemed to form part of a SID. Perhaps you're flying too fast on turns to be able to pass close enough to them.

 

Can you describe how you're missing them? Flying style perhaps? Once beyond 30 miles you can request a Direct To on menu option 9. But before that you're expected to "fly what you file". :wink:

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You're expected to pass within 1 mile of waypoints inside 30 miles. Those are deemed to form part of a SID. Perhaps you're flying too fast on turns to be able to pass close enough to them.

 

Can you describe how you're missing them? Flying style perhaps? Once beyond 30 miles you can request a Direct To on menu option 9. But before that you're expected to "fly what you file".

That's informative.  I wish I could remember which it was.  It's very possible I wasn't within that tolerance.  I was fairly new to SIDs at that time.  I haven't reloaded RC4 on my new rig but I will give it a try when I get the chance.

 

Gregg

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