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Jimmy Helton

Newbie SID/STARS/Flight Plan Questions

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My goal is to understand published routes a little better, but I need some help.


Can anyone get the following route to work in their FMC using the 1507 AIRAC cycle?  The route was found on flightaware from KBNA to KMEM:




Now, what part of the above route refers to a SID or STAR and what part is a waypoint? DANLS3.SPKER is a published SID for BNA.  BLUZZ1 one is a published STAR or MEM.


When I try to use this route, basically I have to enter the BNA runway without a SID and go straight into the BNA.BLUZZ1 transition/STAR to avoid a discontinuity in the route. If I try to add a SID or any waypoints like SPKER, it doesn't work. 


I am new to this, but I want to be able to read a published route and enter it exactly as it is into my FMC.


I am using the captainsim 757 with the 1507 AIRAC cycle.

Jimmy Helton

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Hi there,


You are correct in identifying DANLS3 as the SID and BLUZZ1 as the STAR.


In the USA (not so much elsewhere) SIDs and STARs can have up to three seperate components:



1) Initial climb

2) SID common portion

3) Transition



1) Transition

2) STAR common portion


The initial climb on the SID is not (as far as I know) usually notated in the flight plan but if there are initial climb procedures published (for example, the various climbs out of JFK: Canarsie, Breezy Point etc) would be issued to you by ATC with your clearance.


The SID common portion is the part of the SID which all aircraft will follow, regardless of the initial climb they have been issued or the transition they are using to access the airways system. This is the "named" part of the SID on the flight plan (and on the chart): DANLS3.


At the end of the common portion of the SID, there will then usually be a series of "transition" waypoints which aircraft can choose depending on the direction they want to head off in. This is normally shown in the flight plan or on the charts after the name of the SID and a decimal point: DANLS3.SPKER (SPKER is the transition).


Over the RTF, this would be spoken as "DANLS three departure, SPKER transition."


The same works in reverse for STARs: so aircraft may arrive from a number of different directions following individual (published) transitions to merge in to a common STAR portion. In this case BNA is the transition and BLUZZ1 is the STAR.


However, you don't have to file a transition. If you look at the BLUZZ1 STAR chart, you'll notice that the BLUZZ1 STAR starts at BLUZZ. There are transitions to BLUZZ from BNA, BWG, PXV and SPKER.


As your SID has already taken you to SPKER, you would need to select the SPKER transition for the BLUZZ1 STAR (SPKER.BLUZZ1). This then joins your route up neatly: selecting the BNA transition would take you all the way back to the BNA VOR on the field at KBNA, which is why you're having problems.


A discontinuity, incidentally, is not necessarily a bad thing, nor does it necessarily mean you're doing something wrong: discontinuities appear in the FMC for all sorts of reasons, most of them valid (most commonly due to a clearance limit on a procedure: by physically breaking the route, the box is telling you that you need to get further clearance from ATC before you can proceed beyond that point and if you forget, you should notice because the box will stop navigating you in LNAV and drop back to HDG SEL). Not to say that you can't close a discontinuity if you're sure it makes sense to do so, just that they're not necessarily something to be scared of.


Hope that helps.

Simon Kelsey



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