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luckyb52

Flight Planning: Strive for Airways?

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  :smile: Hi All,

 

When creating a flight plan (excluding sids and stars), should one always attempt to get onto the nearest airways, or doesn't that matter?

 

Thanks in advance for your advice!

 

Best,

 

Lucky :smile:

 

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Like a lot of things in aviation, it depends on the situation, and some real life benefits don't effect us in the sim. If you have a nav system that accepts airways, it's easier to enter an airway than the entire set of waypoints along the way. That's the ease of use argument. Other times there may be terrain or busy airspace boundaries that the airway conveniently routes around, in which case it's a safer alternative than plotting your own course. Because traffic is routed in an orderly manner, you also have the benefit of adopting a prescribed system for traffic management and easier for atc to handle. Other times the traffic issue might be a bigger hindrance than a benefit, such as if you are in a VLJ that can easily climb to a jet airway, but because of its relatively slower speed compared to commercial jet traffic would be constantly in the way of big airliners. Generally, I would only use airways if they offer an efficient route to your destination. If you find yourself going out of the way to accommodate an airway, just fly the waypoints. Airlines seem to use airways only when they fall along an efficient route. If not, they'll just rely on individual waypoints. Hope that helps.

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Ethan's answer is spot on.  Nothing really directly relevant to add .

 

Great answer Ethan.

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If you are using something like the GTN750 to create your flight plans, another advantage of entering airways where possible is that it can save you the trouble of entering multiple separate waypoints.

 

Bill

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With modern navigation systems using GNSS, point to point is usualy far more efficient. If you need to tune the VOR's and such, then you should probably use airways, as they guarantee obstacle clearance and navaid reception. When flying the King Air, we are usually below the airline traffic so we have the benefit of getting shortcuts such as direct to destination and not have to worry about airways. The busier airline flight levels tend to stick closer to the airways to ease the controllers help with traffic flow. Also in real life, if they don't like the route you have filed, they will change it, unlike in the sim world.

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Ethan's answer is spot on.  Nothing really directly relevant to add .

 

Great answer Ethan.

Thank you, Dave. Always considered you one of the most helpful and informative avsim members, so that's especially nice to hear from you.

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Thank you, Dave. Always considered you one of the most helpful and informative avsim members, so that's especially nice to hear from you.

 

I think the same as Dave, excellent reply Ethan!

 

I usually fly in Europe, here almost EVERY IFR flight plan for "big jets" contains airways only, from the point the SID leaves you to the waypoint where the STAR begins.

 

In USA, flying DIRECT from waypoint to waypoint, and a hybrid of DCT/Airway seems to be much more common than in Europe. I don't really know the reason behind it. Maybe that's because in the US they are more liberal about aviation generally speaking, they will also let 747s do visual approaches all the time, something somewhat rarer in Europe.

 

In other parts of the world, with less airway density they will have to create the routes themselves, maybe even flying random.

 

Bottom line: Airways are a HELP to the pilots. You're not forced to use them, but if they're there, it's for a reason. Terrain clearance, NavAid reception, Traffic flow organization etc. (Ethan's post)

 

I recently saw a MayDay documentary film on the Varig 254 accident. Apparently they got lost right after take-off because they flew a heading of 270 instead of 027 as they should have. Now how these people navigated is a mistery to me. My guess is that they intended to take-off, head in the direction to their destination and fly "blindly" until they received the VOR station of the destination. Or did they fly a 270 radial outbound from the departure airport? I just don't get it really...

 

 

When flying the King Air, we are usually below the airline traffic so we have the benefit of getting shortcuts such as direct to destination and not have to worry about airways

 

I guess the same happens when you fly a biz-jet at FL450, above all the airliner traffic. They can pretty much fly direct anywhere they want. Some ACCs won't even control them above a certain FL.

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Thank you, Dave. Always considered you one of the most helpful and informative avsim members, so that's especially nice to hear from you.

 

 

That is most kind of you Ethan, thank you very much!

 

 

Best Wishes and Happy Flights!

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