787WannabePilot

How soon are STARs assigned?

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I have been using flightaware's website for various trips across the country. I just realized that the routes posted already have the STARs labeled for arrival. Is this common? I thought STARs tend not to be assigned until you're enroute.

For example;

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL1579/history/20170914/1651Z/KEWR/KMIA

BIGGY J75 CAE J51 SAV J103 OMN HILEY6  (The STAR)

and

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL1537/history/20170914/0114Z/KEWR/KMIA

 

ELVAE COL WHITE J209 SBY KEMPR DIW AR22 JORAY (The trans) HILEY6  (The STAR)

Any insight?

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As a civilian I always filed the STAR that I expected to use at my destination.  This is also true for my military and commercial flight plans.  If ATC were going to change my STAR it would normally be done by the last High Altitude sector prior to the start of the STAR.  

One thing I do is make sure the STAR and expected approach is in the FMC prior to departure.  

blaustern

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In the US it is common/expected that you will file a SID and STAR as part of the flight plan. However, just because you file it does not necessarily mean that you will be assigned/fly it!

In most of the rest of the world the first item in the flight plan would be the last point of the SID and the last item in the flight plan would be the first point of the STAR (no SID or STAR identifiers). Often there will be more than one STAR originating at the same point and the one you will be assigned may depend on the runway in use and/or other considerations (e.g. traffic flow/ATC requirements etc).

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1 hour ago, 787WannabePilot said:

I have been using flightaware's website for various trips across the country. I just realized that the routes posted already have the STARs labeled for arrival. Is this common? I thought STARs tend not to be assigned until you're enroute.

For example;

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL1579/history/20170914/1651Z/KEWR/KMIA

BIGGY J75 CAE J51 SAV J103 OMN HILEY6  (The STAR)

and

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/UAL1537/history/20170914/0114Z/KEWR/KMIA

 

ELVAE COL WHITE J209 SBY KEMPR DIW AR22 JORAY (The trans) HILEY6  (The STAR)

Any insight?

Hi Robert,

As others have mentioned, in the U.S., pilots and dispatchers are encouraged to file SIDs and STARs for their route in their flight plan.  The U.S. has preferred IFR routes and Coded Departure Routes (CDRs), the later used primarily as alternate routes due to traffic saturation or  weather.  The city pair routes for both preferred IFR and CDRs can be found on FAA's website:

http://www.fly.faa.gov/rmt/coded_departure_routes.jsp

RNAV equipped aircraft are expected to file RNAV SIDs and RNAV STARs.  

In the U.S., the ATC clearance will always include a SID if one is assigned by ATC, then generally the assigned routing or "as filed".  If a STAR was filed in the flight plan, then an "as filed" clearance include clearance for the lateral navigation of the STAR and any published speed restrictions.  In the U.S., ATC must assign an altitude change.  A clearance for a STAR does not include a clearance for any of the published altitudes. That is accomplished using the "Descend via <STAR name>" clearance. 

In the two examples above, you would navigate the route as assigned including the HILEY6 arrival, but ATC would have to issue the descent clearance either by a "descend and maintain <altitude>", which deletes the altitude restrictions on the STAR, or by a "descend via the HILEY six arrival".  The later means comply with all published restrictions on the STAR to the bottom altitude, or lowest published altitude restriction (not MEA or MOCA!) on the STAR. 

Hope this helps,

Rich Boll

 

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Thanks guys.

In the sim world then, where the ATC isn't really the ATC, is it better to assign yourself a STAR knowing you won't be deviating from it, or just do it in the air?

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You can do either but I'd get ProATC: an ATC addon that gives you an expected STAR which you can add to your flightplan if you want to but which actually assigns you the correct STAR at the appropriate time during the flight. Which is pretty realistic. That STAR may be the same one as the one you got before the flight but if weather changes you will get a different STAR. And all this without user input, so just as in real life. (Unlike some other ATC addons which require you to pick the STAR and everything else yourself.)

Besides, how do you know you won't be deviating from your self picked STAR? What if the weather changes? (Although of course things are being taken care off different in the US and Europe.)

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Hi Robert.

(EUROPE) - Generally speaking all SIDS and STARS are assigned prior to departure. For example if we turn up for a four sector day we will print all four OFP's before the first sector and the routing has already been filed with the required SID and STAR.

Usually you'll fly the filed SID/STAR unless there has been a change in runway direction but Radar can change your STAR at very short notice. (This happens at very busy airports)

I can only vouch for Europe but most airports with radar coverage will vector to you off the STAR approach the airport, it would be very unusual to fly a STAR all the way to the approach in use.

Good Luck!

 

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They ate usually always filed if the arrival airport has one thst corresponds with the direction of the inbound flight.

If the arrival changes from the filed arrival, the pilots are usually cleared for a new arrival by being cleared to a fix on the assigned arrival and then cleared to fly the new arrival. This can happen a good ways ouut depending on how far the arrival goes.

 

I.e. "proceed direct WATSN; cleared the WATSN 3 arrival."

 

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It is all very country/region specific. In Australia, a STAR can be flown right into the approach - I have done exactly that. We don't typically insert the SID/STAR into the flight notification. Inbound/outbound routes will funnel into the transitions where the procedures begin.

You will generally know what STAR/SID to expect - of course, things may change due to traffic conflicts, weather etc. Depends on the day.

 

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