Christopher Low

Direct Flightplans

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Can someone let me know how I enter a flightplan into the FMC when the departure or arrival airfield does not have any SIDs or STARs in the database? What do I use as a waypoint? Do I just look for one that is close to the airfield? In addition, I would like to be able to "bypass" multiple departure waypoints, and fly direct to the destination airport STAR. Is that possible? If so, how do I enter this into the FMC?

Sorry for the n00b questions, but I have very little experience entering flightplans into the FMC. I have completed the PMDG 737NGX Tutorial #1 flight from EGKK London Gatwick to EHAM Amsterdam Schiphol twice (plus the initial test where I had somehow deleted Amsterdam airport; I was on final approach to a big green field :blush:), but the SIDs and STARs include multiple waypoints.

Any help greatly appreciated.

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It's pretty basic, but you do need to know the fixes that you want to go to. Not every airport has SIDS or STARS, so it's fairly common to set up something like you are asking.

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2 hours ago, Christopher Low said:

Can someone let me know how I enter a flightplan into the FMC when the departure or arrival airfield does not have any SIDs or STARs in the database? What do I use as a waypoint? Do I just look for one that is close to the airfield? In addition, I would like to be able to "bypass" multiple departure waypoints, and fly direct to the destination airport STAR. Is that possible? If so, how do I enter this into the FMC?

Sorry for the n00b questions, but I have very little experience entering flightplans into the FMC. I have completed the PMDG 737NGX Tutorial #1 flight from EGKK London Gatwick to EHAM Amsterdam Schiphol twice (plus the initial test where I had somehow deleted Amsterdam airport; I was on final approach to a big green field :blush:), but the SIDs and STARs include multiple waypoints.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Hi Chris, I see you took my advice over in the P3D forum and asked here.  Dave was spot on, you need to have a plan or a route. The direct method of doing this is to become familiar with aviation charts, such as SkyVector.com or Navigraph Charts for desktop or cloud.  You should have a flightplan before you even start a session in the NGX, complete with route and altitudes.  Route planning can be as simple as you want to make it, as i mentioned in the P3D forum you only need an origin, destination and one enroute waypoint.  Please ask if you have specific questions on how to use the FMC, I'll gladly point you to the appropriate reference in the FCOM.  It is all in there.  If you need help with the basics of flight planning then your best place to start as a student pilot is the FAA Airman Information Manual (AIM), which was my bible when learning to fly: https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/

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Normally a 737 would fly to an airport where there are approaches. You'd need to file your flightplan to a fix from where an approach to that airport can start. If there's a VOR on the field or nearby, there's probably an approach that uses that VOR to get you to a runway. Some large airports have STARs that serve many airports in that area.

Give us an example and we can let you know what to do.

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The first flight that I would like to try is EGPD Aberdeen to EGAA Belfast Aldergrove. I do not think that either of them have SIDs or STARs.

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1 hour ago, Christopher Low said:

The first flight that I would like to try is EGPD Aberdeen to EGAA Belfast Aldergrove. I do not think that either of them have SIDs or STARs.

Check out Flight Procedures for EGPD

http://www.ead.eurocontrol.int/eadbasic/pamslight-972E4F6C341681A186F0F520894959B6/7FE5QZZF3FXUS/EN/AIP/AD/EG_AD_2_EGPD_en_2017-09-14.pdf

That should get you pointed in the right direction and your transition to the enroute structure.

At EGAA, you could fly one of the approaches starting at BEL.

I'm not sure of preferred IFR routings in the UK, but I believe most people just look up common routes on Flightaware (?) for those city pairs.

 

 

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Christopher, if you have AivlaSoft's EFB like me, you can use it to (a) get you a flight plan, then(b) using EFB's Modify tab, select the SIDs and STARs you want and actually see a map layout of that before saving and exporting to a PMDG FMS or any other FMC. FlightSimCommander does the same too.

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I was curious to try this flight EGPD to EGAA as I have the UK2K scenery for both but have never done the pairing. Simbrief gave me a routing of GOW UP600 TRN P600 BLACA to which I transitioned to SULEV for the RNAV Rwy07 at EGAA. Pretty straight forward.

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It may be pretty straightforward to you, but I am completely new to this. How easy will it be for me to input this data into the 737 NGX FMC? It should be OK if that information is already in the database. If it is not, then I need to know how to add it!

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If you want to see an example of this look at the flight I flew yesterday, AAL 265. You can look up the route on FlightAware. There is no STAR to LIhue so they file us to MORKE which is on the approach. When we get back on radar near DENNS the controllers usually clear us direct NAPUA which is also on the approach. When we get close we typically get cleared to cross NAPUA at 3,000 feet and cleared for the approach to runway 35. 

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Might be helpful to understand how ATC plays a role sometimes -

Sometimes I'll file a route (vatsim) where the last waypoint on the route will be some fix (be it a VOR, or an intersection or whatever) that is some distance from the airport. If the area is controlled ATC will vector me towards an approach. If there is no ATC available, I will self vector to whatever approach I choose. You don't always have to have a route from wheels up to wheels down.

Also weather permitting you could request a visual approach in which its nearly a free for all to get it down.



Now - I admit I could be wrong, I don't know the ins and outs - maybe there's some IFR rule or something where what I've said above is false. If so please correct me.

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1 hour ago, Nick Dobda said:

Also weather permitting you could request a visual approach in which its nearly a free for all to get it down.

This needs a little explaining.  On an IFR flight plan, you can request a contact approach or you receive a visual approach.  As a student I remembered this because receive has a v in it as in visual. On requesting the contact approach, you are most likely familiar with area and are going to maintain visual flight rules and self navigate to the runway.  I believe most commercial carriers prohibit contact approaches and so you have to wait for ATC to offer the visual... and in most cases they want to give visuals because it helps tremendously to keep the flow going.  The alternative is to cancel IFR and complete your trip using visual flight rules but you loose out on ATC providing traffic separation so I doubt there are many cases where this is a good idea.

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8 minutes ago, downscc said:

This needs a little explaining.  On an IFR flight plan, you can request a contact approach or you receive a visual approach.  As a student I remembered this because receive has a v in it as in visual. On requesting the contact approach, you are most likely familiar with area and are going to maintain visual flight rules and self navigate to the runway.  I believe most commercial carriers prohibit contact approaches and so you have to wait for ATC to offer the visual... and in most cases they want to give visuals because it helps tremendously to keep the flow going.  The alternative is to cancel IFR and complete your trip using visual flight rules but you loose out on ATC providing traffic separation so I doubt there are many cases where this is a good idea.

Thank you for adding / clarifying. I am just a simmer so I realize I could be wrong on a lot of my understandings.

I wonder - Southwest must be in that minority of allowing contact approaches - seems they are always requesting visual - and its really noticeable if you happen to live under a published approach - Southwest planes are always cutting in from the side where most others are in line.

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1 minute ago, Nick Dobda said:

I wonder - Southwest must be in that minority of allowing contact approaches - seems they are always requesting visual - and its really noticeable if you happen to live under a published approach - Southwest planes are always cutting in from the side where most others are in line.

Could just be that they are coming from a different direction.  I don't think SWA uses contact approaches, it is more likely that ATC is handing out visual approaches, which is the norm.  On any day that it is VMC you can expect visuals even if you are on the same track as ILS because as long as you can maintain visual on the traffic around you ATC can space you closer together.

Where is the world are you Nick or what is the airport you are near?

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Careful...

Contact approaches are very, very rare. Do a quick search on the net and you'll find quite a few strong opinions about them. I don't think you're going to find many (if any) operators that will allow them.

Visual approaches can also be requested, though they're usually assigned, simply because it's easiest for the controller (and to some degree the pilot), but also because they're usually only assigned when the weather will allow for them. If one is assigned, there really isn't a more permissive option, so it's not like you're going to hear someone request something else. On the other side of that, when cleared for a visual, you can certainly follow the guidance of a more restrictive approach (like the cues from the ILS) to assist you in the visual approach, in most cases. Those two things in mind, you're not really going to hear people request things when assigned a visual, unless the crew thinks the weather is sketchy, where they might request the ILS or other available approach.

A few months ago, I was asked to advise the weather and approach request. After I was finally able to pick up the weather from the ASOS, I noticed it was severe clear, advised that I had the weather and requested the visual. There's no rule/advisory against that. Sounds like the instructor was simply trying to differentiate the contact approach (which ATC will not and cannot assign), and the visual approach (which is the option that ATC will and can assign; but you can also request).

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15 minutes ago, downscc said:

Could just be that they are coming from a different direction.  I don't think SWA uses contact approaches, it is more likely that ATC is handing out visual approaches, which is the norm.  On any day that it is VMC you can expect visuals even if you are on the same track as ILS because as long as you can maintain visual on the traffic around you ATC can space you closer together.

Where is the world are you Nick or what is the airport you are near?

My parents live under the 28L approach in KPIT (Pittsburgh) about 5 miles from the runway. Most traffic is lined up with the runway a few miles prior to flying overhead. Southwest planes come in lower, and are usually banking pretty good.

In fact it was my dad who noticed it - and he has no idea about any flight procedures. He just mentioned one day 'hey there's another Southwest plane, they're always coming in at odd directions compared to everyone else' 

Traffic isn't usually an issue in KPIT either.

 

In light of Kyle's post above, I should advise that my original post might be full of misinformation and apologize for that. I said that SWA might be requesting visual, they might have been assigned visual - its all speculative on my part.

In an effort to try and salvage some advancement of the original post, the point I was trying to make is that at an airport with no STAR approach, you can simply route to a point close to the airport and have ATC assign you the approach. In some cases where there is a VOR at the airport, you can route to the VOR, but realize you will have to break off that last leg at some point to set up for the final approach. This may also result in the necessity of learning how to control your descents and the various tools at your disposal if the approach you had planned changes along the way.

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4 minutes ago, Nick Dobda said:

My parents live under the 28L approach in KPIT (Pittsburgh) about 5 miles from the runway. Most traffic is lined up with the runway a few miles prior to flying overhead. Southwest planes come in lower, and are usually banking pretty good.

In fact it was my dad who noticed it - and he has no idea about any flight procedures. He just mentioned one day 'hey there's another Southwest plane, they're always coming in at odd directions compared to everyone else' 

Traffic isn't usually an issue in KPIT either.

I just took a look and it appears that you have wx today, the SWA flight from Nashville landed a few hours ago lined up for an East approach apparently on the ILS.  For your own amusement, start watching the tracks on Flightaware to test your hypothesis.

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11 minutes ago, downscc said:

I just took a look and it appears that you have wx today, the SWA flight from Nashville landed a few hours ago lined up for an East approach apparently on the ILS.  For your own amusement, start watching the tracks on Flightaware to test your hypothesis.

I immediately went to flightaware to look at tracks, and as you noted they are landing east so all the tracks I have access to show me nothing. I will keep an eye out though, I'll probably even listen on live atc when they are landing west again to hear what they are saying.

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3 hours ago, Nick Dobda said:

Might be helpful to understand how ATC plays a role sometimes -

Sometimes I'll file a route (vatsim) where the last waypoint on the route will be some fix (be it a VOR, or an intersection or whatever) that is some distance from the airport. If the area is controlled ATC will vector me towards an approach. If there is no ATC available, I will self vector to whatever approach I choose. You don't always have to have a route from wheels up to wheels down.

Also weather permitting you could request a visual approach in which its nearly a free for all to get it down.



Now - I admit I could be wrong, I don't know the ins and outs - maybe there's some IFR rule or something where what I've said above is false. If so please correct me.

I think you do need a route from wheels up to wheels down. You need to be filed to something from where an approach can start. You can’t rely on vectors in case of lost comms. 

 

You may or may not end up on your filed flight plan. 

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I think I need a tutorial to guide me through the flightplan setup process itself (so that I know what everything means), including what flight planner to use. Just saying "you need to create a flightplan" will not get me very far. Is Plan G capable of creating flightplans with SIDs and STARs? I have that installed, but I am not really sure where to start....

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Just now, Christopher Low said:

I think I need a tutorial to guide me through the flightplan setup process itself (so that I know what everything means), including what flight planner to use. Just saying "you need to create a flightplan" will not get me very far. Is Plan G capable of creating flightplans with SIDs and STARs? I have that installed, but I am not really sure where to start....

Please download the AIM that I provided a link for you to earlier. Flight planning is just one of the multitude of topics covered. 

The place to start is to pick a origin and destination. You can use automated route planners but you won't learn much... best if you just jump in and start planning.  Sign up with Eurocontrol and get real aviation charts from them, it's free and in your case probably paid for by your taxes. Take advantage of books and manuals, assuming you don't have anything that makes hard difficult.  Do lots of reading then try it and ask questions if you have problems. 

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 Exactly as been said to so many others over the years when they get into the NGX, RTFM (at least get your head in it to start figuring it out). The Tutorial that comes with the aircraft is also a huge help. Add on to that there are many good video tutorials on YouTube.  I assumed by originally asking about direct routes and leaving out STARS  etc that you had already some experience or working knowledge with the aircraft. 

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16 hours ago, Spin737 said:

I think you do need a route from wheels up to wheels down. You need to be filed to something from where an approach can start. You can’t rely on vectors in case of lost comms. 

 

You may or may not end up on your filed flight plan. 

Excellent point, after some more research I have been routing wrong - nobody has ever called me on it. Interesting reading what to do in the event of lost communications under IFR conditions.

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16 hours ago, Christopher Low said:

I think I need a tutorial to guide me through the flightplan setup process itself (so that I know what everything means), including what flight planner to use. Just saying "you need to create a flightplan" will not get me very far. Is Plan G capable of creating flightplans with SIDs and STARs? I have that installed, but I am not really sure where to start....

I think I still have a few videos up on my youtube channel. Just search my name. Forewarning: they're not the greatest things in the world, but they should be passable. There's a generic guide to routing, and I also put up a three-part PFPX tutorial, as well.

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