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Rene_Feijen

Usage of Sids and Stars in real life and general aviation.

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I was just wondering: are  in real life SIDS and STARS most of the time flown on Autopilot, or is it also common practice to fly them manually? And are they generally used at all in GA aircraft or mostly not?


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Most of the time such procedures are part of a full-on IFR flight, which means the overwhelming majority of them are part of an airliner flight. Whether they are flown manually or automatically is largely down to the preference of the crew; sometimes they are used as a bit of a training opportunity to brush up a bit on manual handling skills if a new F.O. is being familiarised with the aeroplane and flying it manually. Even when using automatic flight, some crews will follow the paper chart or the magenta line, using the basic heading control and the altitude control on the autopilot rather than having the LNAV and VNAV follow the route of the procedure, as again, this can be a useful training exercise in getting used to operating the autopilot, so they are kind of still 'manually' flying the procedure in some respect, just via the autopilot.

It's quite often the case that only part of the procedure is flown, since these procedures are basically to help with traffic flow and so that ATC don't have to micromanage every heading instruction and altitude instruction, but if there is little traffic around ATC will quite often allow the flight to proceed direct to a waypoint further along the procedure route rather than insisting the crew fly every bit of it, by simply saying 'proceed direct to...'. This 'shortcut' stuff is actually very commonplace at the moment with airliners, because the restrictions on flights as a result of the pandemic has meant there are still fewer flights around, so there is less stuff in the sky near the airports a lot of the time. 

Thus as with a lot of things in aeroplanes, the answer to the question is that 'it's up to you'. You are the pilot in command of your sim aeroplane, so providing you are doing things correctly in terms of following your published plan, or following that ATC has requested of you or granted you permission to so, whether you fly it manually or automatically is your choice. 

If you take a look at Flight Radar 24, which tracks aeroplanes using their transponder data, and look at an airport, you can get a very good feel for what is done and which are the most common SIDs and STARs at an airport. We use that a lot at my place of work in spite of having much fancier ACARS stuff and other computer displays on the Chronos arrival and departure system (everyone has FR24 on their mobile phone) because it gives us a good idea of how far off the aeroplane we will be working on are from making it onto the stand in a more immediate fashion rather than the estimate based of the full plan with the procedures on it, so it's well worth having a look at for this kind of stuff.

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Alan Bradbury

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1 hour ago, Chock said:

Most of the time ... fashion rather than the estimate based of the full plan with the procedures on it, so it's well worth having a look at for this kind of stuff.

Thanks for the detailed reply! I then still am curious about GA, SIDs and STARs.


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As far as I'm aware, the same would be true for GA aeroplanes, if they were flying IFR, they would likely use a procedure at a busy airport to fit in the traffic, but perhaps not if things were quieter in that airspace.


Alan Bradbury

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Copy that Sir!


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My take where I fly- your answers will probably differ alot depending on geographical location!

ATC are not really fans of slow piston GA-planes flying procedures designed for complex turbine acft. It's convenient for ATC just to clear you out of their sector on a heading and safe altitude towards your destination.

As of STARs, I fly in alot in Stockholm terminal/approach control and unless specifically requested (as in proficiency/training purposes) GA-planes will be vectored / cleared Direct to the IAF and from there can continue their approach of choice (RNAV, ILS, VOR etc).

But an arrival route in a piston GA, nah, get out of the way instead.

Ping @ryanbatcund 

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Most STARS are designed to be flown by high-performance aircraft, descending from high altitude, and capable of maintaining at least 280 knots IAS. Some will even be annotated “for use by turbojet aircraft only”. In some cases there will be one or two STARS at a given airport specifically optimized for use by piston or turboprop aircraft, but STARS (in general) are designed for jets.

SIDS are more commonly applicable to all aircraft, but a GA piston single with a top speed of 120 knots might still “clog up” a busy departure corridor, if attempting to fly a complex SID. Usually ATC would simply give vectors to get a slow GA aircraft established on its filed route after takeoff. 


Jim Barrett

Licensed Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic, Avionics, Electrical & Air Data Systems Specialist. Qualified on: Falcon 900, CRJ-200, Dornier 328-100, Hawker 850XP and 1000, Lear 35, 45, 55 and 60, Gulfstream IV and 550, Embraer 135, Beech Premiere and 400A, MD-80.

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As others have said, big airports don't tend to like you turning up there in a Cessna 152 and expecting to come in for a landing, whilst a bunch of airliners get backed up behind you, however, they can't really refuse you in most cases, so what they tend to do is make the landing fees massive to deter it and in this way they remain an option for emergencies, but keep the small aeroplanes away. This is why we rarely see anything smaller than a King Air at Manchester Airport where I work, although oddly enough there was a PA28 there last week, but with the exception of that one, I can't even remember the last time I saw one of those on the ramp at EGCC. It's a bit different in the US, where they don't tend to do that landing fee trick, but in Europe and certainly in the UK, that is pretty commonly used to keep the GA aeroplanes away from places such as Heathrow, Birmingham and Manchester.

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Alan Bradbury

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Interesting, leared something again - great!! Thnx


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SIDS (now called Departure Procedures or DPs) and STARS can be used by any aircraft, including any GA aircraft. While you don't really want to fly an ILS approach into Los Angeles International airport in your C-152, you could. More likely you would want to fly an ILS into a smaller airport that has an ILS.

DPs and STARS are part of your IFR flight plan (your route of flight that is). You have to read everything on those 'plates' to see what applies to your type of aircraft. For example, a DP will say only jet aircraft can use this part of the DP or you must maintain a certain climb gradient or you must reach a certain altitude by so many miles from the airport, etc. You have to read and determine what your aircraft can meet for the departure.

But to answer your question: it's entirely up to you how you fly the DP or STAR: autopilot or hand fly it. And those procedures apply to any aircraft on an IFR flight plan.


Ralph Freshour

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On 9/26/2021 at 3:50 PM, rfresh737 said:

SIDS (now called Departure Procedures or DPs)

There are two types of Departure Procedures (DPs):

• Obstacle Departure Procedures (ODPs) 

•Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs)

Source: FAA instrument procedures handbook (FAA 8083 16B, chapter 1)

 

 


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Thanks for clarifying that. I worked at Flightsafety as a Citation instructor and we always used DPs. I assumed the SID name had been changed.


Ralph Freshour

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 I think it also depends on what your definition of GA aircraft is. I work in a reasonably busy tower and to me, GA is anything that's not an airliner, freighter or military and regardless of what type they are, if they fly IFR, they get assigned those procedures if capable.


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