Jump to content

Why don’t european ATC use STARs all the way to final?


Recommended Posts

I have been flying several hundred VATSIM flights and it’s been great fun. I really appreciate the job done by ATC!

But I have I wish. After a while I also started to fly VATSIM in the US. The fun thing about ATC in US is that they use STARS much more. European also clear you for STARs. But you hardly get into them before they start vectoring you. In the beginning vectoring was challenging and fun, but I have found it would be a great new challenge if ATC could let us fly the STARS to the end sometimes. Isn’t that how they are used in real life too? Then we would have to make sure we follow the charts restrictions more carefully also. And with old planes you have to plan the descent yourself. As it is now, ATC controls everything for you – altitude, descents, speed and heading. So, what do you say ATC? STAR to the end on request?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Oddvar,

 

I shortcut STARs for pilots, and for several reasons. Sometimes it helps with separating traffic. If two aircraft are too close to each other to, for example, allow a departure in between I gain more separation if I shortcut the one ahead. It also saves the pilot some time. Another reason, this one a bit selfish, however it still is one. It is more challenging, which means it is fun. In my view it is way more interesting, from a controller point of view, to issue vectors instead of just issuing "Follow the STAR, descend to 3000 feet, cleared ILS".

 

However, I personally have no issues whatsoever in allowing a pilot to fly the entire STAR. If the full STAR is requested, the full STAR is flown (traffic permitting, obviously).

Link to post
Share on other sites

NOT flying a STAR/transition to the end is actually a service to the pilot to shorten the flight time. In the real world it is normal in most places. I just returned home from a real flying tour, where my last flight was today from Moscow to Frankfurt. Frankfurt approach control picked us up a couple of miles east of KERAX and issued us a heading of 220 degrees and instructed us to intercept the localizer runway 25L from there. That's it, we loved it, no wasting of time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The name of the game is a safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of traffic. European STARs, especially the P-RNAV ones of the last few years designed with either Point-Merge or long zig-zag downwind-upwind-legs. These STARs are designed to only be used to their fullest when the airport is at its absolute max capacity, which for any given major airport on VATSIM only happens a handful of times each year, if that. Outside these peak hours, the whole concept is to use shortcuts in the form of vectoring and/or direct routings in order to achieve least average delay in the flow of traffic, and as close to a continuous idle descend from cruise to final approach as we can realistically get.

 

Want realistic airline flying? Shortcuts all day long. Want a challenge in terms of navigation? Explore the world of conventional navigations off of VORs, NDBs and the like.

 

Of course, as always, you can absolutely request to follow the STAR to its fullest for training purposes, and you'll be accommodated as far as possible. People around you won't necessarily think you're the most realistic minded or income-focused virtual captain in the business, but the purpose of VATSIM is to allow for all types of sim flying that doesn't interfere negatively with others, so have at it. Do prepare for controllers prompting you a few times if you're absolutely sure, though!

Link to post
Share on other sites

And to add to the above, in the UK not all STARs end up taking you onto final - they take you to a hold where you'll either:

 

- be vectored to final anyway having spent additional minutes heading to a completely different point or

- have to take up a procedural arrival (e.g. ILS/VOR/DME approach) which simply gets in the way of other traffic in some instances

 

As Magnus states, expeditious although if you want to carry out a specific approach as mentioned above, you can request it

Trevor Hannant

Link to post
Share on other sites

OP if you'd to pay for the virtual fuel in your planes tanks I guarantee you this thread wouldn't exist .

 

As was pointed out there are lots of reasons, shortcuts probably being the main one, point merge, separation etc etc.

 

Don't accept a shortcut if you want to fly the full arrival, just request to fly it, ATC should accommodate.

Link to post
Share on other sites
OP if you'd to pay for the virtual fuel in your planes tanks I guarantee you this thread wouldn't exist

....and fuel is not yet the most expensive part of operating an aircraft - it is rather operating time and [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ociated maintenance cost.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, of course. I was just trying to make a point about "what if you had to pay the FUEL out of your own pocket": fuel is just one cost-centre, the overall operation of an aeroplane is more expensive, at least at the moment. Guess why most airlines are reporting m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive profits since the oil-price has dropped a few years ago: not solely, because they have become more efficient, but also because fuel is cheap. With the next surge in fuel cost we will see some airlines struggle.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks a lot, to all above for very useful reading. I learned a lot!

A few comments:

1. I'm not at all focused on saving fuel/time/maintenance cost. For me it’s mastering the plane. So an extra 15min of challenging flying, a few tons extra burned fuel doesn’t matter.

2. I think the key word here is variation. In the beginning, vectoring was a great challenge. But not so much the threehundredandfourtysixth time.

3. For me this became particularly obvious when I bought an old B3733-200 with only VOR+DME and started posting VOR only flightplans. To get new challenges. The plans where accepted by GND/DEL, but as soon as I was in the air, still on climb, some enroute guy would start vectoring me. That removes the whole point, which is to follow VOR radials. I have then asked to be allowed to fly the accepted plan, but gets a NO because it messes up the traffic/airways. Also when arriving at destination I again miss the fun part of flying a VOR approach due to vectoring.

 

I usually fly into the most commonly used and staffed airports, like EGKK, EGLL, EDDF, EDDL, EHAM, LSZH.

 

Maybe I should start this as a new topic: Is VOR only flight plans compatible with modern RNAV based navigation or just a trouble maker?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, you can fly VOR-only routes, but as this is something very unusual, you will need to make a remark in your flightplan to minimize ATC asking/vectoring you. When calling APP, it would be best to clearly state that you would prefer flying the standard instrument approach procedure from XYZ VOR to the runway in use. If ATC insists on vectoring you because of traffic volume, offer a short holding to wait for other traffic to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts].

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not as familiar with non-RNAV procedures in Europe, but I can speak more to the US side of things. FAA (United States) flight plans have aircraft type codes in the form XXXX/Y, where the X's are the actual type (ex. B732) and the Y is what's known as an equipment suffix. /L, for example, is RNAV/GPS and RVSM, so most modern airliners. /W would be a non-RNAV, RVSM capable aircraft, such as an origination B732 or 727. While RNAV routes are more the "norm" these days, there are non-RNAV procedures. A non-RNAV aircraft will be able to fly using V or J airways (NOT T or Q) in the US, and can also fly non-RNAV SIDs/STARs. For example, arrivals from the south/southwest into Boston are normally routed via the ROBUC RNAV STAR. Obviously, a B732/W will not be able to fly this, so we (controllers) can route them via the ORW STAR, which uses VORs and radials to navigate to the terminal environment.

 

I realize your initial comment was regarding European procedures, but just wanted to comment a bit on this side of the pond. Best of luck!

Logo.png

 

Krikor Hajian (HI) - 1283146

Deputy Air Traffic Manager | Instructor

[email protected]

VATUSA ACE Team Member | VATSIM Supervisor

- - - - - - - - - -

BVA is on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me also quickly point out something you may or may not already be aware of: Any European SID/STAR/IAP that is based on P-RNAV or PBN is NOT available to aircraft with INS or equivalent systems. If you can't load the full procedure from an AIRAC-based database (i.e. FMC or GPS-nav unit), you can't use it. Programming single waypoints along procedure or dead reckoning radials and tracks is strictly out of limits. If you fly cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ic navigation, request vectors or direct routings if no cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ic procedure exist.

 

For example, in Southern Norway you'll find only two places who still have any cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ic procedures applicable to aircraft like the B732; ENOL and ENFL. All other airports south of ENOL now only offers P-RNAV (RNAV1) procedures (except for the OMNI-SIDs which are basically vectoring SIDs), requiring database based procedures, self programming not allowed. If you mess up only one single digit you're setting yourself up for the possibility of a loss of separation. Possibly deadly in real life, and immersion killing for those around you on the network. State on first contact that you're not P-RNAV equipped, and you'll be given omni/vectors/visual/direct for departure.

 

I'd also like to point out something I meant to add in my previous post, that I suspect you've already experienced: VATSIM ATCs are hobbyists, just like you. They can't possibly know everything, and as cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ic navigation is a dying art it is also one of the areas where you'll find know-how deficiencies to a greater extent. Some will know how to handle you, some will get there eventually with or without some PMs from you, and some just don't know enough about this stuff yet to be able to give you a good experience. They will in time, but expect confusion when you're up there doing some proper dials and needles stuff. The iPad is easier to understand than the CDI.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think that we are super strict on VATSIM. By all means, if you have an FMS and are able to insert the required waypoints based on current charts, do it. Nobody will see the difference In the real world we do not do this, of course.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly! This is why VOR navigation is so fun in the US.

I have also found airways in Europe that I can fly, especially since I have two receivers and can find intersections between two radials. But the problem is that ATC starts vectoring me early in the flight anyway. Or they say Direct , which also takes away most of the fun if I still have 3 left. When it comes to final approach vectoring again takes away the possibility to practice VOR approaches, although VOR apps are often available at European airports.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Let me also quickly point out something you may or may not already be aware of: Any European SID/STAR/IAP that is based on P-RNAV or PBN is NOT available to aircraft with INS or equivalent systems. If you can't load the full procedure from an AIRAC-based database (i.e. FMC or GPS-nav unit), you can't use it. Programming single waypoints along procedure or dead reckoning radials and tracks is strictly out of limits. If you fly cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ic navigation, request vectors or direct routings if no cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ic procedure exist.

 

For example, in Southern Norway you'll find only two places who still have any cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ic procedures applicable to aircraft like the B732; ENOL and ENFL. All other airports south of ENOL now only offers P-RNAV (RNAV1) procedures (except for the OMNI-SIDs which are basically vectoring SIDs), requiring database based procedures, self programming not allowed. If you mess up only one single digit you're setting yourself up for the possibility of a loss of separation. Possibly deadly in real life, and immersion killing for those around you on the network. State on first contact that you're not P-RNAV equipped, and you'll be given omni/vectors/visual/direct for departure.

 

I'd also like to point out something I meant to add in my previous post, that I suspect you've already experienced: VATSIM ATCs are hobbyists, just like you. They can't possibly know everything, and as cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ic navigation is a dying art it is also one of the areas where you'll find know-how deficiencies to a greater extent. Some will know how to handle you, some will get there eventually with or without some PMs from you, and some just don't know enough about this stuff yet to be able to give you a good experience. They will in time, but expect confusion when you're up there doing some proper dials and needles stuff. The iPad is easier to understand than the CDI.

 

Yes, Norway is quite boring when it comes to VOR flying . Not many VORs and no VOR app in the south.

 

I think your last remark is very true and important.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

For example, in Southern Norway you'll find only two places who still have any cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ic procedures applicable to aircraft like the B732; ENOL and ENFL. All other airports south of ENOL now only offers P-RNAV (RNAV1) procedures (except for the OMNI-SIDs which are basically vectoring SIDs), requiring database based procedures, self programming not allowed. If you mess up only one single digit you're setting yourself up for the possibility of a loss of separation. Possibly deadly in real life, and immersion killing for those around you on the network. State on first contact that you're not P-RNAV equipped, and you'll be given omni/vectors/visual/direct for departure.

 

I'd also like to point out something I meant to add in my previous post, that I suspect you've already experienced: VATSIM ATCs are hobbyists, just like you. They can't possibly know everything, and as cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ic navigation is a dying art it is also one of the areas where you'll find know-how deficiencies to a greater extent. Some will know how to handle you, some will get there eventually with or without some PMs from you, and some just don't know enough about this stuff yet to be able to give you a good experience. They will in time, but expect confusion when you're up there doing some proper dials and needles stuff. The iPad is easier to understand than the CDI.

 

Yes, Norway is rather boring when it comes to VOR-flying .

 

And your last comment is very true.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I should post and read here more often. I learn a lot. Thanks again to all of you for writing such knowledgeable posts.

I hope this will be discussed among ATC people. My impression is that ATC is more strict about pilots following their vectoring than you guys here suggests. I have asked a few times to be allowed to fly my posted (and accepted by ATC ) VOR - Flight Plan, or to fly the STAR “to the end”, but the answer has allways been NO.

In the end, it’s about the need for new challenges. First you practice offline. Then you go online and appreciate the interactions of vectoring. But after a while you want more challenges. Then you can pick up one of these old planes where you have to do the job yourself by adjusting VOR frequencies and radials. It would be nice if all these stages could be accommodated by ATC.

But of course, ATC also wants some fun. And, as one stated above: “It’s more fun to vector/shortcut than to just say “follow the STAR”.

Link to post
Share on other sites

At EHAM, out training manual says that we should offer shortcuts whenever possible (since it is done in real life quite often). After the last fix of the STAR, vectoring starts anyway... Besides for fuel & time saving purposes, vectoring planes off the STAR is a convenient method to build a nice sequence (less or more track miles for each aircraft).

 

However, if you have special requests, we are more than happy to try to accomodate them. Yet, quite often you are not alone in the virtual skies, and sometimes those 'special requests' have a negative influence on the overall traffic flow. This is also dependant on the controller profiency level.

 

Martijn

Link to post
Share on other sites
At EHAM, out training manual says that we should offer shortcuts whenever possible (since it is done in real life quite often). After the last fix of the STAR, vectoring starts anyway... Besides for fuel & time saving purposes, vectoring planes off the STAR is a convenient method to build a nice sequence (less or more track miles for each aircraft).

 

Martijn

 

I guess ATC and pilots have a rather different perspective on what is important in virtual flying. ATC is about sequencing and traffic flow. Pilots wants to practice navigating their planes and reading, understanding and following charts.

For me, it’s a little sad to hear that your training says you should “offer shortcuts whenever possible”. Shortcuts makes me a “lame duck”. No more thinking, just turn heading and altitude knobs when told. I think you should use the STAR to the last fix more often. Aren’t STARs made for that purpose? To get good traffic flow and ease the pressure on ATC. The American ATC do that. The use the STARs to the end. And it works perfect. More challenging and fun for pilots. And they seem happy too. I did a flight last night from KJFK to KBOS with a VOR only plane. The Americans have dedicated airways (V and J) for VOR navigation. When arriving I got a VOR STAR. And no vectoring until reaching the last fix. Worked perfect. The ATC seemed used to VOR and prepared for it.

The arguments about saving time and fuel is not very strong in virtual flying, is it? We don’t pay for fuel . Or maybe some pilots have fun creating virtual airlines and compete on having lowest cost on fuel. That could be. I don’t.

That said, I must tell that I have very good experience at EHAM. When starting VOR only flying I arrived at EHAM, and got RKN2B STAR. First I thought “I can not fly a STAR – I’m VOR only”. Then I checked the chart and found that it was a VOR STAR. Great! EHAM even have VOR APProaches on all main directions of arrivial. Please use them. They implies flying in to a VOR placed at the airport before flying out again for final. I understand that might mess up things when others fly RNAV approaches. But isn’t that a part of real life, that we should include in our virtual world? I mean, these VOR approaches are published (VOR RWY 18R, VOR RWY 27 etc).

Last, I realize I am mixing two topics here: 1. use the STARS until last fix and 2. Allow VOR only navigation both EnRoute and at arrival. Don’t start vectoring while I’m still climbing. These two topics are both about the same: To allow those who want that challenge to read and follow their charts and use their VOR-receivers to track radials for navigation. Shortcuts makes navigation boring.

And very last: ATC gives a dynamic aspect to virtual flying that I really appreciate. I would not consider flying offline as and alternative. Thats only for practicing before going online for "the real thing".

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Oddvar,

 

I would not generalize. You write "Pilots wants to practice navigating their planes and reading, understanding and following charts", but this may be true for you and a few others. Once most pilots have practiced navigation sufficiently, they are happy to receive a nice vector for their approach.

 

You also should see it this way: IAPs (Instrument Approach Procedures) are made for non-radar and non-communication environments. But then separation requirements become much bigger and the rate of aircraft that are allowed to start an approach will be much lower, in respect of time. Radar vectoring is usually much more efficient. In some regions radar is not available and procedural approaches have to be flown, but that is more like in Africa, Asia, South America. There are some smaller or very remote airfields in Europe and North America that require procedural approaches, too, but they are not so many.

 

If you prefer to follow the IAP, just let ATC know and they will normally approve it, if traffic permits. It's all about communication. Most pilots are happy to receive shortcuts and the most efficient trajectory to start their approaches, from what I understand.

Link to post
Share on other sites

VATSIM ATC tend to emulate their real world counterparts and as such they are dependent on the airspace they control. ENGM airspace is very different from EHAM, so the controllers are going to handle things differently. As has been said, never hurts to ask for something special.

KntU2Cw.jpg
Link to post
Share on other sites

I get my kicks in simming from approximating real ops. Thus, if I want to practice nav, I set up a nav training flight to an airport that is suitable for shooting multiple approaches, I don't do it on normal flights unless the airport in question requires it. Most, if not everyone, that I fly with on the network are more or less the same way, obviously because equals attracts in this situation and those people have become my sim mates over the years. Keep that in mind when you generalise what the thousand of simmers on here are looking for

 

From the ATC perspective I definitely feel like the numbers lean strongly towards my end of our spectrum, but this is of course neither objective nor supported by data.

 

Edit: And I also see you differentiate between controllers and pilots, ignoring the fact that most ATCs on VATSIM also fly on VATSIM, and usually have flown for significantly longer than they have controlled.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I should stop here. I have already started to repeat myself . I just wanted to say thanks once more to all of you who has helped clarifying these matters to me – and hopefully some others.

Just to sum up to see if I got it right:

• Expect vectoring – always – at busy European airports. Want to fly the STARs to the last fix? Go to smaller not so busy airports. Or ask specifically and get a yes if traffic permits.

• In the US, flying the STAR to the last fix is the common way. They also vector you from time to time, but not so often.

• Want to do old fashioned VOR/DME navigation? Go to the US. They even have named airways (V or J) that not RNAV-capable planes can fly.

• In Europe flying VOR-to-VOR will be an exception and you will be messing up the traffic patterns. You may ask and get a yes if traffic permits.

• Not everyone thinks vectoring in the long run is boring. Maybe only Oddvar and a few others

Cheers,

Oddvar

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...