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Are ILS approaches filed in flight plans?


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I've only used MFS2020's "World Map" mode for flight plans until now. There, when making an IFR plan, you can choose your approach - such as an ILS approach to a specific runway. Looking at Simbrief, there doesn't seem to be anything about approaches. Am I meant to add an ILS approach in my flight plan, or:

- Do I tell an ATC controller what approach I want?

- Or will I be told the approach I'm doing by the controller?

- Will I need to add this approach to the MCDU mid-flight?

 

Thanks

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This is a great question, and the relatively short answer is no: don't file departure and arrival runways in your flight plan. For one thing, it clutters up the route string of your flight strip, and for another, it can be made irrelevant the second the wind shifts and favors a different runway--especially if you're on a four-hour transcontinental flight.

At towered airports, ATC will assign you a departure or an arrival runway and approach, all of which is covered in the ATIS, if one is available for your departure and destination airports. At non-towered airports, ATC expects that the pilots of arriving aircraft will pick up the one-minute weather (AWOS/ASOS IRL, .metar [ICAO] on the network), and advise what type of approach you want at your destination. For non-towered airport departures, the best technique is to call ATC for your IFR clearance when you're at the departure end of the runway and advise ATC where you are, which runway you're departing, and how soon you'll be ready to go. Don't forget that you can also request a specific arrival or departure runway and approach, even if one is assigned. ATC will accommodate if they can.

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Yes, you normally land into the wind. However, terrain and noise considerations may dictate you to land with a slight tailwind. Here you have to check local procedures, but safety is always a first, so don't hessitate to ask for a more prefferable runway, but you may expect delays.

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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In fact, the runway and approach to expect at your arrival airport is often not assigned until you are handed from CTR to APP.  That can be rather late, and already during a busy phase of flight -- so being able to program your FMC with the assigned approach, and then look it over and be ready for it, that late in the game is a skill that takes some practice.  Some pilots will leave the arrival approach and runway blank until assigned; I prefer to enter my "best guess" at the beginning of the flight, and brief that approach before starting the descent, to at least give me a fighting chance that the one I'll be assigned will be the one I programmed and briefed.

But, it's good to get in the mindset that you often just have to brief your assigned approach and arrival at around the time you're descending through 10,000.  It's not easy -- but if it were easy, what would the fun be in that?  😉 

Cheers,

-R.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Are we talking about Approaches or Arrivals (STAR's) because they are not the same.

An Arrival gets you to the approach, an approach gets you to the runway

The following answers relate to Approaches only. Filling of Arrivals in your flight plan is country dependent 

On 3/4/2021 at 3:21 AM, Gareth Myers said:

- Do I tell an ATC controller what approach I want?

You can 100% request what approach type you want to fly, eg, RNP/RNAV, VOR, NDB ILS or Visual.
 

On 3/4/2021 at 3:21 AM, Gareth Myers said:

Or will I be told the approach I'm doing by the controller?

The approach types in use will be stated in the ATIS, Approach types are generally set based on local procedures and the weather, If the visibility is low and the cloud is below say 3000ft AGL chances are the ILS will be in use, not all runways have ILS's, in Melbourne (YMML) if runway 34 is the nominated runway and its IMC then you will be on an RNAV approach because there is no ILS. If it is CAVOK generally you will get the Visual Approach.

There is no hard and fast rule for what you do in the aircraft, you can follow the ILS once cleared for a visual approach, as long as you follow the instructions from ATC to get there.
 

On 3/4/2021 at 3:21 AM, Gareth Myers said:

- Will I need to add this approach to the MCDU mid-flight?

For a visual approach you dont need any thing but an altimeter airspeed indicator and a clean window to fly 
For an ILS/VOR/NDB you need a working radio to tune the frequency
For RNAV approaches you need a working MCDU/FMC

Edited by Kirk Christie

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

956763

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On 3/3/2021 at 8:21 PM, Gareth Myers said:

- Do I tell an ATC controller what approach I want?

You can request a specific approach, but this isn't mandatory, and if you're flying a relatively standard airliner, ATC will give you the most appropriate approach they can.

As an example, when I fly the Embraer Lineage 1000 (a bizjet conversion of the E190), I generally want to park near the GAT, and at some airports, this means I would benefit from landing on a different runway than the airliners - e.g., at EHAM, I generally prefer runway 04/22, because I can taxi right off onto the GA apron, and skip the lengthy taxi. So when I fly into EHAM, I'll usually request that runway proactively and early, if I get a chance.

On 3/3/2021 at 8:21 PM, Gareth Myers said:

- Or will I be told the approach I'm doing by the controller?

This is the normal procedure: ATC tells you which approach to fly, and you accept it and fly it. However, it is *your* responsibility to check whether the approach is within the limits of you as a pilot and your aircraft, and to reject the clearance if you aren't convinced that you can fly the approach. If you're too heavy for that shorter runway, by all means say so. If you're not comfortable flying that complex visual procedure into an airport you've never seen before, request an ILS approach. If ATC gives you a last-minute change, feel free to reject it due to workload.

On 3/3/2021 at 8:21 PM, Gareth Myers said:

- Will I need to add this approach to the MCDU mid-flight?

Technically no, but you do need to be prepared to fly whichever approach is given. Even for a 30-minute hop, it's impossible to tell for sure which approach you will be given beforehand. Frankly, if you're flying one of those aircraft where you can't change your route mid-flight, then I'd recommend not taking those onto VATSIM. It's not just approaches; you may also be given directs (quite common), reroutings (not common, but happens), holds (not very common, but sometimes you get "lucky"), detours, etc.; and you kind of want to be able to tell your FMS how to fly those.

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