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fmc


john charles
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hi again..been with vatsim now for a while and one question from pilot to atc is.

sometimes my fmc wont give me the sid or star required by atc , so in this case would it be a problem to ask atc to vector to the sid or star.

i sometimes plot out the sid through charts and transfer to gps but this takes an age, so in this matter those vectors would be handy.

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It depends. In principle, yes, you can always ask for vectors (not "vectors to the STAR" though - just request "vectors").

However, especially during busy events, this puts an extra burden on the controller, so be aware of that - they can't deny you service (that would be against VATSIM policy), but they may be forced to delay you in order to fit you into the flow in a manageable way. Also expect questions as to why.

Now, the most likely reason why the FMC won't give you the procedures ATC told you to fly would be that your FMC data is outdated. VATSIM generally follows real-world procedures where possible, and those are updated every 4 weeks (these versions are called "AIRAC Cycles", identified by a four-digit number consisting of the two digits of the year and the cycle number within that year, e.g., AIRAC 2012 is the 12th AIRAC cycle of the year 2020), but most sims do not update their data all the time, so unless you can get your data from elsewhere, your FMC data is most likely not up to date. The most popular solution to this by far is Navigraph, who, for a fee, provide up-to-date FMC data and charts in a myriad of formats.

If you can't or don't want to spend money on that data, the next best thing would be to figure out which AIRAC cycle you have in your FMC, and mention that in your remarks. Also, as part of your preflight, compare your FMC data against up-to-date charts (e.g. from skyvector, or from the relevant real-world AIP), and take note of differences. Often, procedure updates between AIRAC cycles are very minor, and might not even affect the flight path at all, but they still get a new designator. For example, obstacle information on the chart may be updated - but this does not affect how your FMC flies it, it's just something to be aware of when flying. Speed restrictions are another thing that you can mostly ignore, you just have to make sure to honor the updated speeds. In such cases, you can just program the old designator in case ATC gives you the newer one - but you really need to brief these things beforehand, because there is no way you can safely do this kind of thing in flight while also flying the aircraft and keeping up with ATC. If there is no procedure with the same flight path, you can also request the older procedure explicitly; often, ATC can accommodate those and will grant your request, and then you can just fly whatever you have. If all that fails, you can still resort to requesting vectors.

Another alternative would be to simply file "no SID/STAR". This way, many controllers will just give you vectors to final or detailed departure instructions straight away.

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Just file your flightplan as normally, but don't include and SID and STAR, and write "NO SID/STAR" in your REMARKS section. If all goes well, ATC will give you explicit departure instructions, and for the arrival, you'll probably get vectors.

Heads up, though: for KDEN, vectored departures will most likely be given by assigning the "DENVER TWO" departure (found here: https://skyvector.com/files/tpp/2105/pdf/09077DENVER.PDF) - but that's basically just "vectors", with a couple additional instructions, and you don't need an FMC to fly that one.

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20 minutes ago, Tobias Dammers said:

Just file your flightplan as normally, but don't include and SID and STAR, and write "NO SID/STAR" in your REMARKS section. If all goes well, ATC will give you explicit departure instructions, and for the arrival, you'll probably get vectors.

Heads up, though: for KDEN, vectored departures will most likely be given by assigning the "DENVER TWO" departure (found here: https://skyvector.com/files/tpp/2105/pdf/09077DENVER.PDF) - but that's basically just "vectors", with a couple additional instructions, and you don't need an FMC to fly that one.

Most large airports will have a radar vector SID containing the airport name and some number, like the DENVER TWO, O'HARE SIX, MIDWAY FIVE, and so forth. As Tobias says, you can file these, or they'll be assigned to you. Keep in mind that you will still want to look at the chart, though. Here's why:

Take a look here at the DENVER TWO departure. Notice that all the waypoints on this page of the procedure are VORs? Now compare that to the O'HARE SIX departure that has a mixture of VORs and RNAV (GPS) waypoints. Make sure you know what type of waypoint ATC is assigning you and, more importantly, know if you have the proper navigation equipment (including a FMS database that has the applicable RNAV waypoint) to actually fly to it.

It's worth mentioning that I only linked page 1 of both of those SIDs in the previous paragraph, but there is a page 2 that contains a very important textural description of what is expected of the pilot on that procedure. Most important is the top altitude allowed by the procedure. Actually, the top altitude is also on the first page, but it's not easy to see on the NACO charts. This is why it's so, so, so important to look at both pages of these charts, which, for the US at least, are available for free at airnav.com and skyvector.com, among other sites.

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Note btw. that this is a US thing; most European airport do not have radar vector SIDs. If you can't or don't want to fly an RNAV or conventional SID, you would just request a vectored departure, and receive detailed departure instructions, or, in some cases, you would depart visually, report a given altitude, and receive instructions from there. (The latter is usually the case where there is no radar coverage around the airport, like at EKVG or BIIS).

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Tobias, for those airports that have visual departure segments due to a lack of radar coverage, are those flown on an IFR clearance, or are you considered VFR until you reach the appropriate altitude and/or waypoint?

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7 hours ago, Dustin Rider said:

Tobias, for those airports that have visual departure segments due to a lack of radar coverage, are those flown on an IFR clearance, or are you considered VFR until you reach the appropriate altitude and/or waypoint?

"Visual" does not mean "VFR". The status of your flight is still IFR, throughout - just because you're IFR doesn't mean you cannot fly procedures with visual segments in them.

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thanks guys.. i need to update my fmc status as been flying a standard a320 with built in fmc for a age from simvation and need to upgrade. but in certain situiations this has helped matters..many thanks..

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