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ATC deviates from flight plan


Stein Carlsen
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Hello all,

How common is it for ATC to deviate from a flight plan? Typically, instructions are given to fly something else than the set STAR.

If you are first asked to change in relation to the set flight schedule, can you then expect to be vectored all the way to the airport?

Can you also risk (when you are in-flight) being asked to fly a different STAR than the one scheduled in the flight plan? 

 

niets

 

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It's very common to be taken "off route" and can/will be done for a number of reasons, not limited to:

- traffic situation (may be better to send you DCT somewhere to bypass an area of high traffic)
- expediency (short cut, early descent rather than fly a full procedure, early climb for same reason)
- conflict resolution (sending you/someone else DCT somewhere or on a heading to prevent a TCAS/STCA alert situation)

1 hour ago, Stein Carlsen said:

If you are first asked to change in relation to the set flight schedule, can you then expect to be vectored all the way to the airport?

Not sure what you mean hear - are you referring to being taken off a SID or being given a complete re-route?

1 hour ago, Stein Carlsen said:

Can you also risk (when you are in-flight) being asked to fly a different STAR than the one scheduled in the flight plan?

Yes - again, what you've filed may not suit the controller's current traffic situation so sending you to the other side of the field (if the STARs at your destination do this) may actually help traffic flow.  Additionally, was the STAR you filed the correct one for the day and/or time of flight?

Trevor Hannant

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Thanks for reply.

The reason I ask is that I am relatively new to both watsim and xplane. I can submit a flight plan to FMC with SID and STAR and fly after it. I'm a little unsure if will master making changes to FMC while flying. I was therefore wondering if I can expect to be vectored from ATC by changes in a flight plan.

niets

 

 

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Depending on the quality of the add-on, it should handle it fine - and I can't imagine many these days can't handle a DCT while flying a SID/STAR.

Any changes are 99% of the time going to be:

- DCT to a point or
- a heading followed by a DCT when suitable

The FMC won't have anything to do with the heading part as you'll simply hit the HDG button on your MCP and dial it in there.   Then when told "resume own navigation DCT xxxx", you simply use the DIR page on the FMC to select that then hit the NAV button to then let the AP go there.

Trevor Hannant

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1 hour ago, Trevor Hannant said:

Should always be a waypoint in your flightplan.

Not really, directs can be to any waypoint and you have to read the airport charts, for example in Zürich (LSZH), there are rnav approach transitions from some terminal waypoints to the respective runways, and if you get a direct onto one of the transitions you are automatically cleared for the whole transition. In germany it is on many airports the same.

 

So you can definitely be cleared direct to a waypoint that is not on your flighplan but most directs are to points on your flight plan.

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In line with Louis the STARs into Copenhagen EKCH are vectorize stars, so you can either get vectored all the way or given a direct point like e.g. ADOVI (see https://aim.naviair.dk/media/files/5l1spobyr43/EK_AD_2_EKCH_STAR_22_L_2_en.pdf) These points aren't found on the EKCH_STAR_22_L_1_en.pdf chart, but you can find it on the Jeppesen chart EKCH 10-2K. The problem here is that many pilots only look at the star chart only, but ignores other relevant information found in page two of the chart or even in the text for the aerodrome itself. When I man a position like EKCH_APP or EKDK_B_CTR I usually ask, if a pilot are able direct ADOVI. For airlines normally flying into EKCH I expect them to be familiar with these points I give then dct ADOVI rightaway.
My main point her is: ALWAYS HAVE THE RELEVANT CHARTS FOR THE AIRPORT AT HAND. NEVER FLY WITHOUT THEM!!

In Europe and the US most chart can be found for free,  but the easiest is to get a subscription (no name mentioned here :-)) 

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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Yeah, I don't really like this, however it is fairly realistic to flying in real life.  I say fairly because often there is other traffic and certain areas are usually busy, where as in VATSIM you can fly for hours in a ghost town. 

 

I'd prefer that atc not change your route on VATSIM 'just because', and yes that generally has been my case; of there is no traffic around at all then there is no reason to vector me.  I want to use VATSIM to practice real procedures; canceling my flt plan and flying vectors doesn't give me much practice.  If you want something to do as an ATC then assign me a different SID/STAR and runways.  That gives me something practical to work with, and struggle over.  But just giving me direct to our vectors for ILS is boring.  I'm fairly confident I can find a fix or navigate to an ILS on my own; if I couldn't, I certainly would all for your assistance. 

 

I have also specifically asked to fly a STAR, before but was taken off of it, like, just let me fly it; that's what I'm here for, to fly. 

 

If I'm coming in on a STAR (assuming you can actually make it work and it's not composure against traffic flow), and you have traffic issues,  then put me on a holding pattern, that is what they are for.  Let me do real pilot stuff while you do real atc stuff and move the other traffic around that wants to be moved.  Then when you have time for me let me continue my approach.  That would be awesome!!  Instead of just vectoring around here and there and direct to. 

 

Lately I have found ATC to be getting better, so I am grateful.  I feel today,  that atc would be willing to carry out my request.  Back in the old days it was more rigid, fly how I tell you and that's it, or get off the network if you want to fly how you want. 

 

Although it certainly would be more fun having more traffic, but perhaps one day things will get busy and I'll curse ever saying that as I sweat about running to maintain stable flight while following complex instructions. lol

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In My (virtual) Hangar:

C172 :: C-FXMY

M20M :: C-GRYR

Baron 58 :: C-TVUY

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39 minutes ago, Ryan Renz said:

I have also specifically asked to fly a STAR, before but was taken off of it, like, just let me fly it; that's what I'm here for, to fly. 

All you need to do is ask - if someone asks me to fly the full STAR/procedure, I'll happily let them if it's not going to affect the traffic flow.   

Additionally, it depends on where you are - some STARs/Transitions are designed so you can be taken off them at a point so people are feeding in with nice spacing, others may terminate in a hold over the field so taking you off may be more convenient.

Trevor Hannant

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9 hours ago, Ryan Renz said:

I want to use VATSIM to practice real procedures; canceling my flt plan and flying vectors doesn't give me much practice.

I don't agree with you there. As mentioned previously many stars terminate at a point from where you will get vectored into the instrument approach. So this is indeed practicing real procedures. Look at the US stars - I can't remember flying one which didn't end on a vector leg. In Denmark no stars into EKCH (only airport with stars) are found without vectoring from their end point. The M- and N- stars (e.g.TUDLO1M) are not for flightplanning purposes (clearly written on the charts, but frequently planned by inexperienced pilots) and are not in operation under normal condition in EKCH. So for many places in the World the real procedure to practice is actually what you get on VATSIM  - vectors.

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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ICAO Annex 11 defines ATC as a service that is provided for two purposes.

a) preventing collisions

b) expediting and maintaining an orderly flow of traffic

If ATC would instruct every pilot to always fly full procedures even when not required due traffic or other such factors that would not meet the second purpose of ATC, expediting the flow of traffic. Technically such service would not even be ATC according to ICAO.

If you want to always fly the full STAR and maintain realism fly to an airport where ATC only provides non-radar approach services, you might still get a direct but flying a full STAR isn't that uncommon. Insisting on flying the full STAR at an airport where ATC provides radar service is usually not what they do in real life. In real life pilots and airlines are happy to get from A-B as fast as possible with the least amount of fuel burned.

Christian Kovanen
Director of VATSIM Scandinavia
Membership Audit Team Lead

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11 hours ago, Ryan Renz said:

that's what I'm here for, to fly. 

The conroller is here to control, and if taking you off the STAR is required for how they plan to operate their airspace, then follow the instructions, if you want to fly, with out controller intervention, go offline.

Im trying to create a list of what controllers arent allowed to do, so far it looks like this;
Don't log off when i'm inbound,
Don't stream snipe,
Don't log in where i'm already flying,
Don't alter my flight plan.

Edited by Kirk Christie
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Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

956763

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1 hour ago, Kirk Christie said:

The conroller is here to control, and if taking you off the STAR is required for how they plan to operate their airspace, then follow the instructions, if you want to fly, with out controller intervention, go offline.

Im trying to create a list of what controllers arent allowed to do, so far it looks like this;
Don't log off when i'm inbound,
Don't stream snipe,
Don't log in where i'm already flying,
Don't alter my flight plan.

Don't forget:
- Logging on when I'm in your sector
- Sending me a Contact Me when I get to your sector

The number of people who log off when I've sent a contact me... 🙄

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Trevor Hannant

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15 hours ago, Louis Sikkema said:

Not really, directs can be to any waypoint and you have to read the airport charts, for example in Zürich (LSZH), there are rnav approach transitions from some terminal waypoints to the respective runways, and if you get a direct onto one of the transitions you are automatically cleared for the whole transition.

 

14 hours ago, Torben Andersen said:

In line with Louis the STARs into Copenhagen EKCH are vectorize stars, so you can either get vectored all the way or given a direct point like e.g. ADOVI (see https://aim.naviair.dk/media/files/5l1spobyr43/EK_AD_2_EKCH_STAR_22_L_2_en.pdf) These points aren't found on the EKCH_STAR_22_L_1_en.pdf chart, but you can find it on the Jeppesen chart EKCH 10-2K. The problem here is that many pilots only look at the star chart only, but ignores other relevant information found in page two of the chart or even in the text for the aerodrome itself.... For airlines normally flying into EKCH I expect them to be familiar with these points I give then dct ADOVI rightaway.
My main point her is: ALWAYS HAVE THE RELEVANT CHARTS FOR THE AIRPORT AT HAND. NEVER FLY WITHOUT THEM!!

Well, this can be quite tough for a newbie on WATSIM. But if I write "newbie" in the comments field, maybe a little consideration is taken into account?

niets

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Agreed, many STARs do end in manual vectoring.  The key words there being "end in", as in, not before you even start.

 

All valid points made.  But I don't pay for fuel in the simulator and I'd like to spend the time flying.  Sure vectors are convenient at times.

In My (virtual) Hangar:

C172 :: C-FXMY

M20M :: C-GRYR

Baron 58 :: C-TVUY

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5 hours ago, Stein Carlsen said:

Well, this can be quite tough for a newbie on WATSIM. But if I write "newbie" in the comments field, maybe a little consideration is taken into account?

Yes, there is a steep learning curve and I do not expect a new pilot on VATSIM to know it all - (I also do not know everything on aviation and frequently makes mistakes). The main point here is being willing to learn and adapt to the environment and always ask, if there is something you don't understand. And if you can't find the waypoint given to you by the controller, all you need to do is say "Unable" and we'll find another solution.

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Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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6 minutes ago, Torben Andersen said:

And if you can't find the waypoint given to you by the controller, all you need to do is say "Unable" and we'll find another solution.

Great.
I think you make great demands on vatsim, but you want it to be as realistic as possible, I guess.

niets

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18 hours ago, Ryan Renz said:

Agreed, many STARs do end in manual vectoring.  The key words there being "end in", as in, not before you even start.

 

All valid points made.  But I don't pay for fuel in the simulator and I'd like to spend the time flying.  Sure vectors are convenient at times.

Even those that don't explicitly end with vectors are often designed such that ATC will normally vector you off; flying full procedures is pretty rare IRL, to the point where it's often little more than a safe fallback in case of lost comms or a congested frequency. This is how it works IRL, and VATSIM replicates it - if you don't like this, then you may enjoy flying offline better.

Also, while you technically spend more time "flying" if you just let the autopilot fly the whole procedure, you get more action if you're being vectored. Watch magenta line until it's time to push APP, vs. actually making the aircraft do what it needs to do on a step-by-step basis.

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22 hours ago, Stein Carlsen said:

 

Well, this can be quite tough for a newbie on WATSIM. But if I write "newbie" in the comments field, maybe a little consideration is taken into account?

niets

For example at EHAM, all STARs end at an Initial Approach Fix (IAF). Normally you will get an instruction to fly to a VOR or FIX after the IAF (i.e.: after SUGOL, proceed to SPL). In some situations, you will receive vectors after the IAF (i.e. Leave RIVER on heading 020).

But...no worries if you are a newbie: 9 out of 10, we will hear that you are new. By default, I will speak a bit slower, and elaborate some items ('After SUGOL proceed to SPL, the Schiphol VOR'). If this saves an extra call (say again...), we both win. Anyway: when in doubt, speak up. If you have troubles with your FMC, tell the controller, and you'll get vectors from there on, because anybody is expected to be able to fly them. Don't wait until it is too late...

Also, I can hardly imagine vectors being assigned 'just because'. Controllers may have many reasons to assign them. And although you don't have to pay for the fuel, getting you off the frequency as soon as possible (to lighten the workload) is a valid reason. 

Martijn

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2 hours ago, Martijn Rammeloo said:

For example at EHAM, all STARs end at an Initial Approach Fix (IAF). Normally you will get an instruction to fly to a VOR or FIX after the IAF (i.e.: after SUGOL, proceed to SPL). In some situations, you will receive vectors after the IAF (i.e. Leave RIVER on heading 020).

Thanks for answer,

Hm .. I'm trying to understand. Your last example makes sense if you are going to land on EHAM (Leave RIVER on heading 020). But if you are going to land on EHAM, how can you fly to SPL after SUGOL? Should not one line up in relation to a runway? At SPL, is it too late? Or will heading towards SPL from SUGOL give the right angle to untercept ILS to a runway?

niets

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3 minutes ago, Stein Carlsen said:

Thanks for answer,

Hm .. I'm trying to understand. Your last example makes sense if you are going to land on EHAM (Leave RIVER on heading 020). But if you are going to land on EHAM, how can you fly to SPL after SUGOL? Should not one line up in relation to a runway? At SPL, is it too late? Or will heading towards SPL from SUGOL give the right angle to untercept ILS to a runway?

niets

As far as I know EHAM, the direct to spl is only to send you in the right direction to make a nice separeated line of all traffics and then you will be vectored onto the approach

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