By Benjamin McBride 1426048
#533023 Dear community,
I am a new VATSIM user who hasn't yet made a flight on the network other than a couple in uncontrolled airspace, and am currently reading up on procedures so that I won't tick anybody off when I do meet a controller. Two things, however, have seemed a bit confusing to me (and I would like answers specific to Europe if possible):
1) What are the procedures for flying old jets like the Caravelle, which have no FMC or GPS, between major airports? I understand VOR navigation enroute, but would I be expected to triangulate the same fixes that the modern jets use or can I just go direct from VOR to VOR? With regards to SIDS and STARS; are pilots usually expected to fly them "by the book" at most airports or do controllers give more direct vectors instead? If it's the former, I assume I can just hand-fly the procedures using trigonometry, dead reckoning and the DME.
2) How do I fly small general aviation planes under VFR rules? Navigation is my primary concern; if I am flying via dead reckoning and pilotage, what do I put in my flight plan? I've heard about visual reporting points before; does anybody have a map of these? Also, what else do I need to know with regards to no-go zones for VFR flight etc.?
Thank you,
Passengerpigeon.
By Robert Shearman Jr 1155655
#533024 Benjamin --

Generally you should try to create IFR routes using Victor or Jet airways (or their non-US equivalents -- IFR routes constructed between VORs, I mean). That's not the same as flying VOR to VOR -- you need to track the airways using the radials marked on the IFR Hi or IFR Lo routes. In the US you can look for non-RNAV SIDs and STARS and file those; in Europe these are assigned by ATC but you should be sure you file an equipment code that indicates your non-RNAV capabilities and reply "Unable" if assigned a procedure that includes GPS fixes. Non-RNAV points are typically located via a single radial and a DME reference point, so, usually "triangulating" is not necessary.

When VFR, I generally do not file a route, since unlike IFR you are free to deviate from it (or navigate along coastline or river or highway or whatever you choose). However, you do need SOME plan to (a) stay out of any prohibited, restricted, or controlled airspace, unless you know where it starts & obtain the requisite ATC permission to enter it, and (b) find your destination. That plan may include use of radio NAV-aids but also might not. The beauty of VFR is that navigation method is completely up to you, as long as your method allows you to know where you are & what type of airspace you're in.

There are some airports, more overseas than in the US, that have specific VFR routings for departures and arrivals. However, that's not the same as a SID or a STAR. SIDs and STARs are IFR procedures.

I do a large share of non-RNAV flying and recently started doing more VFR, but, it's pretty much all in the US so I don't know how applicable my Twitch livestream (twitch.tv/slantalphaadventures) would be to your questions. Do feel free to drop in & ask questions anytime, though. I'm happy to try my best to help.