View Full Version : Question for Ryanair Pilots

11th Jul 2006, 13:31
Hi Guys,

I have been looking everywhere for answers to a couple of questions I have! There are a lot of questions which will come to me so I'll ask as and when they materialise!

This is directed at Ryanair Pilots. Here we go.

When flying, what type of navigation do you use? Do you use VOR or is there another type? The reason for my question is that on a flight from AHO-STN I noticed that we approached London and seemed to fly over the centre, heading over Canary Wharf then turned North bound for Stansted. I have looked on a couple of websites showing flight routes but I can see nothing like the route we took.

Also, do you let people come up an visit the cockpit (I know I might seem a bit old for this being 30!) but I find it fansinating the mechanic and electronics used! I regularly fly with Ryanair and have enjoyed their service.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks. Paul.

P.S. Moderator, sorry if I posted this thread in the wrong catagory!

11th Jul 2006, 14:52
I am not a Ryanair pilot, but I will try to answer your question(s)

The Boeing 737-800 uses an inertial navigation system to fix it's position. This is basically a laser-guided gyro which measures all of the aircraft's movements from the moment it starts pushing back from the gate. Provided the IRS (Inertial Reference System) knows where it is starting from, it can keep track of the aircraft's position with an amazing degree of accuracy. When the system is started the crew enter the current INS position which is normally the a/c's parking stand. During flight the IRS also takes information from ground based stations such as VOR/DME and I believe it takes some data from GPS?

With regard to flying over London City, it is likely that the crew were following a Standard Arrival Route which is an extension to the airway system based on VOR/DME and ADF. During the approach phase ATC sometimes issue radar vectors which are headings that the crew have to steer, so it's possible that your arrival may have been somewhat random. However, the LOREL 2C and LOREL 2Q arrivals into Stansted would have brought you pretty close to London.

Hope this helps :bored:

11th Jul 2006, 15:08
Wow! Excellent information! I can now see that's why they are called the next generation. Thanks for that.

I was thinking if they use the Lambourne End beakon to aid their approach? I have noticed that a lot of heathrow traffic uses this nav aid.

Piltdown Man
11th Jul 2006, 15:41
Again, I'm not a RYR pilot but the answer is somebody else is doing the Nav when you go to a London airport (ie. radar headings). You just sit there and dial in the numbers.

11th Jul 2006, 15:45

Again not a Ryanair Pilot, heck not even an Airline Pilot (yet) but I live your way so no roughly what you are seeing. STN arrivals do not use the Lambourne VOR at all. However there are some departures which use it. You'll see these at about 5,000ft at high speed. They come over Lambourne on a South Easterly heading and then turn South to fly over the South Coast near Lydd, Kent.

11th Jul 2006, 16:23
Thanks for the info Piltdown Man. Do the pilots enter this info into the FMC? I suppose that it varies pending traffic and weather?

Nice one Superpilot! Nice to hear from someone in the area! I have been looking everywhere in the sky or Stansted traffic but all to no avail. My garden faces North West so Heathrow traffic comes in from the right directly over my head, sometimes having to turn back to maintain the stack. From our area will there be any inbound traffic which will be visible?

I was just so supprised seeing Canary Wharf heading up the M11 towards Stansted.

11th Jul 2006, 16:38
From Alghero we always do the Lorel 2Q arrival. You cross the English coast between Bexhill and Eastbourne to the Mayfield VOR and then just about over Gatwick, towards a point called Vaton, which is just abeam Heathrow. Then turn North East tracking to the Brookmans Park VOR which is just south of Hertford, then north towards the Barkway VOR which is between Royston and Saffron Walden (Just south of Duxford Imperial War museum). This route is followed 90% of the time and London should be on the right hand side most of the time. From the Barkway VOR, you normally turn right for radar vectors to final approach at Stansted, or you turn left to enter the hold at a point called Lorel, which is just south of Royston.
The above route should make sense if you know the area. If not, SORRY! :ugh:

11th Jul 2006, 16:42
Nice one Ibanez (great make of guitar as well!)

Is there a map of this at all so I can plot the route? I can kinda know but not 100%

Thanks again for the detailed description!

11th Jul 2006, 16:47
I also found this which I find interesting.


Looking at the SW approach, there appears to be a few aircraft coming over my way (Chigwell is just off the map)

Rivet gun
11th Jul 2006, 16:55
The 737NG has IRS, GPS, DME, VOR (two of each) all of which feed into to FMC which computes the best composite position to navigate with. However the standard arrival routes are still based on the VORs.

The standard arrival route is the LOREL 2Q: GURLU - MAY - VATON (near Heathrow) - BPK - BKY. As given this route goes round the western side of London, but sometimes ATC offer a short cut before reaching VATON direct to BPK, or sometimes a radar vector folowed by direct to BPK or BKY. This could take you nearer the center of London.

UK and Irish airlines do not permit flight deck visits.

11th Jul 2006, 17:00
Sorry for being a dum dum but are GURLU - MAY etc. waypoints? If the are not, what are they called?

I just need to get hold of a map no so I can see where i flew :) Any ideas where I can see one online?

11th Jul 2006, 17:02
I don't know if you use Google Earth at all. If not, download it and plot the following co-ordinates in it using "add a placemark":
Gurlu (N50 28.7, E000 58.1)
Mayfield (N51 01.0, E000 07.0)
Vaton (N51 26.1, W000 20.9)
Brookmans Park (N51 45.0, W000 06.4)
Barkway (N51 59.4, E000 03.7)
Lorel (N52 00.8, W000 03.2)
I think you can shoot these co-ordinates into MS flightsim if you want to see the route (not sure) but I would definitely recommend getting Google Earth, cause you can zoom in from the satelite and actually see what the Barkway VOR looks like!!
The departure mentioned in the previous post is the Dover departures from Stansted. Which go from Stansted to the Detling VOR (N51 18.2 E000 35.8) then to Dover. These departures are normally used when flying to Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe. The departure allows you to only climb to 5000ft towards Detling (most of the time you are cleared to 7000ft) due to all the Heathrow guys in the Lambourne hold.
Hope that helps! (glad to see you know your guitars! :ok: )

11th Jul 2006, 17:06
Thanks Ibanez, I am a Strat man myself :)

I am downloading Google Earth now! Thanks for everyone's help on this matter! It's been bothering me for ages!

Rivet gun
11th Jul 2006, 17:12
Sorry, the three letter codes are the VORs MAY = Mayfield etc. The five letter ones are waypoints which are plotted with respect to the VORs e.g VATON is the intersection of the MAY 328 radial and the BPK 208 radial.

11th Jul 2006, 17:19
Thanks Rivet Gun. It's all starting to make sense now. :)

11th Jul 2006, 17:31

The Real Slim Shady
12th Jul 2006, 19:53
Details of ARINC naming coventions for waypoints etc are at https://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/aviation/instrument_procedures_handbook/media/appndxA1.pdf

18th Jul 2006, 08:55
The 738 uses GPS position as primary if I'm not mistaken. If not available it computes its position from DME/DME, VOR/DME (can use LLZ/DME as well if on an approach for example) and if no radio nav is available it uses the IRS position which is completely independent.