View Full Version : How to know which STAR to use?

6th Sep 2012, 18:15
Surely this is a silly question for lots of you, but I'm going to ask anyway.
So being a newbie, flight school's arrivals were always the same, and there was only one STAR, so it became easy of course.
Now for example today flying into our destination, the flight plan had an arrival for us for the runway. Even in this case, surely it won't be the one we should use all the time.

Today the runway changed, and the ATC gave us the name of the new STAR, but the captain said that they don't usually do that.
Some places have so many different arrivals for a certain runway.
How do I know which one I'm supposed to use?

Appreciate any advice/help.

6th Sep 2012, 18:23
The one you are cleared to follow.

Usually it's the one from the last point on your route to approach & rwy in use.

If ATC changes it at short notice, tough. It's a part of the job.

Don't worry, quick replanning gets easier with time.

No silly questions.

6th Sep 2012, 18:26
Try to look at the combination runway-in-use vs. last fix filed in flightplan. You will normally find something that fits. If there is more than one possibility, one of them will often be for night-ops, ie CDA arrivals, and the other one used during the rest of the day. If still none the wiser, try to listen to what other aircraft ahead of you get. If still confused, askthe other guy what you can expect, if he has been there before. Or, you could ask atc what to expect. If they are not too busy thay can often call ahead to the next sector to ask for you. Good luck.

6th Sep 2012, 18:35
Thanks for the responses guys.
This last fix On the flight plan will be the same point regardless of runway yes?
Just the point you start your STAR from basically?
Thanks for the tips.

6th Sep 2012, 22:07
The last fix on the flight plan is the one YOU put there! Certainly you have the charts for the airports you operate to, so you can review them as part of your FLIGHT PLANNING and find the preferred arrival fixes...

7th Sep 2012, 00:20
STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Route) by definition is a link between enroute and final approach. Your enroute flight plan has an end point on your flight plan and you usually can find a STAR that connects to that point and leads you to final approach. You will find different STAR's starting from that point leading you to the RWY in use. Sometimes the STAR is called after the end point to help you identify it.
If your end point is for example called FUNNY then you might find a STAR called FUNNYA for RWY 01, FUNNYB for RWY 19. Works for SID's as well.
Sometimes the end point on the STAR is the same point as for the Intermediate or Center fix on the Approach plate. Sometimes the STAR ends in which means it will end with Radar Vectors.
Hope this helps...it will get easier.

Squealing Pig
7th Sep 2012, 00:57
Just ask ATC if in doubt and take any guess work out.

7th Sep 2012, 02:35
Using an FMC? Usual SOP is to select the landing runway first. It will list the STAR's that link to that runway.

BCN? I think it had 28 pages of departues in the FMC! :eek:

7th Sep 2012, 04:42
At some airport it is also written at the top of the STAR plate which direction you should be inbound from to use that STAR (eg ARRIVALS FROM SOUTH).

But the easiest and most technical way is to just look for the most wrinkled up STAR page in your route manual. ;)

7th Sep 2012, 04:57
So true, but often its the one page that is missing too.......,

with EFB, it is the last one you look at, and is always the one that is the bottom of the list, on page 2 of 2....


7th Sep 2012, 20:15
So true, but often its the one page that is missing too.......,
NEVER fly with missing or not update pages !!! :\

Robert G Mugabe
7th Sep 2012, 21:46
Your company may have the arrival as part of the PLOG ( paperwork ) plug that into the FMGS. If coming in to BCN for example via PUMAL The arrivals are A PUMAL 3/4/ or WHATEVER. That said the clearance limit is PUMAL and if not advised by the french politely ask to hold. That will get and onward frequency change ASAP. Use the experience of the person you are flying with or ask ATC ( They work for us )

10th Sep 2012, 05:29
Definitely not a "silly question".

It's really important that you brief the clearance limit on the STAR, and you will only know this if you know which STAR you are on.

I always try and get STAR clarification from ATC as then we all know what we will do should we have a comms failure.

11th Sep 2012, 11:36
Question already been answered. Normally you have been a hundred times so that all helps with experience.

I went somewhere fairly new the other day and they changed the routing all together. We have lots of expensive kit on board but no one has invented the 'crystal ball' yet! ;)

13th Sep 2012, 15:07
This last fix On the flight plan will be the same point regardless of runway yes?The last fix of the enroute segment tends to be so as one usually approaches the specific airport from the same direction. However, routing can be changed by dispatch to avoid congested sector (and CTOT that goes with it) or ATC can change it due some unforeseeable circumstance.