STARs required doesn’t require you to use STARs

October, 30, 2020 by ,

From the ATC Manual:

4.1.6 — SID/STAR Use Req: This command should be used when heavy traffic exists and SID/STAR use is essential for traffic management OR for events and/or main hub airports (see 4.1.7 below).

A common misconception within the controlling community is that certain ATIS commands limit you as controller, so you choose to include it or exclude it from ATIS because you believe it will limit you.

The truth though is that allowing light aircraft doesn’t disallow you from denying light aircraft on an individual basis via a miscellaneous message. Allowing pattern work doesn’t disallow you from denying pattern work on an individual basis in the takeoff clearance. Requiring STARs does not disallow the radar controller from vectoring aircraft off their flight plan.

It is not a requirement that they follow their flight plan, you can and should vector aircraft when you see a conflict if other methods such as speed commands won’t suffice. Take it from a real-world center controller, Michael Schoelen.

When asked “what is the most effective method you use to maintain spacing between arrivals as Approach or Center”, Michael said:

We always do vectors to get the spacing, speeds to keep them. So if you have 5 tied, all you do is vector them, get them far enough apart fo separation, get them at the same alt, assign the same speeds, and you should have AND keep your spacing.

There are certain airports where STARs are not up to date in-app which will require you to create original strategies if you’re working radar, but for the vast majority of airports, the STARs can handle the traffic load.

The future is holds. The future is more involvement with Center. As someone who was excited to control Center when v20.1 came out, it saddens me to see STARs not used because it is hell to try to work with an airport that is not requiring STARs. You can’t properly gauge whether or not you’re giving approach proper spacing without STARs, and you can’t hand approach a problem just like how approach can’t hand tower a problem.

STARs are efficient and easier on those we service, the pilots. Their flight plans were made for them.

Be smart and keep it simple. List the STARs in ATIS, require them when it’s busy, then work in the moment instead of limiting yourself beforehand.

Kyle Boas is the Founder of the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Supervisor and Infinite Flight Appeals team member. — More