ATC's lack of use of STARs and go right to vectoring

I used to avoid controlled airports due to potential vectoring which brings along additional flight times, sometimes up to 20-30 minutes. With the addition of STARs, a well controlled airspace just allows us to “continue as filed” which works beautifully. But as airspaces get busy, it seems we keep moving right back to vectoring. Why is that? Is it pilots not filing a proper flight plan? Is it ATC not familiar with controlling with STARs?

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Because of traffic levels overflowing the STAR. Approach controllers are trained to do what they do.

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Just like in the real world, in unprecedented situations, ATC would take charge of the airspace, and Infinite Flight ticks the box for unprecedented due to very high traffic levels.

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The traffic levels at IFATC hubs often exceeds normal traffic, even when on a normal day. This means that sometimes the controllers have to use vectors to keep crashes from happening, instead of letting pilots “continue as filed.* Just like the real world where ATC will takeover the airspace and use vectors if needed. Albeit, it’s annoying because it adds extra flight time, but it’s what has to happen to keep the airspace safe.

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On the topic of STARs, when flying online, and into an ATC managed region, is it mandatory for a flightplan to contain a STAR? Same question applies for departures and SIDs?

It depends. If the ATIS for that airport says “Use of Arrival Procedures recommended” then you should use them. If the ATIS says “Use of Arrival Procedures required”, then you must otherwise you’ll most likely be denied entry into the airspace. You can check the ATIS for the airport you’re arriving to even when far away through the use of D-ATIS (Digital ATIS). To do this, tap on the arrival airport, then select the WX tab and you’ll see the D-ATIS there. (D-ATIS is basically just an electronic version of the ATIS you can hear when tuning into the ATIS frequency). If the airport is uncontrolled, you’re free to do whatever.

That being said, I would personally recommend always setting up STARs for your arrival airport and SIDs for your departure airport.

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To add to what @Maxim said if you create your fpl using fpltoif.com its likely to already have a SID and STAR in place just that in IF it looks like a regular fpl and doesn’t indicate to anyone checking that you’re using SIDs or STARs.
So you might wanna add them before pushing back and delete the previous waypoints in place so as to not ruin your fpl.

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Thanks for the info, im grade 2 but ill remember it for future use :)

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Yeah i know about that one tnx

Like any street or highway, sometimes a STAR can get overloaded with traffic. In those cases it’s necessary for ATC to temporarily resort to vectoring in order to ease congestion.

To add to everything said above, you can message a controller if you’re questioning a specific experience. Everyone uses different strategies, especially when controlling radar.

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The controllers vector you because it is an efficient way to deal with heavy traffic, and tends to work well.

Sometimes the amount of traffic are unreal, it dont allow to use the STARs all the time.

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Thanks for that suggestion! I will try that.

Finally… someone who said it!

(Although inside I knew it’s because of congested traffic sometimes…)

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One of the more common issues is multiple planes calling into approach on top of one another (literally Realism™ at its best) or the trailing plane calling in while doing 100kts more than the plane 3 NM in front. In that instance, someone has to get vectors. Maintain adequate spacing and you are more likely to be able to follow your flight plan.

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I always try my best to accommodate those who come in on a STAR, but sometimes we are forced to vector if you intercept to the ILS cone is equal to or greater than 90* as was recently outlined in IFATC. You may want to just try to fly a GPS approach then to cheat the system, a lot of use controllers will be less likely to vector you off course then.

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Yes that’s exactly what just happened with me yesterday, thank you for this info! There’s this STAR approaching from the North (Oregon) into KLAX, heading 90° into the middle part of the cone. Was wondering why I got vectored, now I know that it’s procedural.

EDIT: I just looked it up again. Turns out I’ve been using Arrivals as Approach all these times😂 my bad!

I personally love using STAR’s. They’re very useful, and less work for me to do :).
Sometimes i do have to vector and pull aircraft off the STAR.
These reasons include:

  • spacing (if speed command won’t be enough)
  • proper intercept (stated by @Aceorbit “but sometimes we are forced to vector if you intercept to the ILS
    cone is equal to or greater than 90* as was recently outlined in IFATC”
  • you haven’t filed a FPL
  • You req RV

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