Descent or Approach?

When in contact with centre flying towards your destination airport, when would you request approach and when would you request descent (via a STAR). I’ve been confused with these two similar messages and would like to know how they differ and when to request each one.

Thanks, Jacob

Approach is where you want vectors towards the airport at the controllers discretion!
STARS mean you want to continue as filed on your flight plan with a verified approach.
Hope this helps!
Check out the user guide for more!

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Hey there!

If approach is active at your destination airport, you won’t need to request an approach (ILS, GPS, vis, etc.) with center. Simply check in upon initial contact, and when you’re about a minute away from TOD, request descent via your STAR. Center will hand you off to approach around FL180. Once tuned to approach, request your preferred service.

If approach isn’t active at your destination airport, you will likely need to request an approach with center as well. The process is the same as above, except for one thing – once you pass FL180, request an approach with center and we will try to accommodate it. I say “try” because center is currently unable to ask pilots to report airport in sight, meaning that visual approaches with center are very hard to conduct.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. Will_A also made a great post that explains how to communicate with radar during your flight; I’ve linked that post below. See you around!


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