Do pilots always use STARs?

Do pilots always use STARs when flying. I’ve noticed a couple of times when flights on FR24 don’t fully follow STARs and take a more direct route to the airport. Are STARs always used or only when the airspace becomes busy?

I think STARs are always recomended, but you don’t have to use them if don’t want. But when ATC tells you to then you must use them.

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This could because the airport isn’t busy and they can take more of a direct route instead of following the whole procedure. It happens to my dad sometimes.

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Normally STARs (or RNAV approaches at times like at many German airports) are used for planning purposes and are at least initially followed. If traffic levels allow, which is rather often, especially nowadays, the case, shortcuts or other changes to the approach are common, either with a „Direct to …“, a vector, or a visual approach clearance. Other changes (late runway changes, emergencies, …) are obviously possible as well, but the examples above should cover most of the changes!

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Okay thank you!

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Ah right I see. It makes sense considering many STARs wind there way to the final approach instead of taking a direct route but thanks for clearing things up for me!

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yep no problem!

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No. Look at flights fro the carribeans to EWR. IMO this is a problem with the STAR required atis is IF becuase forcing you to use a star in that specific case requires a fairly early rerouting to avoid restricted airspace.

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Like Cuba?

What?

No like TBPB
Cuba flights can go via Miami

Which airspace?

So all major airports have STARS. STARS help as a normal highway for planes that are coming into major airports. IE. DFW,LAX, ORD, and more. Sometimes ATC will give a more direct routing to the airport depending on traffic flow and time of day. But unless ATC gives you a short cut off the STAR pilots are expected to follow them all the way into the airport and make every speed and crossing restriction

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Generally, yes, but there’s alot of exceptions. Especially for larger airports with a lot of traffic. I’ve noticed that many times aircraft will follow the general route of the STAR, but they’re given exception from speed and altitude restrictions. They also get vectors often. That said, I’d still at least plan to use a STAR for most flights.

If there are no vectors or instructions given though, pilots are indeed expected to follow the STAR.

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Also, operators don’t have to file with a SID or STAR. Someimes the OFP will just call for an airway to a waypoint, and then direct. That would usually be because there is no appropriate STAR.
Also, sometimes a shortcut can be expected. So, you might know that generally when flying into ABC airport, you know they always clear you direct the XYZ VOR. This can cause issues with the VNAV profile, so pilots will plan and manipulate the FMC accordingly. Problem is of course if they don’t get that shortcut, they have to quickly re-add the original STAR. Although that usually isn’t too much of an issue. But off-topic toward the end there.

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Yes I do all the time, if I’m able and traffic allows I’ll go direct to a waypoint as this happens irl but I’ll always fly by a SID/STAR

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As with literally everything in aviation, it depends.

Can you use your strobes on the taxi way/ramp? -it depends

Can you fly above 250KIAS below 10,000ft? -it depends

Do pilots always use STARs/SIDs? -it depends

Many talented and well informed users above have highlighted just that. Typically, (and speaking to part 121/135/some 91 ops) published procedures are followed. Traffic flow, weather, emergencies, etc can alter the validity and necessity of procedures being followed. Deviating from those procedures is done (again, typically) in coordination with ATC.

So, the point is as pilots we use our SA, understanding of our aircraft and it’s performance limitations, as well as other factors (company SOP’s, FAR’s, etc) to determine how the approach or departure will be handled and choreographed.

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I recommend using them, it just makes the fpl easier to use and make. Also its easier for ATC to control.

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Aircraft are often radar vectored off a STAR. Not to mention some aerodromes do not have STARs.

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