My Struggles at St Maarten

Today on a flight from Guyana I though I’d try to do an approach with a VOR. I don’t really think it was a success and I would like to be enlightened by some of you who actually know what they’re doing.


this was the chart I used

So this is how it went

When I initially set the VOR to nav 1 I was tracking it at 335 so I made a small turn to 350 so I could later intercept it at 308 like it says on the chart.

I began my descent about 80nm out and made sure I would level off at 4000ft near the VOR

My main issue on this was how to handle ATC. Approach was active and I asked for a visual approach for runway 10 and was hoping the controller might recognise my flight path. After he began vectoring me i then told the controller to disregard my request and put a new one in for flight following.

As I neared the airport approach handed me over to tower who asked for my intentions I panicked wondering whether I need to request a transition but instead I just made my landing request and he then asked me to go right downwind which was not where the chart wanted me to go I then had a Check the forum message and he then cleared me to go down the left

I descended to 1600 for my turn and waited to reach 9 DME I then did my turn and landed feeling like an idiot. Help would really be appreciated thanks!

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Approach handed you off to tower because we hand off flight following aircraft to tower when they’re within 10nms.

The likelihood of you being diverted off your flight plan is quite high. We don’t currently support this type of approach as approach and Tower will treat you as if you’re VFR so they’ll just give you a pattern entry, sequence and clearance.

Flight following then a transition request if needed followed by a request to land after you do the transition makes sense but you may not be able to complete the full VOR approach if you’re, for example, asked to turn base on your downwind turn or if you have to follow a sequence.

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Are the controllers aware of the real approaches or are there just not enough people doing them to warrant knowing each chart? By the way was the approach itself right? I struggle to understand how to transition from the GPS waypoints to flying with VOR. At around 80nm I just deviated from the flight plan so I could intercept the VOR at the right heading is that the right way to do it? other than that bit i and the ATC handling I think I was partly successful.

We are aviation nerds 🤓 so Radar controllers may know what it is but because we don’t support that type of approach (can’t actually clear you and have know way of knowing that you’re flying that approach, in-app) we’re not trained or tested on it.

We only focus on ILS, GPS (various types), Visual approaches, Radar Vectors and Flight Following. So we ignore the “irrelevant” charts when we are planning to open but they may be aware it exists but will have no way in-app of knowing you plan to fly it, like I said.

For the flight following portion, that’ll be pretty easy. It’s just Tower were it’ll get tricky because you will have to follow any sequencing so you may not be able to complete the entire approach.

That’s an example of one of the issues with Tower. They are trained to just treat you like anyone else flying inbound VFR, in that scenario. If you asked for a transition they’d let you, they may be a bit confused but they would (because we can’t actually deny the request lol), then you could have requested to land after transitioning and it might have worked.

It’s very satisfying if you can pull it all off in controlled airspace but high likelihood it won’t work out perfectly.

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Maybe a feature request is in order if there already isn’t one because I really enjoyed it it made me feel more of a pilot. Thanks for the replies I’ll feel more confident doing this next time but maybe in uncontrolled airspace for now.

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Well I think they’re incredibly boring and all you have to do is press two buttons and your set up. This approach lets you fly the actual aircraft.

What a useless reply bruh. Part of this game is learning and expanding your knowledge of aviation and this is the response you come up with? This sort of attitude normalizes being lazy and flying GPS fix to fix all day long. I applaud @William_Jones for attempting to try something new, and its not even really his fault it didn’t succeed, as Trio mentioned above, Infinite Flight doesn’t support it in regards to ATC. You can still go fly these approaches at an empty airport, or sometimes if you want you can directly message a controller at a quite airport of your intentions on the IFC and they may be willing to work with you and allow you to experiment. Good work for trying something new!

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Thanks for that reply to be honest his own reply was needlessly aggressive it just looks like he’s looking for a fight.

It’s a tricky idea to incorporate it into the game which isn’t built for a VOR APP, but the nice idea on doing an approach which isn’t well recognized amongst the ‘normal’ approaches in IF at the moment.
Possibly you could have requested the visual from approach, and just fly the VOR APP, and then when you hand off to tower, you are sort of on the final app for the RWY. I also wonder if there is any arrival route which looks similar to the VOR, maybe then you can descend (VNAV/LNAV) into that Star, and manually adjust accordingly, but nothing major so it looks like you arent flying it if you see my point. Is there terrain in the APP area? I’m not familiar with St. Martin.

Jack

Also, ur chart suggested valid in 2009, so maybe you can find a 2020 version, and then see any deviations which then again look similar to a STAR

Edit: my friend is a 330 pilot, i’ll ask him to send me a up to date VOR APP for this runway :)))). I’ll then send it to u if u want

Like I said above I did initially ask for the visual but the controller wanted to vector me so I then requested to fly VFR.

That’s very kind thanks!

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No probs. Will emssage him now. Any other charts?

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I agree with what Trio said above. It is very fun to do these approaches, but as of now, IFATC are not given the resources to clear you for such an approach. I definitely recommend doing these approaches at uncontrolled airports, though. They’re extremely fun and a nice little challenge sometimes!

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St Martin on its own will be fine thanks it’s my favourite approach.

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Is there a feature request for ATC commands for these approaches? I wouldn’t know what to search for.

i’d like a RNAV and VOR option

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I don’t think you can do a proper procedure turn when under approach control so I only try these type of approaches in the absence of ATC.

Not that I can find, but you are free to make one, of course!

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Hmmm, wonder who the controller was… and it was me.

As I’m new to radar, I try to focus on ILS/RV/VIS, everything I learned from training, so I have yet to geek out on some other types approaches.

I’ll try to learn this one. :)

Yes sorry for being difficult I didn’t have much confidence at the time. But if you look above at what @Trio said the current set of ATC commands don’t cover these approaches so it’s nothing on your end.