Paro Controlling Guide

A few months ago, @Shane and I started giving each other radar challenges. This lead to my love of terrain and subsequently, Paro International Airport. One of the harder ones he gave me was “vector me into Paro without planning”. With sweat rolling down my face, I managed to get him down safely with zero terrain busts. Don’t tell him I told you this, but he crashed me into the side of a mountain when he tried afterward.

My goal with this topic is to encourage and help other controllers service Paro. It has a wonderful approach and deserves a lot more attention than it gets. Please keep in mind that this is my personal method of controlling VQPR. I’m sure there are many other functional plans, this is just the one that has worked best for my purposes.

Paro Controlling Guide

1. Airport Info
2. Tower
3. Departures
4. Arrivals
5. Missed Approaches
6. Miscellaneous Items


Airport Info

Paro International Airport (IATA: PBH, ICAO: VQPR) is 3.2nm from Paro in a deep valley, surrounded by mountains with peaks as high as 18000ft. It is considered by many as the world’s most challenging commercial airport to land at, with less than two dozen pilots that are certified to fly in or out. Flights are only authorized when the weather is above visual meteorological conditions (VMC), which in Infinite Flight is 3 statute miles or more (3.4.1 of the ATC Manual).

Within Infinite Flight, Paro only has a Tower station. To man the radar facility, one must open Kolkata Center out of VQPR. This guide will explain how to control Paro when Runway 33 is in use, which is the majority of the time. Below, you can find the airport’s charts in the form of a PDF.

https://vau.aero/navdb/chart/VQPR.pdf


Tower

IMG_6735


Legend
Item Meaning
Red Line Arrival Exit Points
Purple Line Departure Taxi Route

Controlling Paro Tower is very similar to most Local Frequency experiences. Both runways may be used, so when Runway 33 is used for arrivals, it is also used for departures. However, there are a few noteworthy things that make Tower at Paro a slight challenge.

Limited Taxiways – There is only one mainstream taxiway at Paro and three main runway exits. The Tower controller may need to utilize their progressive taxi commands to deconflict risky situations.

Airport Diagram and Ground Layout

5a2f5b6f799d4_VQPR_Paro_Chart1.thumb.jpg.07f6bdc7532e17c4f208e3acf9d3bb61

Terrain Management – Due to challenging terrain that pilots encounter upon departure from Runway 33, Tower controllers should maximize the space between departures to allow aircraft to fly turns at their most comfortable and safe speeds. As a general rule of thumb, departures should wait until the first aircraft as passed PR812, pictured in the Departures section.


Departures

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 6.40.51 PM

@ Vector Speed
Check In / Flight Following 340º, 20000ft ≤ 180kts
1nm from VQPR 290º ≤ 200kts
PR812 340º Speed at Discretion
20000ft Continue as Filed N/A
An “expedite altitude change” may be required in some instances.

This departure route consists of a quick turn to the right and then left upon takeoff from Runway 33 to avoid a hill on upwind. At PR812, aircraft may be turned back to that upwind heading and climbed straight out to 20000ft, at which point they may continue as filed or resume own navigation.

Find the ifatc.org Paro map here. The gray fixes are the approach fixes, while the blue fixes are the departure ones.


Arrivals

IMG_6736

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 6.28.44 PM

@ Vector Speed
PR777 Direct to PR732, 11000ft ≤ 190kts
PR732 Direct to PR712, 10000ft ≤ 150kts
PR712 010º, RAIS ≤ 150kts
1nm from PR712 280º, 9500ft ≤ 150kts
PR708 Clearance Speed at Discretion
Legend
Item Meaning
Purple Arrows PR777 Intercept Cone
Yellow Star RAIS Point
Yellow Line Airport is Visible

The infamous Runway 33 approach. It begins by intercepting aircraft at PR777 at 13000ft. At PR777, they are clear to descend to 11000ft and can fly direct to PR732. As Approach, it is important to time these turns correctly. The later into the approach, the less room for error. At PR732, a turn to PR712 and a descent to 10000ft will suffice. At PR712, turn the aircraft to 010º. Once they are exactly 1nm away from PR712 (use the drag and vector tool to find this), give them a 270º or 280º heading. The goal is for the aircraft to pass through PR710 and PR708 without an additional vector.

Throughout the approach, aircraft should be at lower speeds than standard at other airports. 150kts at PR712 is great for the controller and pilot, as even autopilot will make the sharp turn at that speed. Aircraft should be told to report airport in sight around PR712. While they won’t be able to immediately see the airport, this lets you focus on other things when the aircraft is on base. However, around PR708, it is almost guaranteed that the pilot will have eyes on the airport at which point they may be cleared and handed to Tower or Unicom.

Find the ifatc.org Paro map here. The gray fixes are the approach fixes, while the blue fixes are the departure ones.


Missed Approaches

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.57.37 PM

@ Vector Speed
Executing Missed Straight Ahead, 16000ft ≤ 160kts
PR810 Right turn to PRO VOR ≤ 160kts
PRO VOR Direct to TAKTI ≤ 200kts
TAKTI Decend and intercept PR777 ≤ 190kts
Missed Approach Chart

vqpr-chart


For the missed approach, have aircraft climb upwind to 16000ft at 160kts. Once side-by-side with PR810, turn them right, direct to the PRO VOR. At PRO, direct to TAKTI. At TAKTI, descend them back down to PR777 for the new approach. If a hold is necessary, hold the aircraft at TAKTI at 16000ft.


Miscellaneous Items

  • Just a tip, display the R33-X approach using the PROC menu to find the appropriate waypoints faster!

  • Thank you to @ColtonS for helping me derive these exact headings, altitudes, and fixes. I couldn’t have done this if you hadn’t come out and flown for me multiple times, always offering elaborate feedback.

  • Post below if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. Also, let me know if any of this helps you as I’d be happy to make more for unique airports such as Innsbruck, Juneau, Queenstown, and Madeira.

66 Likes

Awesome guide @lucaviness!

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I want to fly that approach, looks cool!

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Thanks for the guidance @lucaviness 😏✌️

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It’s an awesome one…Always puts your skills to the test

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I landing at this airport with a B747 plane The landing was hard.

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Finally someone courageous enough to control my fav challenging airport! Looking forward to come across more ATC action here and other challenging places!

Too bad we’re missing one of avgeek’s bucket list Drukair to go along with this in Infinite Flight, nevertheless, thank you for posting this awesome guide for us!

Been crashing my plane for one week straight now on RWY15… that darn final S-turn…

4 Likes

Wow, Luca, great job with this!

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Beautiful!

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Thank you for this amazing guide Luca, definitely something to try in an Officer career ;)

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Thanks for this lovely & detailed guide @lucaviness!! 😀

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im not really a pro at ATC, be advised. Can you technically just say continue as filed and give them landing clearance later, or is that not vectoring?

I guess, but what’s the fun in that? It’s very rewarding to manually vector a pilot through the mountains, rounding 0.7nm wide valleys at 1100ft AGL. Additionally, there are some turns that the filed approach isn’t always able to make.

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Very nice Luca! Paro is a pretty cool airport 👀

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Glad I could help!

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Yeah that is definitely better, and harder. Great skill Luca!

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747?😳😂…Wow that must be hard

Ah yes, this airport. Probably my favourite. Had a few of my trainees vector me in as a part of radar training. It was before we got STARs on the map, so an extra challenge, though I did give them time to prepare. Amazing airport.

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Thanks so much @lucaviness!

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I’ll have to attempt this myself one of these times, thanks for the well put together explanation, Luca!

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