STARs management

This document is made for radar controllers and IFATC members at the Officer rank. Arrival procedures at an airport can differ greatly based on the airport type and environment. Radar controllers should thoroughly understand their airport’s procedures and how each arrival is integrated with one another and the obstacles/airspace around it.

ILS Intercept

Every ILS approach intercept should be executed with an altitude in. The question now, for an aircraft following a procedure is: when to include a heading too?
The radar officer has to include a heading on the intercept command when the filled arrival procedure is joining the final leg on the LOC by an important angle, which is more than 30° of the runway heading approximately.
Reciprocally, a filed procedure intercepting the final approach course by a reasonable angle doesn’t need a heading but only an altitude included with intercept instruction. The aircraft can be cleared with altitude only when the filled procedure joins the extended final at a distance of 20nm or greater.

In this example, the angle where you should give the intercept has approx. a 90° heading difference with runway heading. This is not considered as a reasonable angle, so you should include heading+altitude when giving the ILS intercept.

In this example, the filed procedure has a reasonable angle. Simply give an altitude in that case.

In this example, the filled procedure joins the LOC 20+nm out of the airport. Simply clear with altitude only then.

To make an approach shorter

When the pilot has filed a long STAR and/or transition, you can deviate them from the STAR if the terrain and traffic allows it.

In this example, the pilot has to follow a pretty long way to the ILS intercept. If environmental conditions allow it, you can simply vector him to the base and give an intercept then. Make sure, however, that he is at an acceptable altitude to make this (no more than 2000ft to lose on this base) and eventually manually descend him a bit earlier to make sure of this if you’re sure about your taken decision. This kind of action is always appreciated!

Training airports

EPKK
OEJN
LBSF

No Filed transition

Some pilots flying to your airport may have not filed an approach procedure, but a STAR only. Then you need to give vectors at the end of the STAR to one of your radar pattern sides.

In this example, the pilot has just filled a STAR (no approach). Then you’ll start vectoring the aircraft once he arrives at the end of this filled STAR. A good option is to vector him to the right DW, then the right base, and then you give the ILS intercept.

Training airports

EDDS
KAPA
KBJC

Tight approach procedures

Some filed procedures you’ll meet in your radar career will be tight, in which case the intercept would be difficult to give correctly for the ILS approach. You should then deviate the aircraft from this procedure when he’s at a point you can vector him to your radar pattern sides from.

In this situation, the pilot filled an approach procedure following his STAR which seems pretty tight and difficult to give a correct intercept here. Then, you have the right to deviate this aircraft to the DW giving him vectors until ILS intercept. Remember that you should let the aircraft continue on what he filed to the maximum extent possible.

Training airport

LFPG
EGLL

Point merge

The point merge is a particular set of arrival procedures that the Officer can find in some airports where different approach points can meet.
Following the special diagram you should, when the airport environment allows it, deviate the aircraft from what he filled. Here’s how it looks.

Simply make sure the aircraft is at an acceptable altitude when deviating from the procedure.
Then the situation is an aircraft following a close arc and is vectored off of the arc to intercept the singular merge point.

Training airports

SKBO
MMMX
MMGL

Any questions about these concepts are always welcome via DMs or in the thread. Thanks to everyone for reading I sincerely hope it helped.

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Excellent guide, perfect examples! Well done, Alexandre.

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Nice Guide, this will really help Controllers!

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Yess! Finally! I have struggled for sometime with the STARs and when to deviate them. This an awesome guide Alexandre!

Thank you Shane, sincerly appreciate you liked it!

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Awesome guide and lots of knowledge to pick up for future flights.

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Awesome! The point merge example is especially important, as many major airports already have it or will add it in the near future.

That’s all the goal of the document, and I’m really happy if it helps. Thanks Lawin!

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This is helpful for me as i am not good at these things

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Yes Henri you’re in radar training, happy to hear that :) !

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This is helpful. Thank you for making this! :)

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Thank you for the feedback mate!

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Very helpful guide, great job :)

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Thanks for the review Nicholas!

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Great job 👏👌 Alexandre !! This goes to my bookmarks 😀 for reference. Thank you!!

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Very well made guide and also a nice read for us ‘pilots‘! When traffic levels allow shortcuts are definitely appreciated. Thanks!

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Very happy to read that bud. Btw, when having a look back on it anyway, don’t hesitate to ask precisions if needed. Cheers!

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Bon boulot Alexandre, merci beaucoup 🤩👏

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Hello Julian! Yes I think it’s definitely a great way to take for pilots to understand how ATC will manage your STAR, you’re entirely right. Very appreciated!

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Merci beaucoup, thanks a lot Dimitri ❤️

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