Why does ATC vector you away from the airport?

Why does ATC vector you away from the airport?
This is an interesting question as some of our pilots on the advanced server will always
reply with “unable” when giving vectors away from the airport.

There are several reasons why an ATC controller will do this, most important once are:

  •   Sequencing
    
  •   The pilot is coming in either to high, to fast or both.
    
  •   Terrain between the airport and the
    

airplane.

For sequencing alone there are several scenarios why you are send away from the airport, think
of:

  •   Busy airspace
    
  •   You are being vectored behind another airplane
    
  •   As there are no holdings available the controller could be making his own holding area where he is sending      you.
    

As an example I have added a picture of the Lambourne
arrival into London Heathrow, you can see the S – shaped approach. This is done
by ATC for sequencing and imagine what a mess it would be if everybody would
say “unable”?? I guess most of you are aware that LHR is one of the most busy
airports on the world and it runs at full capacity with 2 runways in use so
there is no discussion if the S – shaped approach technique works or not.

Here you can see that from “LAM” VOR the pilot will fly on a heading of 275 degrees for
11NM, then the magic starts as the pilot needs to turn AWAY from the airport
and intercept radial 128 degrees from “BNN” VOR. This radial will be followed
until reaching 19DME of BNN. So to clear it up, radial 128 is turning away from the airport. I hope this is clear now so please follow the instructions of the ATC at all time. If you as a pilot will
keep on saying “Unable” for 2 or 3 times you will be ghosted…

Radial: A radial is the magnetic course measured from the station

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Nice topic bro! 👍

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No, not all controllers use approach plates.

Some do, some don’t but this is just an example to show how it is done in real life. Takes way a lot of confusion I think from newbies.

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I do sometimes when I’m flying at home and I have time, but not when I’m on the go and I only have one device with me.

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I never am a approach controller but I have respect for them because of how hard there job probably is with people thinking their getting wrong vectors and not responding.

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Thats why you have an autopilot, it will make it much easier and you will have even time for a coffee. Basic heading and vertical speed and you can do magic.

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What @Aernout approach chart doesn’t show (it’s not a STAR chart btw, those preceded this and get you to LAM only) is that there are four hold points around EGLL. Therefore the approach is designed to allow for integration of arrivals coming in from four hold points in to one arrivals stream for the active landing runway.

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Personally, I will absolutely look at the chart before I do approach somewhere I’ve never been before. Now, there’s no way to completely replicate the arrivals because, as Aernout said, we get far to many ‘unables’. But it does give good info for descents and pattern flow.

As always, fantastic post @Aernout!

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