Now its starting to feel real–SIDs & STARs

Currently in flight planning we are learning about SIDs and STARs together with terminal departures, en-route navigation and hi and low level airways.  All of this is pretty much courtesy of the Jeppesen Airway Manual.

To many, Jeppesen is just a company, however he was actually a person (care of Wikipedia) called Elrey Borge Jeppesen, a pilot himself working for Varney Airlines, who jeppesen airway manualwas the first to make aeronautical charts for pilots to navigate in flight. The information he collected and the charts he drew were at first only for personal use, but fellow pilots quickly saw the benefits of using these charts and Jeppesen started selling copies of his chart book for 10 dollars. Other pilots started to collect data on their own routes and handing this to Jeppesen for him to include in his navigation book.

United Airlines, the airline Jeppesen worked for in the late 1930s after Varney Airlines had merged with several other companies to form United Airlines, was one of the first airlines to start using Jeppesen’s charts. After a while the chart business started taking up so much of Jeppesen’s time that he quit his job as a Captain and became dedicated to making charts

Now, for airlines they literally have hundreds of these things and so for our ground school exams they narrow the number of plates and charts that we will be asked questions on so that we only have to carry one of these 2kg folders around with us/sift through.  This is one of the reasons why you see pilots carrying very heavy bags around with them – they are loaded down with charts.  These days, the charts have been moved to an electronic format (for the airlines that will fork out the capital investment of course), many pilots these days carry something like an iPad with them that contains all of their charts, access to work documents/intranet, download/upload data to/from the aircraft etc etc and it is known as an Electronic Flight Bag of “EFB” (everything in aviation has a TLA) and replaces the weighty flight bag of old.  So if you see a pilot carrying a large bag but it looks pretty light, then it probably just has his lunch in it.

So, back to the ground school thing.  We are currently working through how to read and interpret the maps, partly for the exam, but also because (as I found out this week when given another Jeppesen folder full of local plates) we will have to use them for instrument flying when we begin full instrument approaches and departures.

So what are these SIDs, STARs and plates then?

SIDs and STARs are procedures and checkpoints used to enter and leave the airway system by aircraft operating on IFR flight plans. There is a defined transition point at which an airway and a SID or STAR intersect.

A SID, or Standard Instrument Departure, defines a pathway out of an airport and onto the airway structure. A SID is sometimes called a Departure Procedure (DP). SIDs are unique to the associated airport.

A STAR, or Standard Terminal Arrival Route, (‘Standard Instrument Arrival’ in the UK) defines a pathway into an airport from the airway structure. STARs can be associated with more than one arrival airport, which can occur when two or more airports are in close proximity (e.g., San Francisco and San Jose).

A SID for Paris Charles de Gaulle from my ground school Jeppesen

SIDs Stars

As you can see from the above example in my Jeppesen manual, they can look quite daunting and there are between 3 and 30 of these for each airport depending on how many runways, how busy and what the surrounding area is like.  Fortunately the ones I will be using for Spain are slightly less complex, however I also have the local controllers to deal with who often make a pilots life so much more difficult than it needs to be (a bit like the Highways Agency shutting all but 1 lane of the M25 to put miles of cones out but no one is around doing any work)

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~ by globalste on July 19, 2011.

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