Can I file a STAR if the first altitudes are too high for the plane?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by SkyBound, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. SkyBound

    SkyBound Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi all, instrument student here and have a question about SIDs and STARs. I understand the basic concept for what they’re for, but it got me wondering...can I file one if I can’t meet the altitude restriction of a certain segment? I’m sure it’s a dumb question but comparing the oroca and/or mea of a certain area to what is listed on the procedure there can be a 10000ft diff or more. It seems like it might be used to transition fast movers to the enroute structure, but would that prevent me from using it in a Cessna that might struggle reaching that altitude? (Mainly just using it for lateral Nav)

    An example is a flight from KAHN to KTPF. It looks like one of the most common filed routes is using the TAY.LZARD6. The first segment from TAY has an mea of 15000, which could be a problem for a fully loaded Cessna. I presume I couldn’t file this, but maybe I do TAY LZARD.LZARD6 to make it work? Same question would apply to a SID with really high altitudes.

    Thanks!
     
  2. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    As long as the STAR doesn't say something like "Turbojet Only", I don't see why not. Not getting high enough for the restrictions happens sometimes with the jets too - on a short leg (DFW-AUS is an example that I sometimes fly) we'll be cruising lower, and occasionally it'll be lower than the first few crossing restrictions.

    Regardless, there's no harm in filing it - if ATC wants something different, they'll give it to you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  3. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I think you can.
    (Having said that, I have pretty much stopped filing them because....they are going to give you what they want. And so often it is not the one you file. So you have to make a change after you have your mental plan; after you have studied the sid/star. I am now 'just be patient and see what they want').
    As far as this one and the altitude, is that for a balloon down there. It's Fla which is pretty darned flat. If so, they are going to send you somewhere else by vectors or another route.
    I have flown several stars in which they put me much lower than depicted, because of my slower-than-airliner speed.
     
  4. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Just be careful... Some language on the STARs make it look like you need to just descend on your own to make the restrictions. Before you descend to make a restriction, be sure ATC tells you to descend via the STAR.
     
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  5. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    I filed a STAR exactly once. Didn't get it. Also filed a SID. Didn't get that either. But I've gotten both them without filing them.

    Here's my take (which I think sounds similar to @Kritchlow). I don't really see any reason to file a STAR or a SID. A SID and a STAR are not canned routes of flight in the way Preferred IFR Routes or TEC routes are. Instead, they canned ATC instructions and, like any ATC instruction, ATC gives them or doesn't as needed. Filing or not filing essentially makes no difference. As part of my planning, I look through them, determine which ones are reasonable for my route, and am prepared to accept them if they are assigned.

    On the "can you," yes. For example, the DRONE arrival into the Norfolk VA area with "MEAs" up to FL190, is regularly assigned when heading there from the Raleigh area. Those altitudes aren't restrictions; they are not really "MEAs" in the true sense either, since the enroute chart for the exact same route shows MEAs no higher than 2,600'.
     
  6. Unit74

    Unit74 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If you put no SID/STAR in your flight plan, you may still get the procedure waypoints, but it will be w/o the various alt restrictions and not labeled as such.
     
  7. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Really? Why wouldn't the controller say "Cross WYPNT at 5,000" as part of your clearance or as an instruction if that's was what the traffic situation required?
     
  8. Unit74

    Unit74 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    What I am saying is you could get the same routing w/o the restrictions if you cannot meet the climb rates or alt requirements. Clearly a PA28 is not going to be able to fly a SID route designed for big iron performance. But the routing can be followed so that ATC knows where you will be and it simplifies the Coms. That's what it really does for the controller sans the known alt on the SID/STAR at specified waypoints. I have filed no SID/Star and got the clearance verbally of the SID sans the altitude step ups which I could not meet before.
     
  9. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    I respond the way I did because you talked about "No SID/STAR." That might not be relevant since a SID or STAR with crossing restrictions can be issued with instructions which don't use them.

    But just to see if we're on the same page, do you have an example?
     
  10. Unit74

    Unit74 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Of what type of exemplar are you looking for? :dunno:
     
  11. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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  12. Unit74

    Unit74 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    What are you looking for, my note pad with CRAFT on it or something? It's obvious you are trying to prove a point about something. Just say it.
     
  13. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    I don't want your notepad. Just the STAR. I'm not trying to prove a point. I just want to see if your example has altitude restrictions. The thought came from @Kritchlow's comment about "descend via" instructions.

    As an example, @SkyBound used the LIZARD arrival in the original post. There are no altitude restrictions on that procedure. Assigned as a STAR or assigned as a series of waypoints longhand would make no difference from a descent profile standpoint.
     
  14. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I wouldn't file something unless I could fly it as written. If they want to assign it to me with different altitudes, that's up to them.
     
  15. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Would you file a Victor airway with an altitude you couldn’t fly?
     
  16. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I have been issued side at major class B airports, always were amended by ATC after takeoff,just makes the clearance easier on everybody.
     
  17. Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In Houston or Dallas you are going to get the SID or STAR in your clearance so I just go ahead and file it just to speed up the mental memory part of repeating the issued clearance.

    Of course once you take off you are almost always going to be given vectors anyway.

    Anyway - I just file the procedures knowing that I will fly them amended to some degree anyway.
     
  18. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    @SkyBound, another way to go about this is to use one of the resources that shows you what routing ATC has been giving between your departure and destination points. Fltplan.com does this, as does ForeFlight, and I think the other popular EFB's too.

    Once I started doing this, and using the most common offering, the frequency of "...as filed" went up. Making copying and reading back the clearance much simpler, and being better prepared to depart because I already had that stuck into ForeFlight and my CX80 box.

    Also, as @kayoh190 said, if ATC wants to give you something different, they will. One feature about FF that I enjoy is the "here is the expected route" notification. And updates. So by the time I'm ready to ask for my clearance, I got a really good idea of what the final reading will be. Because of this, I have the plate all queued up, have read through it twice/thrice, and am ready to go.

    And as someone also hinted at.... even the clearance you got might not be the what you actually fly. More than once I've been given radar vectors to a particular SID as part of the clearance along with a STAR. But once checked in with Departure, ATC provides just a few vectors followed by a "climb to XXX altitude and proceed direct destination". So after all the CRAFT madness, the actual flight was VFR flight following simple.
     
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  19. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    In some airplanes you may get vectors once airborne, and seeing as though this forum is primarily for small GA aircraft that probably holds true.
    That said, for larger, faster airplanes you will likely fly most of the departure.
     
  20. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Some better and more useful than others. Fltplan, for example, is the most extensive and will display ones from months earlier. Aerovie, only about a week. I once asked about that and there are apparently different (intermediate) sources for the data.
     
  21. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    You may, but be careful what you ask for. The AIM "strongly encourages" the filing of DPs (a SID is a DP):

    5-2-9.c.
    Pilots operating under 14 CFR Part 91 are
    strongly encouraged to file and fly a DP at night,
    during marginal Visual Meteorological Conditions
    (VMC) and Instrument Meteorological Conditions
    (IMC), when one is available.​

    You only want to do that, though, when it simplifies your flight planning. Filing a SID with a climb gradient you can't make would cause you to hit an obstruction. If you know the SID funnels traffic toward New York, but you're going to San Francisco, don't file it. Likewise if it's labelled "Turbine Only" and you fly props. The MEA, if above your capability, could be for ATC reasons besides obstructions, so it doesn't help you plan that portion of your route—obstacle clearance remains YOUR responsibility if you file it.

    Ditto for STARS. Don't file one for the runway in the opposite direction from which all the other planes are landing.
     
  22. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Yes you can. Should you and will you get it depends. It is not uncommon for ATC to give STARS at altitudes below those on the Charts. Sometimes they even solicit it. Like "do you have the LZARD6 Arrival." They can assign altitudes below the so called MEA's on the Chart. Even though they call them MEA's, usually they really are not. They are 'procedure' altitudes designed to accommodate the flow of traffic, not ensure terrain clearance and NAVAID reception like a true MEA. Here's some of the Controllers rules about it.

    b. Route of flight including a STAR/RNAV
    STAR/FMSP and STAR/RNAV STAR/FMSP transition,
    if appropriate. Assign a STAR/RNAV
    STAR/FMSP and STAR/RNAV STAR/FMSP transition
    to any aircraft in lieu of other routes; e.g.,
    airways or preferential arrival routes when the
    routings are the same.
    The clearance must include the
    name and transition, if necessary, of the STAR/RNAV
    STAR/FMSP to be flown.

    Sometimes they solicit from you to fly the STAR, if you have it, because it can reduce verbiage. LZARD6 is a lot easier to say than "Taylor, Taylor 173 radial GRASN, Gators 183 radial DADES, ST. Petersburg 045 radial TUMPY....

    As far as Altitude is concerned, their requirement is to assign you altitudes at or above the Minimum IFR Altitude, which will be well below the so called MEA's on that Chart

    c. Altitude instructions, as follows:
    1. Assigned altitude; or
    2. Instructions to vertically navigate on the STAR/FMSP or STAR/FMSP transition.

    What Jackonsville Center and Tampa Approaches Standard Operating Procedures are concerning Aircraft below the 'Charted' altitudes are, I don't know.