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Guest John Girard

Challenge STAR Arrival Procedure

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Guest John Girard

Last night, 24 Aug, when requesting IFR clearance from KSMF to KSFO, the KSMF tower controller wanted me to accept the MOD5 arrival. I was not familiar with the arrival procedure and insisted upon the flight plan that I had filed. He eventually cleared me for my filed flight plan. I haven't flown with BVA for some time and the arrival procedure was new to me. I was probably rude in my refusal of the MOD5 and I do sincerely apologize for that. Now - my question: I was under the impression that STAR approaches were not for general aviation a/c. Obviously, I was wrong. Until now, I had expected ATC vectors until the glide slope. This seems to have changed. How can I get up to speed on the current procedures? Again, I apologize for being pig headed. Thanks!

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Guest Cameron Laramee

Hey John,

STAR's are generally used by airliners and large aircraft, but that is largely because those are the aircraft that normally operate at airports large enough to have a STAR. Additionally, many STAR's are restricted to turbojet only or >250 kts only. However, there are still STAR's which you can fly with a GA aircraft, and ATC will normally expect you to fly one if it is appropriate for your aircraft and direction of arrival. If you want a bit of a refresher on IFR charts and procedures, take a look at this AOPA Air Safety Institute online course. It takes you through departure, enroute, arrival, and approach using your choice of Jeppesen or Aeronav charts.



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I concur w/Cameron. You will often find STARs for GA aircraft at feeder airports in congested airspace. But, even absent a published STAR (and SIDs, for that matter), ATC facilities often have "standardized" or "preferential" departure and arrival procedures. Such procedures (being unpublished) would, of course, have to be spelled out as part of the route (assuming the pilot was unfamiliar with the area and did not file the preferred departure/arrival procedure).


Using standardized procedures (including SIDs/STARs) cuts down on the coordination between Controllers within a given facility as well as between ATC facilities. And when you cut down on verbal coordination, you increase safety by decreasing the chance of miscommunication.

----M B Ingersoll

----FAA Retired

----ZFW 1984-2008

----USAF 1973-1983

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Guest John Girard

Guys, thank you for the guidance and information. The whole thing makes sense. I'm going to get into the AOPA info and bring myself up to speed.

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A few of the higher level IFR Pilot Ratings Program flights review STARs as well. Feel free to check out the relevant pages and fly a few of them when we return to Boston after the Getaway.

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