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Sun May 20, 2001 10:22 pm

Hi! I have 2 questions,

1) What is a STAR?
2) How can you determine a radial, and how do you use it?

Any answer will be appreciated!



Sun May 20, 2001 10:34 pm

A STAR is a Standard Arrival. It is basically they way to find the runway.

A radial is just a direction to a VOR (Beacon which you can fly to very accurately). Normally it is given to you either in on the plate or by the controller, however if it is not you normally just go directly 'TO' the beacon you tune it in on your nav radio, indentify it (listen to a morse code to make sure it is the one you want to go to) and then on you VOR indicator, you can turn a knob and when the needle is in the middle, that is the radial you want to fly to the VOR at!


Sun May 20, 2001 10:55 pm

For many of us it's even easier than Lain explained. The STARs for each airport are included in the FMS's navigational database. We simply add the appropriate SID and/or STAR to our route and "fly the box". Lain's comments were appropriate to light aircraft operations. It goes without saying that we would have to revert back to those methods if we were to suffer a DUAL or TRIPLE FMS failure, but even then most guys would simply say screw it and ask for vectors.
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Mon May 21, 2001 5:33 am

Radials are directions from a VOR, not to  Big thumbs up
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Mon May 21, 2001 6:32 am

Not to be picky but STAR is an acronym for "standard terminal arrival route."
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Mon May 21, 2001 6:39 am

Yep, Standard Terminal Arrival Route is right.....


Mon May 21, 2001 2:38 pm

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Tue May 22, 2001 2:34 am

On any kind of aeronautical chart you'll see many VORs (or VORTACs), which have been the main enroute navaid for the last forty or fifty years. Think of them as a wheel laid on the ground with 360 spokes, which are the 360 radials, one degree apart, with the zero-degree radial pointed at magnetic north. The chart shows the radio frequency for each VOR; when an aircraft with the necessary equipment tunes to a VOR the pilot sees that he is on the 90-degree radial of that VOR (if he is directly magnetic-east of it) or on the 315-degree radial (if he is NW of it) and so on.

So shortly after a flight from New York to Boston takes off from La Guardia Airport, the controller will probably tell the pilot something like "Delta eighteen twenty eight turn left zero four zero, intercept the La Guardia zero five five, resume own navigation." In other words, "Point the aircraft 40 degrees right of magnetic north until you reach the 055-degree radial of the La Guardia VOR, then turn right and fly along it according to your flight-planned route." (As it happens, aircraft from LGA to BOS use the VOR at the airport, but that's often not the case; aircraft leaving SFO and OAK to fly to Los Angeles are invariably told to intercept the 135-degree radial of the Point Reyes VOR, which is many miles away to the NW.)

Airways over land (in developed countries, anyway) mostly run from one VOR to the next, which means they are defined by which radial they use at each VOR.
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Tue May 22, 2001 11:20 am

Take a look at a simple STAR:

Jets into JFK from the west ordinarily use this arrival. Aircraft from various cities converge on the Wilkes-Barre VOR and follow its 124-degree radial to the Stillwater VOR; they then follow the Stillwater 109-degree radial and await their handoff to approach control. Note that the STAR ends with the aircraft still at FL190; the rest of the flight will be under the direct instructions of the controller until they're cleared for a published approach to whatever runway is in use at the time. Note also that they fly the same STAR whatever runway is in use.
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Tue May 22, 2001 11:40 am

A BEARING is TO the VOR, and like someone else said, a RADIAL is FROM a VOR.


Tue May 22, 2001 12:20 pm

Just to muddy the water, as I seem to do so well. A radial is not just for VOR use. Radials also apply to NDBs.

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