jackmidd
Topic Author
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Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:27 am

Hello All,
Just a curious question, at what point during flight planning do the crew know which runway they will be assigned for landing? I imagine that during a short haul flight they probably know which runway(s) is in use for landing, although i know it can change but on a transatlantic flight surely the runways could change more than once during the flight?

I ask becuase i've never been able to get my head around how the planning works. Keeping this simple, i understand that flight path is made up of waypoints (amongst other things) assuming the crew dont know which runway they are being assigned where does their flight plan end?

As a simple example say on a flight from new york - london, would the flight plan take them as far as maybe ireland and by the time they reach there they are given ?vectors? to landing that gives them a course to they assinged runway?

Maybe a bad exmaple/bad wording but i cant get my head around it.

i got thinking about this because i live in Aberdeen and the difference between landing on runway 34 and runway 16 is a good 15 minutes extra flying and generally along the coast instead of over towns, do they know before they leave london?
 
Poadrim
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:03 am

To my understanding (I am NOT a pilot),

A flight from New York takes them to a way point to as witch STAR (Standard Terminal ARrival) they gonna use. As the assigned RWY they get that from the approach when entering London airspace.

"Last waypoint" -> STAR -> RWY

//Poadrim
Good judgment comes from experience. Good experience comes from someone else's bad judgment.
 
jackmidd
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:10 am

That makes sense, but,

"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)"
 
Poadrim
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 10:32 am

Quoting jackmidd (Reply 2):
"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)"

Yes, thats (Again, if I got it right) is because the two airports are one the same "side" of the globe. For example, a star is assigned to multiple runways you just choose form the FMC witch STAR you gonna be using and then what runway you got assigned. But if you flies from Oslo, Norway you might land on the same runway but use a different STAR.
Good judgment comes from experience. Good experience comes from someone else's bad judgment.
 
SAAFNAV
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:40 am

Once you get closer to the TMA, you will listen out to the ATIS. That will tell you the wind, weather runway in use and QNH. Otherwise, Information Center will relay your clearances before you enter controlled airspace.

Erich
On-board Direction Consultant
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 1:37 pm

Yes you know that you will begin a STAR at a given point but some arpts have a different final routing depending on the runways in use. eg. CDG has a (E)ast or (W)est on the STARS. I usually don't care until I'm getting say an hour or 1 1/2 hrs out then I'll start looking at the ATIS to see what runway I can expect. Knowing the arpts preferred runways as well as the winds also helps. Nonetheless, it does happen that with all your planning the app controller will give you a different runway than planned. In this case you may have had another app in the FMS or you can just manually insert another app. It can be busy but not usually a big deal.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:28 pm

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 5):
it does happen that with all your planning the app controller will give you a different runway than planned.



Isn't that the sign of a good approach controller, keeping you pilots on your toes so you don't get complacent? 
Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 5):
It can be busy but not usually a big deal.



So correct, almost without fail the runway assignment will be given on initial contact with the approach control facility. When on the short side it can be very busy on the frequency as well as on the flight deck so making last minute changes is certainly not preferred. On the long side of the STAR (downwind) things don't happen quite so fast, but as CosmicCruiser knows that isn't always true either when you toss in a few thunderstorms.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 2:34 pm

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 6):
Isn't that the sign of a good approach controller, keeping you pilots on your toes so you don't get complacent?

Ain't it so!!
 
Mir
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:26 pm

Quoting jackmidd (Reply 2):
"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 STAR can serve more than one airport, but STARs do not lead directly to the runway. There will either be vectors provided by ATC to take airplanes from the STAR to the approach, or there will be points on the STAR from which the different approaches (to the same or different airports) diverge. So until you get to about 100 miles from the airport (at which point the ATIS is audible), all you know is which STAR you'll be on, and you worry about the approach once you get the ATIS and know which ones are in use.

If the airport is non-towered, then you have to look at the weather and make your own determination as to which approach you want to use. You'll consider the winds, runway length, and the minimums of the approach if ceiling and/or visibility is an issue.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:51 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 8):
So until you get to about 100 miles from the airport (at which point the ATIS is audible), all you know is which STAR you'll be on,

For the arpts with digital ATIS you can get it anytime for those that don't just a wx report will give you a good indication of landing direction.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:55 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 8):
So until you get to about 100 miles from the airport (at which point the ATIS is audible),



Those with printers much prefer printing the ATIS rather than listening to the nice computer generated voice......information AAHHHKER!

Quoting Mir (Reply 8):
A STAR can serve more than one airport, but STARs do not lead directly to the runway.



Soon you'll find a few places with RF turns from downwind to final where the approach clearance could be issued well prior to the airplane even getting on the downwind, with the necessary altitude/speed restraints contained in the procedure.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 6:11 pm

One thing I've learned in the past is that while most of the world uses STARS, they vary greatly.

In Europe many to most STARS are runway specific. Then they to begin about 60 nm out, or at the borders of the landing nation if closer.

In the US many STARS begin 300 or 400 or more nm from the airport, and end 30-60 nm from the airport - using vectors for the runway alignment.

The PARCH ONE STAR for arrival at JFK from Europe (used by AZ 608 today and other flights) begins at Kennebuck Maine - and is 240 nm long - http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/1108/00610PARCH.PDF

With SID, or DP as they are formally called in the US, it is possible to fly from DFW to ATL only on the departure procedure from DFW and the STAR for ATL - because the DP ends at the Meridian MS VOR and the STAR begins there.

http://www.gcmap.com/mapui?P=kdfw-kmei-katl&MS=wls&DU=nm&SG=454&SU=kts

http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/1108/00026HONIE.PDF

http://204.108.4.16/d-tpp/1108/06039WYLIE.PDF
 
Mir
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Tue Aug 02, 2011 8:15 pm

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 9):
For the arpts with digital ATIS you can get it anytime for those that don't just a wx report will give you a good indication of landing direction.

Yeah, but we don't have that. We've got the XM weather, which is a sometimes-decent substitute, but tend to just wait for the ATIS.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
hal9213
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:47 pm

Just now, I witnessed, how quickly the arrival runway can change. I flew LH003 to FRA, and our direction was pointing to about 50 miles east of FRA, suggesting a landing on 25L/25R. After some holding patterns in the north east, however we continued west, passing FRA about 15 miles north, so landing probably changed to 7L/7R. After 10-20 miles however, heading changed to east again, passing FRA again about 10 miles north, eventually landing on 25R.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:59 pm

Quoting hal9213 (Reply 13):
. After some holding patterns in the north east, however we continued west, passing FRA about 15 miles north, so landing probably changed to 7L/7R. After 10-20 miles however, heading changed to east again, passing FRA again about 10 miles north, eventually landing on 25R.



Or the arrival runway was 25L/R all the time and never changed, could have simply been motoring around in the conga line to final.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:57 pm

Jut look at the RNAV arrivals to FRA and you can see the serpintine route you may fly. However for us the RNAV arr is only visible after selecting the runway.
 
cloudyapple
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:08 pm

Quoting jackmidd (Reply 2):
A STAR, or Standard Terminal Arrival Route, ('Standard Instrument Arrival' in the UK)

Really? I have never heard of a Standard Instrument Arrival in the UK. We have STARs, IAPs and then Approaches. Even the AIP lists them as STARs into Heathrow and other airports.
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26point2
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:48 pm

At busy airports such as KORD or KIAH the "runway to expect" is announced when checking in with the approach controller. If runways are parallel often the actual landing runway assignment will change so our SOP is to have both Left and Right LOC frequency set or standing by in case of a last minute runway change.

Yesterday at KORD coming from the NW on the BULLZ arrival I requested 28L. I got 28R and spent 21 minutes taxiing to Signature. Ridiculous.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:11 pm

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 17):
At busy airports such as KORD or KIAH the "runway to expect" is announced when checking in with the approach controller. If runways are parallel often the actual landing runway assignment will change so our SOP is to have both Left and Right LOC frequency set or standing by in case of a last minute runway change.



What happens if there are 3 parallel runways such as KIAH, KDFW, KATL, etc., then which 2 do you pick before the final controller changes you do the runway you don't have selected?  

Most controller initiated runway changes at places like those mentioned above should happen either on downwind or some 30 miles from the airport if you're inbound on the short side (straight-in). The crew requested runways changes happen much closer, again in most cases.
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
26point2
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Wed Aug 10, 2011 5:43 pm

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 18):
What happens if there are 3 parallel runways such as KIAH, KDFW, KATL, etc.

Then a logical guess is made as to the most likely runway assignment. The key is to not make assumptions that you are lined up for the proper runway. The habit of an electronic confirmation (LOC) is a must in order to avoid a serious problem. Although parallel these runways are often offset by a mile with parallel taxiways between them and sometimes the threshold of one runway is much farther down range that another. A visual challenge to sort out at 5 mile mile final even in VFR weather.
 
113312
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:08 pm

It's an educated guess. Each airport has it's particular flow for traffic and local agreements with adjacent sectors for how traffic flows in and out of the terminal area. At some airports, traffic streams inbound on one or two tracks. At others, it can come in from all directions or multiple standard arrivals. Some arrivals end with the assumption that traffic will then be radar vectored to intercept the approach, visual or instrument to a runway. At many airports, the standard arrival procedure is paired with a particular runway.

While a flight may be originally flight planned to arrive via a particular arrival routing and runway based upon time of day and prevailing or expected wind and landing direction, the situation can be very dynamic and an amended clearance and routing issued to the crew at any point prior to beginning the arrival.

There are no set rules but experience and paying attention to what procedures are typically used at a particular aerodrome is helpful in preflight planning.
 
Lufthansa411
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Thu Aug 11, 2011 5:04 am

Some airports also divide runway usage by time of day, making it easier for flight planners. In places where noise abatement is a priority, oftentimes runways will have a general usage schedule so that flight planners could generally plan how to route a flight as it reaches the destination. I don't know whether he was pulling my leg, but a LH captain told me this is how they try and do it in FRA.
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Goldenshield
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:36 am

As a dispatcher, there's a hard and fast creed that we live by: "I plan only to an airport." It doesn't work in every sitation, though, such as when there's runway construction, like a shortened runway, a closure, or if the airport just doesn't work that way (one-way in, one-way out, etc.)

As others have noted, arrival runways, and the associated arrival/departure procedures, if runway specific can and do change.
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BigSaabowski
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:17 am

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 17):
Yesterday at KORD coming from the NW on the BULLZ arrival I requested 28L. I got 28R and spent 21 minutes taxiing to Signature. Ridiculous.

They did that for your own safety, since 28L hasn't been built yet.
 
IAHFLYR
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:45 am

Quoting BigSaabowski (Reply 23):
They did that for your own safety, since 28L hasn't been built yet.

Now that is some funny stuff......  

Never even thought about it for a second. Guess the controller had some fun with the request, I know I would have!
Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
 
26point2
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:18 am

OK. You got me on that. Meant to write 27L/R...not 28L/R. My bad.
 
XFSUgimpLB41X
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RE: Arrival Runway When Planning

Sat Aug 13, 2011 5:33 am

Quoting 113312 (Reply 20):
It's an educated guess.

That pretty much sums it up. In most places, only on initial check-in with approach control will you get your runway assignment. Even then it is subject to change (and does!).

For example, arriving into ATL from the south it is a bit of a crap shoot between 10/28 and 9R/27L.... so we just load one of them (I always choose 10 or 28 as appropriate for direction of flow... then I can only be pleasantly surprise by getting 9R or 27L   ), brief both of them, and then get what we get.

Most airports you can get a good idea what to expect depending on direction of arrival and from reading the D-ATIS, or by pulling up the hourly weather via ACARS.
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