SID and STAR tips

SID and STAR tips

Postby Keith Smith » Tue May 01, 2018 8:25 am

My time on the scope, particularly Western US, has lead me to the observation of a pattern of confusion surrounding SIDs and STARs that contain altitude restrictions. Here are some tactical tips that address most of the common issues. For more detail, see the NBAA guidance on this topic here:

If you are climbing via SID or descending via a STAR, you need to inform ATC of this when you check in on a new freq. For example, "Seattle Center, Lear 123AB, 4300, climbing via SID."

Similarly if you are issued "climb via SID except maintain niner thousand," then you would inform ATC of this fact each time you check in, ie, "Seattle Center, 123 Alpha Bravo, four thousand, three hundred climbing via SID except maintain niner thousand."

In the last case, with an amended top altitude of 9000, if the departure controller then said, "radar contact, climb via SID," then the PUBLISHED top altitude comes into play. This is very common at Salt Lake and Denver where the initial IFR clearance stops at 10k, but the published top altitude is FL230.

It may seem verbose, but if you simply say, "4300 climbing FL230," then the controller has no idea if you're going to comply with any vertical restrictions on the SID, because had you been told to climb straight to FL230, your check-in would've sounded identical.

The same is true, if your initial clearance was to climb via SID except maintain 9000, and you check in with departure saying, "climbing via SID" (without the 9000 portion), then the departure controller needs to seek clarification.

Lastly, if the controller simply says, "climb and maintain FL230," then the vertical restrictions are canceled. Thankfully, "climb and maintain" ALWAYS means exactly that, so it's easy to remember.

And yes, speed restrictions are always in play on SIDs and STARs, even without "climb via" or "descend via" being issued. Unlike the SID's altitude restrictions, speeds are NOT canceled by a "climb and maintain" instruction. The controller would need to say "delete published speeds" or issue a specific speed restriction to cancel/override them.

There is rhyme and reason to all of the rules and guidance listed above, hopefully it will help!
Keith Smith
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Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:38 pm
Location: Pompton Plains, NJ

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