Aviation In Canada

Monday, May 30, 2005

Conventional STARs

Alas, my vacation is over. I'm back to the working world, despite all but one day of my 12 days of vacation being killed by rain. I'm just happy that I didn't plan to get very far. Tenting in the rain , cold and wind just isn't my idea of camping. On with the show.

A reader made a request for information after a pilot friend of his was nailed by Transport Canada for an issue related to flying a STAR. The AIP Canada details RNAV STARs quite well, but there is hardly any information on conventional STARs, such as those that start at a fix and fly radials or courses, and typically end in radar vectors from ATC to get to the various runway configurations. Now, that having been said, the main gist of the question was related to the requirement or lack thereof for terminal ATC to restate the STAR upon initial contact. I'm sorry to report that I have virtually no information to offer at this point. Here's the background, just to show that I haven't been idle on the topic.

I have many resources to talk to to get the ATC side -- what ATC expects a pilot to do. What I really want is written direction on what a pilot is supposed to do. I also want to see how many other pilots out there are unclear on what to do, to get an idea of how big a problem exists. To date, I haven't enlisted any of the ATC-end resources. In my travels, searching for information, I made use of a contact that found me to help. He made use of some of his contacts, and I stirred some people up with it. Not in a big way, so don't get excited, but I did, according to them, step outside normal channels of communications. Part of their perception, I'm sure, was my simple presence as an NavCanada employee, as opposed to the nature of the question, but they didn't like the way my question was asked. So be it.

What this NavCanada rep in Ottawa told me was that they had identified a gap in the information in this very section already. He said Edmonton ACC had brought this to his attention (now I don't know if CZEG found this and sent it his way, if an incident within CZEG (perhaps this one that started this topic) was the kindling for the fire or what caused CZEG's involvement), and it had all been forwarded to Transport Canada with a clarification request for publication.

We're talking about NavCanada and Transport Canada, so I'm not sure just how long such a clarification will take. But hopefully we'll see something, since it should be in the process of being addressed. For now, I intend to talk to my resources, when I can find them, to get the poop on how these are supposed to be done. Maybe then we'll see if the pilot in the previous situation was in receipt of an improper clearance, if there had been any recent changes to R/T and the use of STARs.