To use STARS effectively, you need to understand the geography of the destination airport, the location of the various NAVAIDS which are entry points to STARS, and for some airports - which runway the STAR is set up to bring you into. You need to review both all of the individual STAR plates, and the IFR enroute charts for that airport/ region. Once you have looked at all the charts, the choice of STAR is almost always obviously one STAR.
NOTE - in Europe most STARS are for a specific runway, in the US most STARS are for an airport or a general area. Of course there are some in each area which are not.I
n the US, many STARS start 300-400nm from the airport. If you fly KATL-KDFW - you are on a SID from KATL until you reach Meridian Mississippi (the MEI VOR) - which is the start of the STAR for KDFW.
Flight Simulator 2004 and FSX are setup to use real world Approaches. A STAR normally leads to an IAP IAF. You have to know what is the IAF for the STAR you want to fly, and when ATC assigns you to the runway, you ask for an alternate approach with a Transition - using that IAF as the Transition. That way the ATC will let you fly the STAR on your own and not bother you.
It is common in parts of the real world for the STAR to be changed by ATC when you get close to the airport area. In Flight Simulator, changing a flight plan or an FMS for a new STAR assigned by ATC, or necessary for a new runway assignment - is a lengthy multi-click hassle.
In the real world, changing the STAR is a short, quick process with just a few button pushes by the PNF. Also a real pilot is going to be familiar, or at least aware of every possible STAR for an airport, so she/he knows what to do if the STAR is changed.
One last item - the Approach database for FS2004 is dated about Oct 2002, for FSX it is dated April 2005. If you are using up to date STARS/ SIDS - you might find the approaches, waypoints and NAVAIDS in FS do not match what you need to fly the STARS.
An FMS which uses a completely external database is what you need to fly those properly. Which means a high quality payware aircraft.
Last edited by ReggieF5421; 06-27-2012 at 10:41 AM.
@ PawPaw's house - near KADS, Addison, Texas, USA