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Thread: SIDs/STARs/Transitions/Vias. Some practical advice, please?

  1. #1

    Default SIDs/STARs/Transitions/Vias. Some practical advice, please?

    I am trying to understand how these work in the real world (so that I can take full advantage of the ToLiSs A319 fully-functional FMC in X-Plane11). Maybe someone who knows all about this could kindly give me some help?

    I am OK with programming SIDs and STARs, but the FMC often then presents me with a list of transitions and then vias. In essence, how do I choose whether to use one, and if I do, which to fly?

    As an example, I am flying VOMM (Rwy07) to VOHS (09R). Chosen DOHIA as SID and SARKA8 at STAR. In this example, no STAR transition is offered.. but if it were (on another route say), how would I go about choosing the most appropriate one? I can't see them on my map (I use LittleNavMap) - maybe I haven't activated them - so I might as well choose by sticking a pin in...

    Then I am offered Vias - BIMO2, HIA1, HIA2, LEDOB, OSEM2 or VIKA2. Again, though I have Googled this, I still am not confident enough to choose one (it would be random again). On this flight, whatever I choose, I get a discontinuity towards the end of the flight plan.

    If anyone can explain this in practical terms, or point me too a not overly techy article, that's be appreciated.

    Finally, although I choose and programme SIDs & STARs OK, I am not sure of the logic of some of them. In the above example, if you are able to look at the SARKA8 STAR on your won flight map, why the odd shape (sharp turns at HS321 and then HS228)? Why wouldn't the STAR go straight to HS228 and miss HS321. Don't think there are any terrain issues here - in fact given the elevations, why go to HS321 at all?

    Thanks in advance!

    MartinClick image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by martinstebbing; 04-19-2018 at 10:26 AM.

  2. #2


    In LittleNavMap have you updated the scenery database? You must do this with each airport, etc added to the Sim so its reflected in LittleNavMap. Also, you can just make up your own transitions and not follow real-world procedures. I have done this in the PMDG 737 back when I ran it in FS2004. I used to use FSBuild to create my flight plans. Both for the game and the FMC. I'd go into the FMC and load the flight plan and away I went. I did follow the SID and STAR for the most part, but my transitions were all different. I'd usually pick a VOR or NDB.

    I'm not a real-world pilot, but if I can remember right, a DISCO (discontinue) is something to be expected since at that time ATC will vector you. But since this is the Sim you can chose how you want to approach the FAF (Final Approach Fix).
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  3. #3


    Thanks. I will check LittleNavMap - I have probably missed this.

    Yes, I know a DISCO is sometimes inevitable, especially with a 'manual' indication. Not really a problem: I just fly the manual part and then set the APPR when more or less pointing in the right direction. The a/c lines up, descends and lands just fine. From what I read, that is pretty much what happens in the real world too. (Learned this week that in an Autobus, the localiser is almost never used - straight to APPR, so that's what I do now: I always did LOC?APPR in my PSS Airbuses in FS9).

    But the question really is how transitions and vias function. What are they for? Why are they needed over and above the SID or STAR? And how do I choose the one most appropriate? Are the transitions and vias supposed to show in LNM? I couldn't locate any of them (I assume they are (like) waypoints and should appear on a map??) on LNM, even with max info setting. I am becoming painfully aware of my ignorance in this area!!

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by martinstebbing; 04-20-2018 at 11:27 AM.

  4. #4


    Well, all I know is that SIDs and STARS help ATC know where you are and it helps them route traffic. So a via this waypoint, etc would help keep the flow of things I guess. I'm not an expert in this area either.

    What is LNM? I don't know what that stands for.
    My forum project. Click me
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    From RLG, Fly heading 053, intercept 315 DVV, look for the orange glow of a SAM.

  5. #5


    If you're asking how to use a transition then that's easy. It's just a waypoint, VOR or NDB from the SID or STAR. After the SID or STAR you fly direct to that waypont and on to the other waypoints until you reach your STAR for example. After the STAR will get a DISCO and it will be at that point ATC will more than likely give you vectors. But in the Sim you can just fly the STAR all the way to the runway. Unless you fly with VATSIM.
    My forum project. Click me
    OOM errors? Read this.
    Pick an Amazon wish list, help a child out
    From RLG, Fly heading 053, intercept 315 DVV, look for the orange glow of a SAM.

  6. #6


    "What is LNM? I don't know what that stands for."
    Sorry, lazy abbreviation. Little NavMap.
    "If you're asking how to use a transition.."
    Basically, yes, and then in addition, why would one add a 'via' to a transition, or STAR (I think you can add a 'via' point even with no transition?). The X-Plane 11 ToLiSs A319 CDU simulates and acts upon all this data, so I wanted to set things up as realistically as possible. For now I fly to the end of the STAR, which isn't always of course to the runway, and then, as necessary fly manually and engage the APPR, where the airport permits it (otherwise I just switch off the AP and hand fly - that always sets the pulse rate up a notch or two!)
    Thanks for the short explanation, but as far as I had noticed, the transition is not one of the waypoints in the STAR - it's a kind of 'addon', and one that I still can never locate in any map (would transitions only appear on the airport chart??).
    As for the 'via' on top of the transition, I am totally clueless!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Westminster, CO


    why would one add a 'via' to a transition, or STAR (I think you can add a 'via' point even with no transition?).
    A TRANSITION is just a way of getting from the initial portion of the STAR to the instrument approach that you'll be using. Note this quote from chapter three of the FAA's Instrument Procedures Handbook:

    This often results in a seamless transition between the en
    route, arrival, and approach phases of flight, and serves as
    a preferred route into high volume terminal areas.

    It sounds as if you're thinking of "via" as a procedure, in itself. It's just another way of saying "by way of" or "using the following path." When I drive from my home in Denver to Kansas City, I go via I-70. That's shorter than saying that I travel on Interstate 70. A STAR is literally just a preplanned clearance that saves the controller from having to give a long-winded clearance, and the pilot from having to copy it.

    Note this quote from chapter three of the FAA's Instrument Procedures Handbook:

    A STAR is an ATC-coded IFR route established for application
    to arriving IFR aircraft destined for certain airports. A STAR
    provides a critical form of communication between pilots
    and ATC. Once a flight crew has accepted a clearance for a
    STAR, they have communicated with the controller what
    route, and in some cases what altitude and airspeed, they
    fly during the arrival, depending on the type of clearance.
    The STAR provides a common method for leaving the en
    route structure and navigating to your destination. It is a
    preplanned instrument flight rule ATC arrival procedure
    published for pilot use in graphic and textual form that
    simplifies clearance delivery procedures.

    The principal difference between standard instrument
    departure (SID) or departure procedures (DPs) and STARs
    is that the DPs start at the airport pavement and connect
    to the en route structure. STARs on the other hand, start
    at the en route structure but do not make it down to the
    pavement. This is primarily because STARs serve multiple
    runways and sometimes multiple airports.

    You can find that manual here. You can find pointers to the FAA's aviation handbooks and manuals on this page. There's a tremendous amount of information available for the downloading, or even just for reading online. There's nothing mysterious about it, though it takes time and effort to go through the publications to find information.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  8. #8


    Thanks Larry. I do know what 'via' means (I did Latin at school for a start! Now I am an English language teacher ), but I just don't yet see why, if there is a STAR selected, plus a transition, the pilot would be asked for input for a 'via' as well. I suppose there must be more than one way to get to the transition point - that makes sense from the use of the word 'via' at least, but as I still can't locate (on the map) any of the transition or via points I am offered by the FMC (which is quite possibly me being a bit dense, I wouldn't deny!) I still have no way to choose one transition, or 'via' over another. Is the via an actual point, like a waypoint, or a path, like an airway? (I assume the former, but it could be either. Using your analogy of a car - not so good for me as I have never driven a car in the 60 years of my life! - I can go from Southampton to Luton, via Staines (point), or via the M25 (route))?

    I choose SIDs and STARS using LittleNavMap, which highlights the chosen route. I then adapt my flightplan as needed (deleting now obsolete waypoints, which are within the area of the SID or STAR), but after that I am working in the dark when trying to select which transition and/or via to input into the FMC.

    Thanks again... I'll have a look at your links too, of course.
    Last edited by martinstebbing; 04-21-2018 at 09:36 AM.

  9. #9


    In LittleNavMap have you updated the scenery database?
    How do I do that? It is updated via my Navigraph subscription every month, if that is what you mean. Otherwise, if you are saying there is something else I need to do, I am afraid I can't see what it is, CRJ

  10. #10


    OK, progress: the simple reason I couldn't see the transitions or vias is that I stupidly wasn't looking far enough out - they are much further away from the airports than I imagined. They do show on LittleNavMap (I located them first on good old FS Navigator for FS9!). I think (?), with that sorted so simply, I should be good to go!!
    Last edited by martinstebbing; 04-21-2018 at 10:20 AM.

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