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How do I file a correct flightplan on VATSIM?

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Hello everyone, I'm new to VATSIM.

I've tried a few times now to fly my Cessna 172 to and from various airports around Britain. Several times though I've been stopped at my destination airport because apparently my flightplan is invalid.

What I've been using for the text box part of the flight plan where you input co-ordinates is putting in the waypoints that Flight Simulators Flight Planner gives me. So a flight from Jersey (EGSS) to London City (EGLC) would be:

EGJJ JSY SRH BIG EGLC

But a few minutes ago the Jersey controller called that "the biggest load of rubbish I have ever seen" so obviously I am doing something wrong!

If anyone could help me make an acceptable flightplan it would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance

21 Responses

Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

They are quite particular about what your flightplan should look like. Basically, you need to define your SID, then the airway you will be flying on, with the last waypoint on that airway, then the new airway plus the last waypoint on that airway etc, and then your STAR.

I'll find some links for you 😉

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Thanks. I don't suppose you could give me a quick lowdown on how to make SIDs and STARs could you? I know I could look up Wiki but it's really complicated. A quick tour on how to make SIDs and STARs from you or anyone else would be much appreciated! 😂

Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

Have a look at this site that Crash found:

https://forum.flyawaysimulation.com/forum/topic/10781/eu-route/

Or go to www.vatsim.netNew Pilots Start HereFirst Flight on the left ➡ then First IFR Flight

Have a read through that, it tells you how to do it acurately 😉

Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

One flight plan for your route would be this:

EGJJ ORTA1A ORTAC UR84 ELDER R84 HAZEL UR84 MID UM185 OCK EGLC

This means that you will:

1) Use the SID (Standard Instrument Departure) named ORTA1A (might be different depending on the runway - refer to EGJJ approach/departure plates for details)

2) Exit the EGJJ TMA at ORTAC

3) Get on the Upper R84 airway (or just on the R84 if below FL240) to ELDER, keep on the R84 to HAZEL and MID.

4) Get on the UM185 airway to OCK, which will be your last VOR before the approach (refer to EGLC plates for STARS)

That aside, the comment the ATC made is totally inappropriate and I would notify his supervisor. There are a lot of new people on VATSIM and you can either be a jackass or help them. In the first case, you don't belong controlling on VATSIM 😉

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Ok, I read the VATSIM guide to the "first IFR flight" in its entirity. It was quite useful, but unfortunately I did not gain much insight into the creation of proper IFR flight plans.

Bindolaf, thanks for your very thorough response. If you don't mind me asking, did you create that flightplan manually or what program did you use to do it? If you do, it's just a list of a lot of different charts for EGJJ airport). I see there's an ORTAC/BENIX SIDs Chart, a ORTAC/BENIX SIDs Chart and a TUNIT/LERAK SIDs Chart, how do I know which one to pick? Also, when I went into the ORTAC one, which is the one you used in your example, I couldn't really see how to follow the instructions for it, and I couldn't see where you got ORTA1A in your flightplan.

Regarding your second point, what's TMA? And how come it's necessary to list the middle point along the airway, could you not just say "UR84 ELDER" to say you got on at ELDER, and "U84 MID" to say you got off at MID, and not mention HAZEL?

Phew, that's a lot I know. But I'm learning, and this is all very interesting. Thank you, JTH 🙂

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Oh and by the way, regarding the controller's comments and overall attitude, I admit I was a little taken aback and it did make me uncomfortable. But overall I've found most other controllers to be friendly and professional. I'd have to say that the American controllers are probably slightly friendlier than the British ones though. No offence to any British people here, but I've found British controllers to be a little impatient with newcomers at times, while the Americans seem more understanding.

Anyway, I'm not going to complain. I am truly grateful that all these men and women are giving up their vauable time to enrich my Flight Sim experience, and as I said, the majority of them are perfectly helpful and polite.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Manuel Agustin Clausse (Agus0404) Chief Captain

To create flight plans, go here http://rfinder.asalink.net/free/

When your flight plan is ready look at the very bottom of the page to see your flight plan. I guess you can send that to the controllers and they will accept it.
Where it says SID or STAR you have to place the SID and STAR you want to use depending on the runway you are going to takeoff from.

Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

did you create that flightplan manually or what program did you use to do it?

I used FSBuild. Go to www.fsbuild.com to check for a free version. Not sure if it's still up, I think people here have the link still, I know I saw a thread. It's a helpful program.

If you do, it's just a list of a lot of different charts for EGJJ airport). I see there's an ORTAC/BENIX SIDs Chart, a ORTAC/BENIX SIDs Chart and a TUNIT/LERAK SIDs Chart, how do I know which one to pick? Also, when I went into the ORTAC one, which is the one you used in your example, I couldn't really see how to follow the instructions for it, and I couldn't see where you got ORTA1A in your flightplan.

I didn't register (it seems it's too "real" a site for me). You choose your SID depending on the runway of departure. Let me give an example. You know from your flight plan that your exit point from the Terminal Area (TMA) - basically the area controlled by an airport - will be ABCDE intersection. You see on the charts three departures: ABCDE1, ABCDE2, ABCDE3. Which one do you choose? If you look carefully, the chart states which runway each departure corresponds to. So let's say you are given runway 06R as the active. Look up the chart, see which departure corresponds to runway 06R for ABCDE exit point and... voila! Let me know if you need more help with this one.

And how come it's necessary to list the middle point along the airway, could you not just say "UR84 ELDER" to say you got on at ELDER, and "U84 MID" to say you got off at MID, and not mention HAZEL?

I did not note this, I thought it might complicate things, but obviously not! You're learning fast 😀 You are right, there is no need to list intermediate intersections, unless something important happens there. Which means for example, switching from high altitude to low alitude airways (for example ... UR84, ELDER, R84, HAZEL etc....). Another important point you should note, even if on the same airway is entry and exit points to TMAs, FIRs any restricted or otherwise defined areas. So you see, sometimes it is necessary to list waypoints, even if you don't actually leave the airway.

Let us know if you need more!

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

I actually have FS Build v2.2, so I ran EGJJ to EJSS into it, and here are the waypoints it gave me:

EGJJ, ALD, ORTAC, MID, OCK, BPK, BKY, BUSTA, LOREL, EGSS

I wonder why this is different to the flightplan you gave me? It doesn't seem to include airways either, but maybe there's an option to show airways somewhere?

As for SIDs, I am kind of grasping them. But how come you list two waypoints: ORTA1A and ORTAC? If I chose ORTAC 1B instead (I see that listed on the SID chart), would I write, ORTA1B ORTAC?

Thank you as always for your help 😀

Pro Member Chief Captain
CrashGordon Chief Captain

JTH,

I didn't realize that was you that posted on the vatsim forum. You had a lot of people upset by the way the controller treated you. Did you see the replies?

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Yeah I just checked it now.

Anyways, as I said, the guy just probably had a bad day so I'm perfectly willing to forget it. I don't even know his name, but even if I did I wouldn't have reported him.

Pro Member Chief Captain
CrashGordon Chief Captain

While I've heard some pilots get cranky with controllers for things like not getting vectors when they expected them, The controllers I've encountered have been very helpful.

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

Me too. This was the first controller I've come across that was in anyway unfriendly.

Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

As for SIDs, I am kind of grasping them. But how come you list two waypoints: ORTA1A and ORTAC? If I chose ORTAC 1B instead (I see that listed on the SID chart), would I write, ORTA1B ORTAC?

ORTA1A is not a waypoint, it is the name of the SID (as is ORTA1B). ORTAC is the one and only waypoint in both cases, the exit point from the airport TMA. You're right, if you had to leave from a runway utilising the ORTA1B departure you would write ORTA1B ORTAC.

As for FSBuild not giving you airways it's strange. It gives you a bar with the whole route (as I typed it, but it may vary, there are after all more ways to get from A to B) and it also gives you a little table, with all the waypoints, the airways they are on, the lat/lon, distances and more. Check the program thoroughly it has a wealth of information.

Pro Member First Officer
Corgi First Officer

Agus

That's a great link you give, thanks

George

Pro Member Chief Captain
CrashGordon Chief Captain

JTH wrote:

Me too. This was the first controller I've come across that was in anyway unfriendly.

If you haven't seen it on the vatsim forum, the controller came forward and apologized. He apparently was having a really bad day.

You might want to let him know that everything is cool and that you got a lot education because of the incident. 🙂

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

I'm kind of embarassed now, I genuinely didn't mean to complain about him, just to learn how to make proper flight plans.

Anyway, it's all done and dusted now hopefully, and I'm getting there with regard to learning the SIDs/STARs etc.

Pro Member Chief Captain
CrashGordon Chief Captain

I thinkyou did fine. The last thing vatsim wants is pilots vs. contollers confrontations. Since everyone in that thread learned something about SIDs and STARs, it turned out to be positive.

There are some interesting things you find out. I learned that if I approach KLUF (Luke AFB on LENNI2 and am between 3600 and 6000 ft., I am not in PHX Class B space, but outside those parameters, I am. 🙄 You'd better believe I'll have all my charts before I fly in there again. 😂

Pro Member Chief Captain
Manuel Agustin Clausse (Agus0404) Chief Captain

Corgi wrote:

Agus

That's a great link you give, thanks

George

You're welcome Corgi 😉

Pro Member First Officer
JTH First Officer

The good news is that I had a really succesful SIDs/STARs flight today, so everyone (especially Bindolaf!) will be relieved to know that it seems that I am on my way now to becoming competent at SIDs and STARs 😎 .

Many thanks for the patience and help explaining things.

Pro Member First Officer
Jamie Robson (Jamier) First Officer

All controllers ive had meetings with have been very friendly and one helped me do a flightplan.

Ive had one at Heathrow, One at manchester and one at east midlands guide me in from 30 miles out when ive made a mayday after some emergency and the heathrow controller managed to guide me down with no landing gear or flaps. Thats skillfull controlling.

Ive had a controller at KJFK even though he had 40+ aircraft wanting to land and another 30 or 40 wanting to takeoff hes cleared the skies and guided me in for an emergency landing when i had flap failure and 1+2 engine flameout. Think i enjoyed about it though was even though i was holding up all these other planes i was getting private messages from them saying good luck. I cant say ive ever felt so happy to be making an emergency landing as everyone didnt criticize me for being a new pilot and not sure on the emergency procedures but they were wishing me luck.

I think if we keep getting controllers and pilots like this on VATSIM the community will just grow stronger and stronger.

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