Approach Gone Bad -- What went wrong

Pro Member Captain
Kareem El-Sadi (crosscheck9) Captain

Well, ever since a couple of days ago, I've had quite a bit more time to spend at home, so I decided to go through with purchasing the 0610AIRAC in order to fly my PMDG737NG once again 🙂

This evening, I was on approach to Denver, when I encountered a few complications, which I can't seem to overcome on my own.

To start off, please pull up the ILS RWY 34L IAP from the link below

Coming from St. Louis, I programmed the FMC to fly the DANDD FIVE Arrival, (can also be found at the website above) via the OATHE transition.

This particular STAR lead me into a position from which I was flying downwind of RWY 34L, headed towards the KAHLR Intersection. At KAHLR, the FMC was showing that it would perform a procedure right turn, arcing past the RWY heading, and then flying towards WAZDN, at which point it would turn towards RWY heading, and expect me to do the rest.

Firstly, how can I tell, from the charts, that the aircraft is supposed to perform the procedure turn? Nothing, as far as I can see, indicates that.

Also, as you can tell from the chart, I was supposed to arrive at WAZDN at 7000ft. After figuring out my VREF, I set the WAZDN restriction to 150/7000. I don't know if this was a correct move or not, though.

As the aircraft began to turn level with the runway, I hit VOR LOC, but it wouldn't cooperate. I noticed my aircraft was flying past WAZDN, and not turning towards the runway. I have a feeling the errors I made here were due to poor timing, but please correct me if I'm wrong. Next time, am I supposed to leave VNAV/LNAV engaged until I the turn to WAZDN, at which point I should engage VOR LOC? I apologize if all the above seems like mumbo jumbo, but its tough for me to put the situation in proper words. If you like, feel free to try the approach and let me know your thoughts.

Also, if it matters any, I think the database is slightly flawed with this approach. I don't think it had me lining up correctly, but with all that mess, I may be wrong.


5 Responses

Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

I don't see the WAZDN at all.

That's one problem with US STARS. They all finish with "expect vectors". What if you have lost communications? Or if you're flying on FS9? =P

Anyway, after you do what the STAR says and reach DEN, all bets are off. You could do a visual approach, or go out to KAHLR. I don't think WAZDN at 2000 AGL gives you enough time to turn, line up etc.

As for general advice, try hand flying the STAR a couple of times, don't let the plane do the approach for you, see what happens.

Not sure if that helped. A real pilot can tell us more =)

Pro Member Captain
Kareem El-Sadi (crosscheck9) Captain

Bindolaf, thanks for the reply,

The WAZDN Intersection is located on the ILS 34L CATIII Chart, about 8nm from the threshold. If charts tell me that is how my arrival should be conducted, I don't see why there should be any errors. Albeit, it does seem like a unrealistic dive, however I'm sure I'm doing something wrong.

In real life, would pilots visually fly to Kalhr, and whip round to the Final heading, then engage APP?

I know I could hand fly the approach from DEN, fly a downwind, and then come in for the ILS, but I don't think thats the way its done. Just trying to get the realism factor down 😉

Thanks again

Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

Well, my point is, european STARs get you all the way to the ILS, there is no "expect vectors". US ones don't seem to do that. I see the WAZDN on the chart and it's not too high at all - it's around 2000 AGL 7nm out. A real crew could probably make it, but a single flight simmer maybe not.

I don't know what would be realistic, honestly. There *has* to be some "loss of communications" procedure to get to the ILS, but I do not know what that might be.

As for APP, you need to be below the glideslope for sure to engage it and perhaps not more than 25-30 degrees off the centerline - or it will take too long for VORLOC to lock (at least in the sim).

Pro Member Captain
Bindolaf Captain

As an example of a European STAR look here:

Page 2 depicts the ASIMI arrivals (1C, 1D and 1E). Basically there's three ways to get from ASIMI to RDS VOR (this is an easy STAR).

Once at PAR, go to page 10 and look at the ILS procedure for runway 25. It picks up where the STAR left (at RDS) and guides you all the way to the ILS. Now, usually you would get vectors anyway, but if something happens and you can't communicate, that's the procedure to observe.

Just an easy example. If you want more, check the same site (the parent directory) for LGAV charts. LGIO has some nice DME arc approaches *shudder* 😉

Pro Member Captain
Kareem El-Sadi (crosscheck9) Captain

Thanks Bindolaf! 😀

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