Inbound Procedures

All arrival routes into Heathrow terminate at one of the 4 stacks; Bovingdon (BNN) and Lambourne (LAM) to the North, Biggin (BIG) and Ockham (OCK) to the south. Aircraft should not proceed beyond the stack without ATC clearance.

STARS via BOVVA, TOMMO, TAWNY and WEALD are not used in our virtual world as they are only for use when the main VOR's are out of service.

There are a number of STARs which are designated as "stack swap" STARs. During busy periods, when stacks become full, aircraft can be transferred from a busy stack to a stack with free levels:

LOGAN
----------->
BIG
=
BIG1E
OCK
----------->
BIG
=
BIG1G
LAM
----------->
BIG
=
BIG3D
KENET
----------->
BNN
=
BNN1D
LAM
----------->
BNN
=
BNN1E
HON
----------->
OCK
=
OCK1D
BIG
----------->
OCK
=
OCK1G
LAM
----------->
OCK
=
OCK1H

These STARs are for use only as directed by ATC and must not be used for flight planning purposes.

Holding Procedures

The table below indicates the holding areas available to Heathrow:

    Stack Axis and Direction of Turn Minimum Holding Level Maximum Holding Level Holding Speed Limit
    BNN 118 Right Hand MSL+1 FL170 220kts
    LAM 264 Left Hand MSL+1 FL170 220kts
    BIG 303 Right Hand MSL FL150 220kts
    OCK 330 Right Hand MSL FL150 220kts

Aircraft must cross Speed Limit Points at a maximum speed of 250kts unless the speed restriction has been removed by ATC. The SLP's are located 12DME from LAM, OCK and BIG and at WCO for BNN.

When stacks become full, enroute holding further down the STAR takes place - "Stack swap" procedures could also be put in force.

It is important that you keep the stacks laddered down so that levels can be freed up. In the stack, you can only clear an aircraft down to the next level when the previous aircraft has vacated the previously occupied level. There are two ways of doing this. 1) Ask the pilot to report leaving the level 2) When the mode C readout shows +/- 400ft from the assigned level, we can assume the aircraft has left the level. During busy periods, option 2) is the better one to reduce RT transmissions.

Ultimately, it is the pilots responsibility to ensure that he enters the stack at 220kts. To help him out, as he approaches the stack, if you want him to enter the hold bring his speed back early (By doing this, as he reaches the stack you may then realise he doesn't need to hold because the reduction in speed has created enough of a delay)

Aircraft should be informed of the length of delay expected in the hold. The usual phrases used are "Less than 5 minutes", "5 to 10 minutes", "10 to 15 minutes" and "15 to 20 minutes". If the delay is going to be over 20 minutes, Expected Approach Times must be passed to aircraft. It is important that an accurate delay is passed to aircraft. On average, aircraft land around about every 90 seconds at Heathrow. To make it easier to work out, we will say that 4 aircraft land every 5 minutes. If the next aircraft into the stack (LAM for example) has 15 aircraft ahead of him in the sequence, he should be told the delay in the hold is "15 to 20 minutes" (4 aircraft every 5 minutes).

Level Allocation

BNN

The minimum level that may be used in the BNN hold is MSL+1. Aircraft released at BNN must not descend to MSL until they:
- have left the BNN hold
- are south of BNN
- are within the Heathrow RMA

Aircraft leaving the BNN hold must be FL110 or below by 5DME beyond BNN to ensure separation from overflights.

LAM

The minimum level that may be used in the LAM hold is MSL+1. Aircraft released at LAM must not descend to MSL on Westerlies until they:
- have left the LAM hold
- are west of LAM
- are within the Heathrow RMA

Aircraft released at LAM must not descend to MSL on Easterlies until they:
- are west of the N57 Airway

BIG

The minimum level that may be used in the BIG hold is MSL.

OCK

The minimum level that may be used in the OCK hold is MSL

Inbound Releases

In reality, every aircraft inbound to Heathrow has to be released by area control to approach control. This is done over the telephone. This can be simulated on IVAO with the Intercom or via text chat.

A release message contains:

  • Callsign
  • Flight Level
  • Release Point

Example of a release phone call between LAM and INT N SPT:

"Heathrow"

"Lambourne, release, BAW123 at 9"

"BAW123, 9"

"AIC101 at 10"

"AIC101, 10"

"DLH634 at 11"

"DLH634, 11"

"BAW1145 at 12"

"BAW1145, 12"

"Correct"

"Roger"

Verification of MET and Aircraft type

Heathrow directors are to verify that aircraft are in receipt of the latest MET report and are to verify the aircraft type, including type variants. The tower must be informed of any aircraft that are not the type as indicated on the flightplan.


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