2.5_ Standard Instrument Departure (SID)

A SID (also called DP) is a Standardized departure procedure used in larger airports to expedite the flow of traffic.

Depending on Country / Airport the SID can be an actual route to join the filed route (full procedure SID), or just climb procedures / initial altitude, with maybe an initial turn for vectors to the first way-point (vector SID).

Let's look at two different SIDs; a full procedure SID (from Europe), and a vector SID (from North America).

2.5.1_ Full Procedure SID

Full Procedure SIDs are in most airports around the world, except in Canada and the US. The SID is usually named after the way-point where it ends, and the 'en-route' portion of the flight begins. The number is the version of the SID, and the last letter indicates which runway it is assigned to.

Let's look at the CPT3F departure out of London Heathrow: (CPT = Crompton; 3 = 3rd edition; F = runway 27R (in this case)).

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  1. At the top of the page we see general instructions / information about this SID.

  2. On the diagram we see the route we will follow: after take-off intercept and fly the LON 258 radial outbound. At 7DME to LON fly heading 272 to WOD NDB, after that direct CPT VOR.
    We also see the minimum altitudes at which we must cross certain points (3000ft at LON 11 DME, 4000 by WOD and 6000 by CPT 8DME).

  3. Initial altitude: this is how high you can climb without further ATC clearance. in this case it is 6000ft. sometimes it is not included in the SID and will be assigned by ATC before take-off. If in doubt always check with the tower before take-off.

  4. Routing: Finally we have the detailed routing in text format.


2.5.2_ Vector SID

Vector SIDs (sometimes called DP) are mostly found in Canada and the US. The SID is sometimes named after the first way-point, other times it's named after a cultural landmark etc.

Let's look at the Logan 2 departure out of Boston Logan (here we only have a version number, the runways don't get distinct identifiers)



  1. On the first page we see a diagram of the route we will follow, or rather the first turn we will make... after that ATC will provide the next heading.




On the second page we get:

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  1. A general description of the DP, including the initial altitude.

  2. Variants to the DP dependant on the runway you are departing from.

  3. Note about noise abatement for jet aircraft.


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