2.6_ Standard Terminal Arrival Routes

A STAR is a standardized arrival procedure used in larger airports to expedite the flow of traffic.

Depending on Country / Airport the STAR will be a route from the last waypoint filed in you flight plan to 1) a holding point, for radar vectors to the ILS, or 2) directly to the LOC. This second type is called a full procedure STAR or RNAV STAR. In both cases the STAR will probably contain descent planning and speed limitations.

In Europe the STAR is usually named after the way-point where it begins, and the 'en-route' portion of the flight ends, although this is not always the case (e.g. the UK where the STAR is named after it's final waypoint). The number is the version of the STAR, and the last letter indicates which runway it is assigned to, or it's variant.

In North America it's much the same except that there is no final Identification letter, and one is more likely to encounter STARs that are named after a local landmark.

Let's look at an RNAV STAR and a non-RNAV STAR.

2.6.1_ Non-RNAV STAR

This is the AMFOU arrival into Nice: (LFMN).

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  1. The first thing we notice on the diagram is that there are actually 2 AMFOU arrivals, the AMFOU3R and 3P. The difference is that the 3R arrival is only available to RNAV equipped aircraft (with FMS aboard). the 3P only uses radials, and is available to all IFR aircraft.

  2. Let's say we are cleared the AMFOU3R arrival. upon reaching AMFOU fly direct ARMUS, then SINRA, and finally DRAMO.

  3. Altitude planning: we can plan to cross AMFOU at or above FL200; ARMUS Below FL120 and SINRA anywhere between FL120 and FL60.

  4. Speed restrictions: if a holding is required over AMFOU max speed is 240 KIAS; the next speed restriction is over SINRA where if entering the hold max speed is 220 KIAS. There is no other published restriction, but bear in mind the 250kts below 10'000ft always applies unless otherwise mentioned.

  5. Holds: there are 2 holding patterns for this arrival. One over AMFOU, the other over DRAMO. these holds are based on fixed distance legs. The first hold is made on the St. Tropez VOR radial 316, we see it is a right hand hold.
    The second hold in on the Le Luc VOR radial 085 outbound. it has a left hand pattern.


(for more information on holds and holding patterns see section 2.6_ Holding patterns)

2.6.2_ RNAV STAR

A full RNAV STAR is a route that will lead you from your last en-route fix directly to the ILS intercept without requiring vectors from ATC.

This is the Youth 2 arrival for the north/south runways in Toronto.



  1. First thing we notice: there are 2 different versions, one for the 15s one for the 33s.

  2. Say we are "cleared for the ILS 15R via the Youth 2 arrival" this means that we are to fly the STAR, and intercept the ILS without further ATC clearance/vectors.
    The route would be as follows: LINNG YOUTH VERKO MIRUG EPSUN PILKI where we intercept and fly the ILS for 15L.

    Now if we were only cleared the Youth 2 arrival after EPSUN we would continue on the published heading (327º)

    In the case of an arrival using the 33s clearance to the STAR should mean clearance for the ILS, but it's best to double check with the controller if in doubt.

  3. Altitude planning: for runways 15R/L we can plan to cross LINNG at 10'000ft, and EPSUN no lower than 3000ft. For Runways 33R/L it's 7000ft at LINNG

    Some RNAV Stars include full descent instructions. In these cases ATC may clear you for a full procedure arrival. This means that you can descent as published without further instructions.

  4. Speed restrictions: Runways 15R/L 250 knots at LINNG, 200 knots at EPSUN. For the 33s it's 210 knots at LINNG. Be sure to follow these instructions scrupulously.

  5. Holds: there is only one Holding point for this STAR located at LINNG. The hold is on the YYZ radial 160, it's a left hand pattern, and has fixed distance legs.



2.6.3_ RNAV Transition

An RNAV transition is exactly what it's called. Basically a route from the last point of a traditional STAR to the ILS intercept. Here again there will be no vectoring from ATC

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