SID's: Getting out of "Vegas" the Right Way

Last time I wrote about what makes a good IFR route. Now let’s look at the individual segments of the flight you are planning by beginning with the proper Standard Instrument Departure or “SID” As I mentioned in my last post, The SID is a procedure used by ATC and Pilots to get your flight transitioned out of TERMINAL airspace into the EN-ROUTE environment. Also, some SID’s are developed for terrain, adjacent airspace, obstacle clearance and noise abatement.

There are two common types of SID’s, The Radar Vector SID and the Pilot Nav SID.

Let’s take a look at the Pilot Nav SID first. The BOACH4 Departure out of LasVegas McCarran is an RNAV Departure. Notice that the flight path from departure end of the runway to the final transition fix is a BOLD black line. The pilot is responsible for remaining on the published path and complying with ALL altitude (notice after departure on 25L/R, you must maintain a heading of 255 until you above  2681ft/msl before proceeding direct to the first RNAV fix) AND speed restrictions (Note the speed restriction off RWY01L/R of 230kts or less)unless otherwise directed by ATC. The BOACH4 Narrative does just that. It provides a written description of the various departure routes. There are several crossing restrictions to meet all the way to the final altitude on the Narrative page of FL190.

A Radar Vector SID allows ATC a little more control and flexibility at the same time. The MCCRN3 Departure is a good example of a Radar Vector SID. The published procedure assigns initial headings and some altitude restrictions on departure, then ATC will assign headings and altitudes after that to guide you to the filed transition point. The MCCRN3 Narrative page also provides detailed instructions for specific altitude restrictions.

So you want to get out of Vegas on your way to Sunny SoCal and land at Ontario. Which departure should you choose? The route of flight approved on VATSIM is either: KLAS MCCRN3.HEC.ZIGGY4 KONT or KLAS BOACH4.HEC.ZIGGY4 KONT. A couple of factors need to be considered. First The common fix on the route is HEC. We need to get there with one of these two SID’s. Consider which version of FS you are using, what waypoints are in your database, what  NAV eqiuipment is onboard your aircraft, simple GPS or FMC, do you use flight planning software (FlightsimCommander, FSBuild, etc.) or do you like to ‘hand fly’ your departures?

If you are using the Project Airbus series default panel, you probably only have the simple FS GPS available. FS9 is missing some of the required waypoints to follow the BOACH4 RNAV departure. So, you would have to file the MCCRN3.HEC. Let’s say you use vasFMC or the WILCO or PSS panel merged into your Airbus and you have an up to date AIRAC cycle, you can choose either, depending on your preference for flying below 10,000ft.

If you choose the RNAV departure, please make sure that ALL altitude and speed restrictions are plugged into the FMC before pushback. This will ensure that your aircraft will fly the proper departure profile.

Next time I will be discussing getting set up for a proper arrival. To include proper en-route descent profile and energy management.

Until then, Blue Skies!

Derrick Medlin

Derrick Medlin has been a pilot with MetroAir Virtual Airlines since March of 2008. He has served as Allegius Hub Manager and mainline Hub Manager in each of it's hub cities and is currently serving