ZLA Logo
Table of Contents

Arrival and Departure Procedures — Arrival Procedures Last updated: 2018-01-23

There may or may not be an arrival stage in an aircraft’s flight plan. If there is it will be a STAR (Standard terminal arrival route) and if there isn’t it will be part of the en route part and will end at a nearby fix such as VOR.

This is an example of a STAR:
An example of no STAR:

STARs (Standard Terminal Arrival Route)

A STAR is an ATC coded IFR arrival route established for application to arriving IFR aircraft destined for certain airports. Its purpose is to simplify clearance delivery procedures and facilitate transition between en route and instrument approach procedures. In a way, they are similar to SIDs in that they both have initial fixes and transitions and also you have RNAV and non-RNAV STARs.

However, there are two types of STARs, profile and non-profile.

Profile STAR

Profile STARs have mandatory speeds and/or crossing altitudes published.

DESCEND VIA (name/number of arrival)

LAS_APP: “AAL123, descend via the KEPEC six arrival”

Working the SAN sector of Socal Approach, you will receive aircraft from ZLA already descending via the arrival. Working L30, however, you issue the descend via instructions to aircraft received from center.
When the pilot is issued "descend via the KEPEC six arrival”, he should cross CLARR at 13000ft and 250kts, then, maintain 13000ft until KEPEC, then cross IPUMY at 11000ft and 230 knots, then NIPZO at 9000ft at 210kts, SUNST at 8000ft at 210kts, KIMME at 8000ft at 210kts CHIPZ at 8000ft at 170kts. Since after CHIPZ there are no more published altitude restrictions, pilots should maintain 8000 after CHIPZ.
It is recommended that when you instruct an aircraft to descend via an arrival, you enter the final altitude on the arrival as the temporary altitude of the aircraft. In this case 8000ft. That way, this will act as a reminder to yourself that the aircraft has been cleared to descend via the arrival and at what altitude will he level off.

Some arrivals in ZLA also contain published transition routes based on runway assignment. One such example is the SITEE2 STAR to LAS. On initial contact with an aircraft, or as soon as possible, you should state the runway transition to fly.

(STAR/RNAV STAR/FMSP name and number) ARRIVAL.
(STAR/RNAV STAR/FMSP name and number) ARRIVAL, (transition name) TRANSITION.

LAS_APP: "AAL123, descend via the SITEE two arrival, runway 26L transition."

You may need to amend the runway transition for balance between runways.

LAS_APP: "AAL123, change transition to runway 19R."

Note that the transition change must be made greater than 10 miles from the runway transition waypoint, on the SITEE2 arrival, that waypoint is SITEE. If the aircraft is less than 10 miles from the runway transition waypoint, radar vectors to final must be provided.

{“Reference: FAAO 7110.65 4-5-7 and 4-7-1”}

Non-profile STAR

Non-profile STARs do not have published crossing altitudes restrictions and may or may not have expected altitudes at certain fixes. You may not use the instruction “descend via the arrival” with these kind of STARs

The FUZZY8 arrival into the Las Vegas area serves McCarran, Henderson, Nellis, North Las Vegas and Boulder City Airport. It is non-RNAV and non-profile. Note the expected altitude at FUZZY, that does not allow you to issue the instruction descend via the arrival.
In this case, as you cannot instruct them to descend via the arrival, you have to descend them keeping them at above the MEA (Minimum En-route Altitude) if published or above the MVA (Minimum Vectoring Altitude). The FUZZY8 has high MEAs so you have to be careful as those altitudes ensure not only terrain separation but also navigational aid coverage.
You will receive aircraft from Center about 10-15 miles northwest of FUZZY and will be crossing FUZZY at 16000 feet and 250 knots. After FUZZY, the lowest you can descend them is 14000 feet as that is the published MEA for that segment of the arrival even though the MVA in the area is much lower. If you’d like to descend them below the MEA to the MVA, you would have to pull the aircraft off the arrival.
At IKRIY, the MEA changes to 11000 feet so after IKRIY you can descend them to 11000 feet and after IPUMY to 7500 feet. However, you are not going to want to descend them to 7500 feet there as departures are restricted to 7000ft thus not having the appropriate radar separation. At L30 it is best to keep traffic inbound on the CLARR/FUZZY arrivals at or above 8000 feet until past the departure end of runway 19L.
Another important point about this STAR, that also applies to the CLARR3 arrival into Las Vegas, is that the arrival finishes at BLD and there are no published instructions beyond that so aircraft after reaching BLD will turn direct to the airport as that was their clearance limit. In order to avoid this it is good practice to tell them to depart BLD on a heading 080 when issuing the descent to 8000 feet, that way you will keep them on a nice downwind for runway 26L.

LAS_APP: “AAL123, descend and maintain 8000, depart Boulder City heading 080, vector to final approach course”