Flying IFR with non-RNAV equipped GA aircraft in UK

Hi all,

Today I flew a route from EGGD (Bristol) to EGLL (Heathrow) in a very basic steam gauge Pipper PA28, no RNAV or GPS, and did a VOR hop to Heathrow.

So the route is EGGD/27 N0155F050 DCT CPT DCT LON DCT EGLL/27L according to Simbrief.

There was no ATC up until about 12 miles from Heathrow, so I contacted EGLL_N_APP.

Upon first contact, I requested vectors to final and was told the route was ‘complete rubbish’. I said I was sorry because it was my first time flying IFR in GA aircraft in the UK and all went well, I got vectors to final.

Then I kindly asked the director what route to follow? I was given a link to the standard route of the UK:

After I landed I searched about this for an answer I came across this topic: General Aviation IFR UK - Pilot Talk - VATSIM Community. They did not say the route, which is also VOR hopping, is wrong.

So what is the correct way to do it? Should I stay VFR and assist with VOR hopping instead?

It will be hard for me to search through the ‘standard route’ according to the excel file?


Search down column A for your departure airport then column G for your destination. Column B is the standard SID and F is the standard STAR.

The standard routes from EGGD to EGLL can sort of be flown conventionally without GPS. You need to have your flight plan finishing at SIRIC rather than CPT.

So the route would be EGGD/27 DCT HAWFA L607 YORQI N21 CAWZE P2 SIRIC.

You can do to HAWFA 1X SID to HAWFA then YORQI based on radials to HON and CPT. If EGGD/09 is in use the route is EGGD/09 DCT YORQI N21 CAWZE P2 SIRIC and you can do the YORQI 1Z to YORQI the same way.

From there it’s a slight cheat. Fly heading 118 towards CAWZE which can be fixed relative to DVR. From there fly the 276 radial towards DVR to SIRIC (a slight cheat but you should be within the limits of RNAV 1). SIRIC has an exact position relative to CPT and BIG shown on the SIRIC 1Z for EGLL and SIRIC 1C for EGKB.

From SIRIC you’ll be cleared on the SIRIC 1H which can be flown conventionally using DME/DME to OCK, then the initial approach from OCK to any ILS can be done conventionally without radar vectors.

Another option is you could depart from EGKR or EGTE which are both DCT SAM L620 HAZEL, a simple radial. The HAZEL 1H is then an easy radial to OCK.

Hi nice thanks for the info!

So for RNAVless aircraft, you still need to fly a SID and STAR because they are basically radials of an VOR. But in between, e.g. longer distance like Edinburgh to Heathrow you can set for VOR hopping or intercept radials is that correct?

Where can i find the DVR radials to CAWZE, is it in the charts or just measure it from

With a bit of careful planning you can do it very close to the capabilities of a GNSS-equipped aircraft. At least within the tolerances of RNAV 1.

You can do longer routes too with careful planning. I have done Cardiff to Inverness in a 737-200 and Land’s End to Wick in a DC-3 on the network using only VORs.

The headings and radials will be on Skyvector and in the Navigraph app.

Can you actually fly SIRIC 1X STAR in GA? It seems that there is an altitude restriction like for instance SIRIC1H at SIRIC you need to be at FL140?

I get pretty bored with the RNAV aircraft and wanted to try out traditional steam gauges aircraft ha

It depends what GA aircraft you’re flying. A King Air or similar wouldn’t have any problems getting to FL140. But if you’re in something unpressurised just tell ATC as early as possible you’re unable to reach the altitude restriction due aircraft type.

On the other hand, in a slow GA aircraft it might be less hassle to avoid the biggest airports completely! Head for somewhere like Biggin Hill instead. You can actually overfly some of the larger airports, even flying VFR. See this example of overflying Luton in a Cirrus SR22.

One of the requirements to fly a RNAV SID/STAR/Approach, is that it must be loaded from an approved database unedited. It must have the same identifier as on the chart. You are not allowed to dead reckon your way along an RNAV procedure.

OP, the controller was clueless as to your navigation performance. If you’re not equipped appropriately, don’t file the standard modern routes. What you did was more or less correct. On the initial call, put emphasis on the fact that you are unable RNAV, and VOR/DME/ADF only. You should be provided vectors to the appropriate approach, hopefully without the usual UK vATC snide remarks.