Noob - ATC told me to "Direct to VELAG, it' in your flight plan" - it was not so what to do?

XP11 - A320 - EGKK/EGNX - flew a LAM6M departure, but before reaching LAM was “direct to HEMEL” - then “Direct to VELAG”. When i questioned the controller he said “its in your flight plan”. But on inspection it was not ??

So I disconnected as I (and the aeroplane) were confused.

What went wrong?

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Take a closer look at your flight plan. It consists not only of the corner waypoints, but also of the waypoints that lie on the route. These points are usually also transferred to your FMS. In a flight plan created in Simbrief, it looks like this:

So a proper briefing includes exactly that.


Even if those points were not in your FPL (which they probably were if ATC said so) you are still required to be able to fly via those waypoints, c.f. CoC B8(c)(4)

B8(c) A pilot shall be expected to promptly comply with basic air traffic control instructions that are applicable to their flight rules. These include:
(4) When IFR, fly a cleared route by use of navigation aids / waypoints and fly to unplanned navigational aids / waypoints when instructed


In other words: you just punch the waypoint into your FMS and go there.

Thank you for your reply - I will fly the route (outside VATSIM) and check the FMS and ALL the waypoints.

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Thank you, understood.

I will not fly VATSIM for a while until I am more confident.

No, that would be a wrong conclusion. Just keep flying online and do it better/different next time! Unless you get exposed to new situations/instructions, you won’t be able to progress as quick.



Thank you for the encouragement - I will practice the route a few times then go back online.


I have just planned the route again (EGKK/EGNX) and put the route into my A320 FMS. This is what is in the FMS: Runway 26L LAM6M departure

No mention of VELAG?

What was the route that you had planned? The NATS route Simbrief spits out when you ask it for an EGKK-EGNX route is “LAM6M LAM N57 WELIN HEMEL1E”.
From what you say, it seems you didn’t program the arrival - if you correctly program that into your MCDU, VELAG has to be there because it is a waypoint on the HEMEL1E arrival.

Simbrief did include the HEMEL1E arrival but when I downloaded the flight plan into my MCDU, this is what it came back with.
As you can see the last waypoint is WELIN. - But I think you have identified the problem, I will look out for that next time. Many thanks for your help.

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I’ve just flown the route (Not Vatsim) with the HEMEL1E arrival and as you say the VELAG waypoint is there.
Question: When departing an airport we don’t always know what the destination arrival runway will be, so how can we use a STAR in the MCDU until we know the arrival runway?

It really depends on the country. In some places you are supposed to file your STAR (and SID), in others you are not. I’m not entirely sure how it’s done in the UK off the top of my head, but if the controller didn’t clear you for the HEMEL1E arrival and still saw VELAG as a point in your flight plan, I’d assume the STARs are filed there.
You can always program a STAR and approach that you expect based on the weather forecast etc., that’s basic staying ahead of the aircraft. Of course, when a controller clears you for a different procedure, you then have to change the procedure in your MCDU and do an appropriate briefing. This is also why importing the flight plan from SimBrief doesn’t remove the need to check that everything has been inserted correctly and - if necessary, like in this case - make changes to the data (usually, it also helps a lot with situational awareness and system knowledge to enter all the values manually, but downloading is obviously faster if you don’t have a lot of time and a lot of data to enter).

In some places it is often quite obvious what runway will be in use at your time of arrival and there will be only one or two STARs applicable connecting your last point of your flightplan with that runway.

East Midlands/EGNX has only one runway and as you are supposed to check the METAR and TAF before departure (or at least during your flight…), you will find out what runway is going to be in use. So, why not insert that STAR already on the ground before starting your engines?
In my real aircraft we have to insert the expected STAR to cross-check the planned total distance of our flightplan against the predicted mileage that our FMS spit out.

Just to complement David’s comment about downloading flightplans: even if you download a plan, you are supposed to check all waypoint against your OFP (operational flight plan). At work we download the flightplans in 90% of cases and only check their correctness. We still have to amend the FMS for SID and STAR, of course.

What was the full route clearance that you were issued prior to departing EGKK? If that route clearance included the HEMEL1E, you should really have that programmed into your FMS prior to departure. Yes, it might change enroute, but you at least have a starting point.

Here’s another option in case something like this happens in the future, because it happens a lot even in the real world. Ask for an initial vector to the fix until you can get your aircraft navigation caught up. It’s easy for you and the controller and keeps traffic moving.

I filed the route EXLUDING the arrival STAR as I thought we only put that in when we know the arrival runway.

I will check more thoroughly on the arrival details on my next flight.

Thanks for all your help and advice

Have a look at the STAR chart for EGNX: HEMEL 1E is a general STAR, it does apply to both landing runway directions. In other words: even without knowing the landing runway you can always insert that STAR even before departing. Aviation is a looooooooot about anticipating things, about being prepared for things, build and keep your situational awareness. It makes life so much easier, because you’ll have more capacity to process other non-standard calls/situations. That’s basically all that us IRL pilots try to do all the time. It’s not because we are “cool”, it is because we are trying to stay ahead of our aircraft as much as possible. It comes with experience.

I’d recommend taking part in a VATSIM First Wings event to gain confidence.

Many thanks for the feedback, l’ve learned a lot from this forum.


Hi Peter,

Both HEMEL and VELAG are, as others have pointed out, points on the HEMEL1E arrival for East Midlands. In the UK, even if the filed flightplan contains the STAR, controllers should still generally issue it to the pilot. I would’ve expected you to be told “HEMEL1E for East Midlands, route direct HEMEL”. Sometimes though (in the busyness of London!) the controller may forget.

I’d echo what others have said about preparation. Try to go through all the points on your route and look at the arrival charts ahead of time so you are ready for anything! And if ever you have a situation again where you are given a direct to a point that you haven’t planned via, just say “could you spell that phonetically?”. Then input it into your Directs/Legs page as required!

Anyway, I’ve put a reminder out to UK controllers to be aware of these short flights like EGKK-EGNX where the route and STAR don’t match up perfectly. :slight_smile:

Look forward to seeing you in UK airspace again soon!


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