I am kind of confused as to how STARS work as it is filed and when you are talking to ATC on arriving at an airport.
Do pilots fly the whole STAR to the runway? Or is it a mix of the terminal arrival procedures and ATC routings?
STARS (Standard Terminal Arrival Routes) are normally pre-planned when the dispatchers (ground planners) filed the flight plans for the pilots.
For contingency reason, the longest STARS are planned for fuel calculation purposes.
Generally, consideration of any last moment runway changes is taken into account by the pilots as every runway has a unique STAR based on the direction they are flying into a particular airport.
However, an experienced captain may probably plan for the one he thinks would be used on arrival based on the prevailing surface wind. As such, he would have a good prediction of his arrival time for the passenger because some STARS are rather long.
Ultimately whether the complete STAR would be flown as prescribed would be based on the traffic of the day. If there are too many planes flying the similar approach, then the STAR would be partially flown and the air traffic controller would space the planes accordingly using radar. The STAR is then cancelled.
So the approach to the airport runway is indeed a mix of STARS and radar procedures.
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