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Is 'expect' a (specific) STAR a clearance to fly it?

Maybe 50% of the time when flying IFR back to my base (Cambridge, EGSC) London Control tells me to ‘expect’ a certain arrival STAR. And then never mentions it again. Recently, flying back from La Rochelle, I was handed from Paris to London just north of the Normandy coast. London gave me “KATHY then HAZEL. Expect the LAUREL2B arrival” From memory I think the LAUREL2B starts at HAZEL and then proceeds to WCO.

So my query is – does one treat this as a clearance to fly the STAR, or not? When first presented with this I tended to ask for explicit clearance when approaching the last cleared to waypoint (HAZEL in the example above). Now I tend to just start flying the STAR, but always a bit wary that a b#llocking will arrive over the radio! Only London Control seems to use this ‘expect’ phrase. I’ve never had this in either France or Germany. Fortunately it usually resolves itself after a few minutes with an instruction to fly a heading!

TJ
Cambridge EGSC

I don’t think it’s a clearance but ATC are giving you the heads up for loading the STAR onto the FMS. Good question. In the event of a comms failure I would squawk 7600 and fly it if not VMC.

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)

Only guessing here (never bothered to read the UK AIC or even the relevant Jeppesen pages). My experience with London control is that they always give you radar headings and very early. Even when flying to places like Manchester they start giving you headings well south of London. Therefore I load the “expect XXX arrival” into the FMS but treat it as a lost com procrdure. Sometimes instead of a heading they give you a direct-to waypoint which interestingly in most cases is not part of the SID they eariler told you to expect… It wouldn’t be the UK otherwise

EDDS - Stuttgart

I get the same thing in the Paris area as well. “Expect VELOL7T” for example, and then I just get directs to a couple of waypoints on the approach.

LFPT, LFPN

I get this too flying up from the south of the UK back to my home base in Coventry (EGBE). London always say “expect GROVE1B into Coventry” At this point I will load the arrival procedure but It never happens, it always ends up with either a “direct HON” or “direct CT” then either a R/V ILS or procedural approach if Coventry radar has closed and gone home.

EGBE (COVENTRY, UK)

Yes I think is is mostly so the relevant waypoints are loaded in the FMS. But it certainly isn’t a clearance. When London assigns an arrival they don’t preface with expect eg Speedbird XXX, identified, LAM3A for Heathrow.

EGTK Oxford

Aviathor wrote:

I get the same thing in the Paris area as well. “Expect VELOL7T” for example, and then I just get directs to a couple of waypoints on the approach.

I meant on the arrival…

LFPT, LFPN

I also load the arrival proc when given the ‘expect’ instruction. Sometimes the problem of whether to fly the STAR never really materialises, because headings are given before starting to fly it. But often complete silence from London when approaching the last waypoint I’ve been cleared to. It looks as though they are assuming I’ll start on the first leg of the STAR, presumably on the basis that it’s taking me in the required direction before starting to issue headings. A bit more clarity would be helpful though!

TJ
Cambridge EGSC

TJ wrote:

A bit more clarity would be helpful though!

I think they fully expect you to fly it but I would ask before my final FPL waypoint.

EGTK Oxford

Personally I think would ask “Approaching , Confirm cleared LAM3A” or something like that.

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