The Mor­ris­town Six SID

Flying - - CONTENTS - By Rob Mark and Ja­son Blair

Although the Mor­ris­town Six could eas­ily be con­fused with a ’60s rock-and-roll band, the name ac­tu­ally ap­plies to a stan­dard in­stru­ment de­par­ture pro­ce­dure, also known as a SID. SIDs look and feel dif­fer­ent from tra­di­tional ap­proach pro­ce­dures, of­ten in­clud­ing far more in­for­ma­tion ar­ranged in a com­plex lay­out some pi­lots might find con­fus­ing.

Air traf­fic con­trol may is­sue a SID as part of an IFR clear­ance to speed the process of mov­ing traf­fic and re­duce the op­por­tu­nity for com­mu­ni­ca­tions er­rors by con­trollers and pi­lots. Rather than the clear­ance de­liv­ery con­troller re­peat­ing es­sen­tially the same lengthy in­struc­tions over and over, use of a SID al­lows each air­craft to re­ceive de­tailed in­struc­tions about its route in a for­mat the pi­lot can re­view be­fore even crank­ing the engine. A SID will nor­mally in­clude an ini­tial head­ing and al­ti­tude the pi­lot is ex­pected to fly. The pro­ce­dure be­gins when the air­craft takes off, and can vary de­pend­ing upon the de­par­ture run­way. Ini­tial de­par­ture in­struc­tions gen­er­ally ap­pear in text and graph­i­cal for­mat. SIDs make ATC’s role of pro­vid­ing the proper separation be­tween air­craft eas­ier since con­trollers can ex­pect each de­part­ing air­craft to fly the same pub­lished track.

A— While the Mor­ris­town Six SID might ap­pear a bit com­pli­cated at first glimpse, the key is know­ing what “fix” along the route comes first. The pi­lot then uses the in­for­ma­tion as­so­ci­ated with that fix, or tran­si­tion, and can pretty much ig­nore the rest. The re­main­der of the in­for­ma­tion on the SID al­lows ATC to send de­par­tures in a va­ri­ety of di­rec­tions, know­ing they’ll re­main sep­a­rated from each other.

B— In­struc­tions, such as those for air­craft de­part­ing Run­way 31, de­mand close at­ten­tion. Not only are there spe­cific head­ings and al­ti­tudes — “Climb­ing right turn on SBJ R-052 to 1,700’, then climb­ing right turn head­ing 160 to 2,000’,” but also a spe­cific climb rate “per nau­ti­cal mile” to some point along the de­par­ture. Note the climb rate is in feet per nau­ti­cal mile, not feet per minute. Cock­pit in­stru­ments don’t typ­i­cally dis­play feet per nau­ti­cal mile, although a con­ver­sion chart on the SID al­lows the pi­lot to per­form the cal­cu­la­tions.

C — When de­part­ing Run­way 31, the MMU 6 re­quires a min­i­mum climb rate of 342 feet per nau­ti­cal mile to 1,500 feet msl. Use of this SID de­mands spe­cific take­off min­i­mums too. In the case of Run­way 31, that’s a ceil­ing of at least 500 feet and a vis­i­bil­ity of 1 mile.

D — It’s not un­com­mon for a SID clear­ance to omit the de­par­ture con­trol fre­quency. On a take­off from Run­way 23, the pi­lot would be ex­pected to re­view the SID and un­der­stand that New York It is not manda­tory to ac­cept a SID. If pi­lots pre­fer not to use one, they can make ATC’s life a bit eas­ier by adding “No SIDs or DPs” to their flight plan. Keep in mind that re­fus­ing a SID might cre­ate some de­lays to your de­par­ture. How­ever, a slight de­lay might be prefer­able to cock­pit con­fu­sion once air­borne in airspace as busy as New York’s.

H — Lis­ten­ing to the ATIS be­fore calling clear­ance de­liv­ery can tip off the pi­lot on whether or not a SID is in use, and if so, which one. This of­fers the pi­lot a few mo­ments to re­view the pro­ce­dure be­fore hear­ing any­thing on the ra­dio. It also makes copy­ing the clear­ance later a bit eas­ier.

G — Cop­ing with a loss of com­mu­ni­ca­tion while fly­ing the MMU 6 could dif­fer from the stan­dard prac­tices most pi­lots might use. On this pro­ce­dure, air­craft filed over spe­cific fixes are re­quired to climb to 3,000 feet once they cross the SBJ R-047.

F— A good prac­tice is to load the ac­tual “de­par­ture pro­ce­dure” into the GPS and/or FMS sys­tem, al­low­ing it to pop­u­late all the points along the route. With those points dis­played, se­lect­ing one be­comes much eas­ier when ATC says, “Pro­ceed di­rect…”

E— Pi­lots should not ex­pect “on course” or “on route” to a “filed al­ti­tude” un­til 10 min­utes af­ter de­par­ture. De­par­ture’s fre­quency is 119.2, data dis­played in the up­per left cor­ner of the chart.

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