Federal Aviation Administration

FAA Minneapolis ARTCC
512 Division St.
Farmington, MN 55024

Issued: 02/27/2015 1731 (UTC) Effective: 03/05/2015 1200 (UTC)
FAA Minneapolis ARTCC Letter to Airmen: LTA-ZMP-1
**** Cancelled on 11/24/2015 1545****

Subject: MSP RNAV STARS Procedures

Cancellation: 03/04/2016 1200 (UTC)

On March 5, 2015, six RNAV STARs with Optimum Profile Descents (OPD) will be published for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).  These RNAV STARs will be NOTAM’d OTS - “ATC ASSIGNED ONLY” until a planned implementation date of Tuesday, March 24, 2015.   Five RNP-AR approaches are also part of the MSP Performance Based Navigation (PBN) project and will be published on April 30, 2015.  The five conventional, or Non-OPD STARs, currently in place at MSP will remain.  The STARs to MSP satellite airports remained unchanged. 

Operators are requested to ensure flight planning resources and database information is updated in conjunction with these procedures. However, it needs to be re-emphasized that operators should not file the new MSP RNAV STARs until 3/24/15. Please continue to file the legacy STARs into MSP from 3/5/15 through 3/23/15.

The MSP RNAV STAR OPD procedures will provide more efficiency due to vertical navigation profiles. The six new RNAV STARs are the MUSCL, the KKILR, the BAINY, the TORGY, the NITZR, and the BLUEM.

Pilots can expect Minneapolis Center (ZMP) to issue a “descend via” clearance on the applicable RNAV STAR, including a landing direction and expected runway.  Pilots can also anticipate, when handed off to Minneapolis TRACON (M98), to continue descend via RNAV STAR operations unless cleared otherwise.  Depending on traffic, M98 controllers may assign a different arrival runway prior to the runway transition point to allow continuance of an optimized profile descent, OR you may receive radar vectors to a different runway than expected.

Pilots should adhere to their company policy and procedures for operating on performance-based procedures. It is important to emphasize proper Crew Resource Management (CRM), where pilots should ensure a procedure is thoroughly briefed and reviewed, particularly with these new and amended RNAV procedures before beginning the procedure profile.

As Minneapolis Center begins RNAV STARs descend via operations, here are some important pilot considerations and procedural notes:

1. You are not cleared for the vertical profile until ATC issues a “Descend Via” clearance.

2. You cannot climb to a higher altitude when issued descend via clearance.

3. If you were issued a speed to maintain and are later issued a “descend via” clearance, all published speeds become mandatory unless the controller specifically assigns a speed after the descend via clearance is issued.

4. If you are vectored off the arrival you should be given an altitude to maintain. When you are "re-cleared" on the arrival, a clearance to join the arrival only gives you lateral clearance. You should be issued a new "descend via" clearance for the vertical profile.

5. Minimum Enroute Altitudes (MEAs) are not part of the vertical profile. An MEA is based on obstruction clearance and DME NAVAID reception. They are not ATC procedure restrictions. An MEA is identified on the procedure graphic along track. Coded restrictions are depicted at the fix/NAVAID or waypoint, and are part of the vertical profile. Your Flight Management System (FMS) should have the coded restriction automated, not the MEA.

Implementation Plans -  March 24, 2015, to approximately April 21, 2015: 

During this break-in period, MSP’s airport arrival rate (AAR) will be reduced to allow controllers and pilots the opportunity to become proficient with the new procedures.  Pilots flying into MSP may be issued reroutes, experience departure delays and/or airborne holding, be vectored for expanded MIT, among other initiatives to control volume during the break-in period.  Additionally, the Command Center will be issuing daily route advisories requiring mandatory city-pair preference routes to help manage volume.  This advisory will be available at the Command Center website:


-        Minneapolis Center will issue a landing direction and expected landing runway. Minneapolis Approach may assign a different runway prior to the runway transition point to allow continuance of an optimized profile descent, OR you may receive radar vectors to a different runway than expected.

-        ZMP ATC-assigned only transitions:

MUSCL STAR: KAMMA-JERMN transition is ATC-assigned only

BLUEM STAR: HELLO-OOPEE transition is ATC-assigned only

-        MSP TRACON Overflight traffic at or below 17,000 may be rerouted or altitude amended to navigate through new airspace configurations resulting from the new RNAV OPD STARs.

-        MSP TRACON Satellite departures may be altitude capped briefly, depending on traffic, due to new procedures and airspace configurations.

A detailed explanation of the associated routes, procedures and changes is available on the FAA ATCSCC website at: There you will find updated information on all the March 5, 2015 changes as well as ATC preferred routings to city pairs.

For questions or comments, please contact the Minneapolis Center Airspace and Procedures Office at (651)463-5599.








Kelly C. Nelson
Air Traffic Manager, FAA Minneapolis ARTCC