View Full Version : Training Flight In Class Bravo Airspace
06-27-2004, 10:36 PM
Today I worked a lesson on flying in class "B" airspace under CFI Scott Tinnesand. Our goal was to work the lesson flight in a controled class "B" airspace with as much interaction as possible (without being a nuisance).
We have two airports to choose from, Boeing Field or Sea-Tac. We choose Sea-Tac because it was a little closer and near my home. Good day to get a pix. It is also a very impressive airport to fly over.
We called Sea-Tac control and asked for and received permission for a westerly transition Over the airport. Our destination was two miles west of the airport in controlled airspace. We plan to orbit when we reach our destination and take a few pictures.
You got to have some farm fields to start out with. But thats about all the field shots I can get.
06-27-2004, 10:49 PM
Up the Valley
06-27-2004, 10:52 PM
Tower said turn left 90 degrees at Southcenter Shopping Mall. At 1500 feet.
06-27-2004, 10:54 PM
Sea-tac is starting to take shape.
06-27-2004, 10:57 PM
North End of Runway
06-27-2004, 11:00 PM
Those are really big airplanes. Tower was great about our transition. They thought it was way cool to have one of those experimental gyroplanes flying overhead.
06-27-2004, 11:03 PM
Heading West to our destination two miles from Sea-tac. That is the edge of Puget Sound.
06-27-2004, 11:19 PM
Pix at 1500 feet
06-27-2004, 11:25 PM
Time to go back across Sea-Tac going East
06-27-2004, 11:30 PM
The business side of Sea-Tac
06-27-2004, 11:33 PM
Auburn Field is where we fly out of for the flight school. Great area to learn. It is uncontrolled airspace.
06-28-2004, 12:33 AM
Awesome! Thanks for posting these great pix.
I look forward to sharing some of these great Pacific Northwest aerial shots with the guys here once I get flying myself.
06-28-2004, 05:01 AM
Fantastic shots! I love the big gyro wheel over the parking lot but seeing the 'big-birds' on the taxiway is really cool. 3-point looks like a neat area.
06-28-2004, 05:07 AM
what gyro were you guys flying?
06-28-2004, 07:20 AM
I am using an AAI modified RAF. In the next few weeks I will have my SparrowHawk done and will add that to our flight training school.
06-28-2004, 08:57 AM
Cool, looks like fun!
06-28-2004, 09:22 AM
Great Pictures Randy. It looks like the weather is treating you well on that side of the mountains. Hopefully you'll hold on to the good weather for Arlington in a couple weeks.
07-01-2004, 02:41 PM
Randy. Great photographs. I should do the same with my pics that I took with Scott during my Sparrowhawk training flights over Phoenix. I will post them tomorrow.
This is my first posting, so if anyone wants to know how a 30 year, fixed wing, fighter jock feels about flying the Sparrowhawk just fire away. I fell in love with the aircraft on day one!
07-02-2004, 03:26 AM
That's one serious look'n airstrip.Did that much traffic have you look'n over your shoulder???[I wouldn't have the balls to fly there,I get nervse when a sparrow gets too close]
07-03-2004, 01:22 AM
Hey, it's gotta be easier than going eyeball-to-eyeball with a herd of beasts, each of which outgrosses your gyro by a factor of six or more...
Seriously, in Class B airspace you are *supposedly* under the wings of the controllers. You are definitely on their radar, as you must have a transponder to fly within 30 nm of their field. Before you get into their airspace you must call and ask permission. Actually, first you have to tune the frequency and wait to get a word in edgewise. You need to do this pretty early, because you ewant to be talking with them by the time you're 20 nm out.
A busy field (and remember, "B" means "Big" and "Busy") will often have two or more sectors, so you talk to a different approach/departure controller depending on where you come from. For instance, there are two Boston Approach/Departure positions, one north and one south of an East-West magnetic line. But say you've tunded the right freq, and everyone else isn't talking for a second, you can get in: "Boston Approach, this is Experimental 41489 at 2,000 feet and climbing out of Beverly to the south, destination Hyannis, we'd like to transit the Class B at 4,500." (that is an example -- it actually would be unlikely to be approved).
"41489, squawk ident." Here is is telling me to press the IDENT button on my transponder. It makes my blip on his screen flash (oversimplification) so he can see which one of the VFR blips is me. (VFR=squawking 1200). You don't say anything here, complying with his IDENT request is acknowledgement enough.
"489, radar contact, squawk 0386, turn left course one zero zero, climb, maintain 4,500, clear to enter Class B." The magic word you are listening for is clear. You can't enter the Class B airspace without explicit clearance from the controller -- if he says "stand by," you stand by outside his airspace, or you will pay. You also need that discrete transponder code -- with that, your blip on the screen will show coded information about your flight. You usually get the code and clearance in the same transmission. Controllers at Class B fields are masters of economy of speech.
"489" (the book says read back, practicality says don't, unless you are unsure. Still it is better in the case of uncertainty to just ask "Say Again." Time is a critical resource in Class B radio commo. So if you copied the clearance, just acknowledge with your abbreviated callsign, and shut up!).
You are still flying VFR and responsible for your own hide. But the controller (and his powerful automated systems) are also looking out for you. He may call traffic for you. When you get to the other side, you can tell him, "Experimental 489 is out of the Class B," and he will tell you good day, squawk 1200, and advise you who to turn to next: "Contact Cape Approach eighteen two [118.2]." If you don't tell him you're out of his airspace he'll tell you, "Experimental 489, radar service terminated, squawk VFR, contact..." when he sees you are clear.
While doing this you may see jetliners passing 2,000 feet below you on approach to landing. 2,000 feet looks like they are going to park the plane in your pocket.
The controllers will only permit you to transit a Class B when their workload allows. Some Class Bs in the states are busier than others. Sometimes the Class B has VFR corridors in or around it -- an example is (was? Haven't been there since 9/11) LA, another one NYC where three Class Bs sit near each other but there is a VFR corridor around Lower Manhattan that threads between the JFK and La Guardia Class Bs (a fun but hairy place to fly). A VFR corridor is airspace set aside to let the eyeball flyers get from Point A to Point B without interfering with the heavy flow of IFR airline traffic. VFR corridors are a LOT scarier to fly in than the Class B.
In the dead of night you can sometimes even shoot an approach and landing on one of the big runways. This is getting harder to do as more and more air freight uses the runways at night almost as much as the pax flights do during the day. But the controllers get a kick out of clearing a Cessna 150 to touch-and go on a 10,000 foot runway.
07-03-2004, 08:02 AM
Hi Kevin, Thank you for a beautiful explanation. I always enjoy the way you write. Can you recomend a good place to learn more about using the radio. I bought some software at Sun n Fun and I havent been able to get it to work yet. I realize that peoples lives depend on correct comunication skills and I find this very intimidating.
Thank you, Vance
07-03-2004, 08:27 AM
The most practical and useful thing might be to find a small Class-D towered airport near you, call ahead by phone and ask them when things quiet down for the day, plan carefully, and just practice the real thing in the early evening when it's still daylight, but not busy. Ask a fixed-wing CFI near you where he'd recommend such practice. (Fixed-wing CFI because they probably have more students practicing at towered airports than the gyro guys.)
The software will help you, but real experience at airports where you're likely to fly on a regular basis anyway is probably more useful.
07-03-2004, 01:28 PM
Paul is absolutely right. You need experience. I did my primary training in busy towered fields, plus I had plenty of military experience using radios, so for me a busy towered field is nothing alarming. Send me to a busy untowered GA field with everything from ULs and gliders, to Gulfstreams bombing into the field straight-in, and I am reduced to the shivers.
Like Paul says, start on a small field. Tower personnel whether they are FAA or contract are usually really great to deal with, especially if you meet them half way. Another good thing to do is take a tower tour and observe them in action -- preferably when it is kind of busy. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 the FAA stopped that interaction between pilots and trollers, but it's back on. Many controllers are also pilots, and quite a number of them are real aviation buffs. Plus, they know that opening communications lines up is great for safety. The more we understand about what they do, and vice versa, the better than can do their job, which is move aircraft through the airspace with the minimum delay consistent with maximum safety.
if you call a busy controller and are hesitant or messed up on the radio, you might well wind up sent off on weird vectors to get out of his way (if under his control), or extended for four miles out on downwind (happened to me at KBED... I called the controller and reminded him I was about to bust the Class B under his control, did he mind if I turned... embarrassment all round).
If you learn from books, a book called "Avoiding Common Pilot Errors" by John Stewart is a controller's view. ISBN is 0830624341. Even more helpful may be controller Don Brown's ongoing series of columns in AvWeb. (note: I work for an AvWeb competitor, aero-news, but I don't mind saying AvWeb has better columns, archives, and organisation than we do. But we beat them on some stuff also). Don's columns are here; start with oldest first. (bottom up): http://www.avweb.com/news/columns/182651-1.html
But Paul Plack is dead right -- best to learn by doing, or to reinforce the lessons of book l'arning that way.
07-03-2004, 01:31 PM
Thank You Paul and Kevin, I will implement your sudgestions. Thank you, Vance
07-04-2004, 02:27 AM
Yeh Kevin,gess I'm lucky the beasts can't fly ay!! :D
Besides,all those rules to remember would overload my little head,upsetting the COM,then I'd be in real trouble. :(
Hey!!!!!!!Maybe that's why my thrustline is too high,I'v no balast between me ears to balance it out. :rolleyes:
07-04-2004, 09:09 AM
Paul's suggestion is very good. I started at a busy Class D airport in San Jose (RHV) and that was hard enough. I personally found the radio work to be very difficult at first given the hyperactive chatter going on between frustrated controllers and students from the 10 training schools based at RHV. Thank God for the controllers!
Hognose is right of course, but I wouldn't put my life in the controller's hands no matter WHAT airspace you're in. Just the other day I noticed a Gulfstream on a direct heading to our Mooney, and let me tell you, it didn't take long and boy, does a Gulfstream look HUGE real fast. We got no warning from the controller and it was Class B airspace.
07-04-2004, 12:38 PM
Say Again Please is a real good book for learning about radio procedures etc.:
Its available at amazon for less than $14
Say Again Please @ Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/156027428X/ref=sib_dp_pt/002-8472717-8148824#reader-link)
07-05-2004, 11:25 PM
I am glad to see the replys to my thread. Our conversation with Sea-Tac tower was very much like the discription from Hognose. In our flight school we do train for operation in controlled airspace. You can get good training at most fixed wing ground schools also. The communication skills needed are the same in a gyro as a fixed wing. We have some good ground school courses in this area starting at about $300.
07-05-2004, 11:32 PM
Pix of my home from the air. We were at 1,500 feet so everthing is a little small. That was the altitude requested by Sea-Tac for us to fly. My wife was on the deck waving (so she said). Was a great day. Tomorrow we fly up to the EAA Fly-In at Arlington. We will have the AAI modified RAF giving rides for the next five days and the SparrrowHawk on static display. Just about two weeks to go on finishing the SparrowHawk.
07-06-2004, 03:04 PM
Great Pic's Randy:
Been watching this thread and looking forward to seeing the new AAI's SparrowHawk at Mentone.
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