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6 Answers

Planning flight through Class C airspace

Asked by: 2804 views , , ,

Would you critique this call to Approach Control?

Indy Approach, Cessna Skycatcher 123TW

Just off from Metro

Flying south through 3000

VFR to Monroe County

Request VFR radar flight following

Have Bravo

Do I need to explicitly request transition through their airspace or is that implied? Should I suggest an altitude?

Could you tell me the scope of what they're likely to say so I can be ready for it?

Much appreciated!

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6 Answers

  1. Ron Klutts on May 20, 2013

    If Monroe County is a known airport then it’s clear your not landing at the main Class C airport. The request for radar FF is also redundant. Is the bravo the ATIS code for Monroe? If it’s not far away then that does help them as they will ask for it at some point.

    They will respond, “Cessna Skycatcher 123TW squawk 0435, altimeter XX.XX”
    You ” Squawk 0435, XX.XX Skycatcher 123TW”
    ATC “Skycatcher 123TW, radar contact (gives your position), then you may give vectors or altitude based on traffic. He’ll also ask you for your altitude to verify his mode c readout on you.

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  2. Mark Kolber on May 20, 2013

    Not much to critique there. Minor technicalities and preferences that have nothing to do with whether you’ll be understood and receive service:

    You could shorten

    “VFR to Monroe County
    Request VFR radar flight following”

    to simply

    “Request Flight Following to Monroe County”

    FF is a radar-based service (some exceptions sometimes exist but not enough to be relevant to the communications). ATC generally will know if you are IFR and the fact that you are asking for Flight Following, a VFR service, tells them that anyway.

    “Have Bravo” isn’t really necessary for a transition; ATS information is directed toward landing and departing aircraft. So I’d probably drop it.

    ==Do I need to explicitly request transition through their airspace or is that implied? ==

    You don’t need to ask. ATC is going to assume you are going to fly a direct route from where you are to Monroe County. If they want you out of their way, they’ll tell you where to go, which might also include an instruction to remain clear of the Class C airspace altogether. That also means you’re telling them you are southbound and telling them you are going to Monroe County are redundant.

    ==Should I suggest an altitude?==

    You don’t have to “suggest” anything. If you’re in a climb, It’s good practice to tell them what your cruise altitude will be. Like the transition itself, if they need you higher or lower, they’ll tell you. I’d combine the cruise altitude with the climb information you already gave:

    “3000 climbing to 4500.”

    Last item: someone will probably talk about whether you give them the whole spiel on initial call-up or just your call sign or your call sign and that you have a “request.” That’s pretty much a combination of personal preference, common practice in the geographic area, and how busy it is.

    So, again, nothing wrong with yours but my call in the same situations would be:

    Indy Approach, Skycatcher 123TW
    Just off from Metro
    3000 climbing to 4500
    Request flight following to Monroe County

    What to expect? Remembering this is a workload-permitting service, if they give you flight following, they’ll give you a transponder squawk code and maybe nothing else until you are out of the airspace they control (which is lager that the Class C); at that point they will either pass you on to another facility or terminate flight following.

    While you are in contact with them, you may hear nothing. Or, you will receive information about traffic and perhaps periodic vectors for traffic.

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  3. Todd on May 21, 2013

    Excellent! Education at its finest. Thanks!

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  4. Mark Kolber on May 21, 2013

    One other quick comment: In general, there is a value to being succinct. The only way ATC has of knowing your experience level is your disembodied voice over the radio. On those very busy days, I’ve heard it make the the difference between receiving service and not.

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  5. Simon Liebold on May 22, 2013

    Just my 2 cent on Mark’s (very good) answer:

    > “3000 climbing to 4500.”

    You would omit the “to” to become:

    “3000 climbing 4500.”

    The “to” sounds too much like “two”. Hence you leave it out in this context. (Though, in this particular case it is obvious that you don’t *climb* to 2***.)

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  6. Mark Kolber on May 22, 2013

    Simon, I agree about leaving out the “to” and usually leave it out myself. But I no longer worry about it.

    In response to a comment similar to yours, someone pointed out two things to me:

    1. The AIM uses it as an example of standard communication. See, papragraph 5-3-1.b.2(a) for example:

    The following phraseology should be utilized by pilots for establishing contact with the designated facility:
    (a) When operating in a radar environment: On initial contact, the pilot should inform the controller of the aircraft’s assigned altitude preceded by the words “level,” or “climbing to,” or “descending to,” as appropriate; and the aircraft’s present vacating altitude, if applicable.

    2. If you think about it, the “to” doesn’t have much of a chance of leading to confusion with respect to altitude. Once over 1,000′ any extra “two” at the beginning would not have the word “thousand” at the end..

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