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5 Answers

VFR Navigation in Class C Airspace

Asked by: 2152 views Airspace, Private Pilot

I was recently directed to maintain 1nm north of an NDB in a VFR flight in class C airspace. The conversation that followed got me wondering: what are my navigation-wise legal obligations in a VFR flight in a C class CTR? Can the tower direct me to any point in the CTR (which is not a VFR waypoint)? and am I legaly obliged to be able to navigate to that point? Secondly: turns out that 1NM north of the beacon would have put me into another airports' CTR.  Now I never got that far, so no harm there, but is the pilot responsible for checking that the instructions from the controller do not take him into restricted/prohibited airspace? Mind you, I was never radar vectored (controller refused to issue heading to follow) I just got a "maintain  1NM north of BSE"

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5 Answers



  1. John D. Collins on Aug 03, 2013

    Normally the controller will coordinate with other facilities, but regardless the pilot is responsible for complying with the regulations.

    Unable is an under used phrase when you can’t accept the controller instruction. I could not find the referenced BSE or associated Class C, can you be more specific.

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  2. Radu Poenaru on Aug 03, 2013

    BSE is a marker/beacon used for LRBS instrument approaches on RWY 25. Second airport was LROP.
    I was entering the CTR from the east (LILGU) and they had traffic departing RWY 07. With class A airspace above 1500′ agl separation became pretty tight.

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  3. John D. Collins on Aug 03, 2013

    Ok, you will have to ask the Romanian authorities as I was answering based on USA regulations and procedures.

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  4. Radu Poenaru on Aug 03, 2013

    Of course, I’m aware of that. An FAA-regulations-and-procedures point of view would be perfect!

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  5. Mark Kolber on Aug 04, 2013

    From an FAA regulations and procedure point of view:

    what are my navigation-wise legal obligations in a VFR flight in a C class CTR? Can the tower direct me to any point in the CTR (which is not a VFR waypoint)?

    Of course they can.

    and am I legaly obliged to be able to navigate to that point?

    You are legally obligated in the US to follow ATC instructions and clearances when in controlled airspace. As a pilot, you should certainly be capable to do basic navigation.

    Secondly: turns out that 1NM north of the beacon would have put me into another airports’ CTR. Now I never got that far, so no harm there, but is the pilot responsible for checking that the instructions from the controller do not take him into restricted/prohibited airspace?

    I don’t know what CTR is. If you mean “control tower,” in the US it’s TRACON’s obligation when providing flight following services to coordinate the transition through Class D airspace but you need to be aware of the locations of restricted, prohibited and Class B airspace and maintain separation without a specific clearance into them. In case of any doubt, the solution is simple: ask the facility you are speaking to.

    Mind you, I was never radar vectored (controller refused to issue heading to follow) I just got a “maintain 1NM north of BSE”

    In my experience a very common instruction from a Class C facility in the US keeping its arrival and departure routes clear.

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