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2 Answers

IFR routes around Class Bravo

Asked by: 875 views Airspace, FAA Regulations, General Aviation

On VFR Terminal Area Charts they show IFR arrival and departure routes around 

the class Bravo airspace.  Does ATC or the FAA expect VFR pilots to avoid these routes and altitudes completely? 

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2 Answers

  1. Skyfox on Jun 21, 2016

    Well, I looked in the regs, AIM, AIP, Instrument Flying Handbook, Instrument Procedures Handbook, Airplane Flying Handbook, and the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge and I can find nothing that says VFR pilots must avoid those routes and altitudes. So here’s what I’m thinking:

    First, in order for a VFR pilot to be flying in those areas the weather conditions must be VMC, and standard procedure for all aircraft in VMC (including those on an IFR flight plan) is that all aircraft must be on the lookout to see and avoid any other aircraft.

    Second, those aircraft flying on the IFR preferred routes are likely to be airliners or otherwise aircraft big enough to have TCAS installed. Don’t rely on that, though; smaller IFR aircraft can also be on those routes who don’t have TCAS.

    Third, those aircraft on the IFR routes would be talking to ARTCC or the terminal approach/departure ATC who would be giving them traffic alerts in the event there’s a VFR aircraft in the vicinity. Again, don’t rely on that; always keep your eyes out the window to see and avoid for yourself.

    Fourth, if that VFR aircraft is within 30 NM of the class B airport it’s required to have a mode C transponder operating, and if it’s within the actual class B airspace itself the VFR pilot is going to be talking to ATC and getting routing instructions where necessary.

    Last, since those preferred IFR routes on the chart crisscross the country, VFR aircraft on a route to somewhere on the other side of one will have to cross it eventually, so ATC and the FAA can’t expect VFR aircraft to avoid them entirely.

    If you are planning a flight that will take you near or across a preferred IFR route, especially as that route drops in altitude near a terminal area, it would be in your best interest to be talking to ATC for flight following and/or stay below the altitude of that IFR arrival/departure route.

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  2. Mark Kolber on Jun 22, 2016

    Many things on the VFR charts are simply informational.

    Just like MOAs, military routes, Alert areas and other non-prohibited special use airspace, IFR arrival and departure routes depicted on charts like the Orlando TAC (see the arrival passing just north of Leesburg at https://skyvector.com/?ll=28.835782810749077,-81.85432413444266&chart=131&zoom=2&fpl=undefined) are informational – to advise VFR pilots of the traffic potential..

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