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Transitioning Class B from Underlying Class D

Asked by: 718 views General Aviation

I have some questions regarding transitioning class B airspace. Specifically KSPG (class D) and Tampa class B. 

  1. If I were to plan a VFR flight down to Key West Int'l (KEYW) and wanted to depart KSPG without staying underneath the class B shelf initially, could I get the clearance on the ground? Looking at the AF/D I don't see a clearance freq listed (unlike say KPIE) so I'm not sure if this means it's not possible or if I just use ground.
  2. Assuming I am able to get a clearance on the ground (or even talking to Tampa directly airborne), can I ask them for a specific route? If I plan to fly VOR to VOR to more or less stay on the coast and at a specific altitude, is this something I should tell them? Seems like this would be long winded and understandably Tampa will have me do what they want, but if they don't know my intentions I don't really want them sending me off over the water.
  3. Finally, when departing KEYW, I'd obviously want to stay over the islands and that would put me directly into the Naval airspace after departure. I assume they deal with this daily, and that I just need to tell them my route of flight (departure eastbound over the islands) and they'll handle the rest with the transitions.


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1 Answers

  1. Mark Kolber on Feb 25, 2017

    I’m not familiar with that specific airspaces, but to generally answer your questions:

    1. Just call Ground. See the “but” below.

    The breakdown of control tower functions into Tower, Ground, Clearance Delivery, and even ATIS are really just convenience based on how busy an airport is. If you’ve ever flown into a Class D when things are really slow, you may have heard “All Tower services are on [a single frequency].” It just means things are slow enough that they don’t need to have all of them operating. I’ve actually seen that at a Class C airport, where everything, including Approach/Departure were being handled by one controller. So all the lack of a CD frequency at Whitted means is that they don’t think the airport is busy enough to separate CD from other Ground functions. So, aircraft that need CD service call Ground.

    But… keep in mind that not all Class D airports will coordinate VFR flight following or entry into Class B or C airspace, even if they are right under them. That’s a very localized procedure. All you can do at KSPG is call Ground and ask.

    2. Yes. Absolutely. How will they know what you want unless you tell them? The availability of flight following,workload based. Add to that a desire for VFR Class B entry and it also depends on your desired altitudes and direction of flight, and the runways in use at the Class B primary at the time. They will try to accommodate you, so long as it doesn’t interfere with their primary function.

    3. I would expect ATC to treat the Naval air station the same as any other Class D – to arrange transitions through it, and, if tye can’t, to tell you to contact them directly or give you an instruction to remain clear.

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