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7 Answers

Turning on takeoff

Asked by: 3394 views General Aviation

The other day I was in Atlanta going from one towered airport to another that was 20 miles away - both were in class D airspace.  I was flying VFR.

The tower asked me whether I wanted a left turn or right turn to get to the other airport, I replied I'd take a right turn.

After lifting off I kept waiting for the tower to vector me, but they never did.  The tower was vectoring in another plane and explained to the incoming traffic that I was going to be turning right - so I finally went ahead and took the turn.

Should I have asked the tower whether I could start my turn - or should I have just begun the turn?  At what point should I have contacted the tower?  (I was just planning on flying runway heading until I got out of his airspace - but after his remarks to the incoming I figured he was waiting for me to turn.)



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7 Answers

  1. joeseeder on Oct 03, 2011

    In VFR, you commence the turn as soon as you reach safe altitude usually 500ft agl or altitude published in NOTAMS

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  2. dp0756 on Oct 03, 2011

    Thanks.  As a follow-up question:
    I was in Atlanta at a single runway class D, and was flying to a more complicated class D about 20 miles away (Cobb County to Peachtree Dekalb RYY-PDK).  I wasn’t familiar with the area but had looked at the charts and knew I’d be under the B airspace.
    I debated whether to file an IFR flight plan or go VFR and ended up deciding to go VFR.  Would you have recommended that as the proper course?  Should I have asked ground for flight following if I were going VFR?  If I had flight following would that have made any difference in the amount of vectoring?

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  3. Jim Foley on Oct 03, 2011

    When flying around a B airspace, even if I think I’ll be under it, I usually get a flight following.  Doing so will generally make your life alot easier.  And if it works out, they may clear/vector you throught the B airspace to speed up your trip.

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  4. Brent on Oct 04, 2011

    I did all of my private pilot training at FTY, another Class D airport under Atlanta’s bravo airspace, and still fly out of there today, so I’m pretty familiar with the area you’re talking about. Typically, you’ll tell ground the cardinal direction you plan on leaving the area on your initial call up, and then tower will assign you a turn out direction with your take off clearence. In some cases, like if you’re going east and taking off from runway 27, they may ask you to choose, like you mentioned.
    As an aside, one of my local controllers told me once that the answer to “Left or right turn out approved” is never “Roger.” Answer with which direction you plan to go.
    Finally, it’s always your perogative on whether or not to get flight following when flying FVR. It can be helpful in a lot of cases as mentioned above, but there’s no route through Class B between RYY and PDK. By the time you were done getting your squawk code, approach would be canceling flight following and instructing you to contact PDK tower.

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  5. dp0756 on Oct 04, 2011

    Thanks for the feedback.  I do almost all of my flying out of a non-towered and on IFR so the VFR interaction is still a little murky.
    If I had asked for flight following – I would still turn on my own rather than waiting to be vectored – is that correct?

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  6. Brent on Oct 04, 2011

    Yes, that’s right. Under flight following, you are expected to hold altitude and notify ATC if you want to change, but your heading is up to you.
    I also meant to mention before that in class D airspace under VFR, you could be vectored by the controller if they need to. This could happen arriving or departing the airspace or with special instructions in the pattern such as requring a 360 for spacing or asking you to extend your downwind.

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  7. MaggotCFII on Oct 07, 2011

    Look in the AIM, Section 3, at 4-3-2 Airports with an Operating Control Tower, “c” 6. Departure Leg.  “The departure climb continues until reaching a point at least 1/2 mile beyond the departure end if the runway and within 300 feet of the traffic pattern altitude.” or at Figure 4-3-2, 6. “If departing the traffic———–after reaching pattern altitude.”
    There will be times when the tower will ask you to continue present heading, turn-to or left/right turn when able, cleared on course and other variations.
    When in doubt – ask.  Remember not all towers have radar – so the controller sort of expects you to follow the guidance in the AIM if he isn’t talking to you or has given you other instructions.

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