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VFR underneath the Class B Airspace


Andrew Morkunas
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I have been using real world VFR sectionals and transiting under Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspaces as indicated by the altitude limits on the charts. During one flight when I took off from a private airfield located under a Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B, the local approach control contacted me and insisted that I was in his airspace, telling me that his airspace extended from the surface to 14,000 surrounding the major airport nearby. I asked him if we are using real world charts, the response was 'Yes.' The VATSIM chat box was not a good medium to resolve this issue, so I disconnected.

 

What is the correct procedure? I was under the impression that one of the benefits of the 'upside down wedding cake' of Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace was not to limit the control of VFR flight. Are we using simulation rules differing from real-world practices?

 

Your comments and answers appreciated.

 

Andrew

Andrew Morkunas

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Twitch: padre_andrew ATC Simulations

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It just 'shows to go ya...', after I posted my question, I found the answer (Google is like that sometimes).

 

From the AIM 3-5-5 (3).

 

It is very important to remember that these suggested routes are not sterile of other traffic. The entire Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace, and the airspace underneath it, may be heavily congested with many different types of aircraft. Pilot adherence to VFR rules must be exercised at all times. Further, when operating beneath Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace, communications must be established and maintained between your aircraft and any control tower while transiting the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B, Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C, and Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] D surface areas of those airports under Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B Airspace.

Andrew Morkunas

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Twitch: padre_andrew ATC Simulations

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The controller was wrong for insisting that you be in contact with him while flying under one of the outer rings of the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace. Unfortunately, you will run across controllers that feel the need to be talking to every single airplane on their radar scope, regardless of the fact that the aircraft MAY not be in any airspace which requires two way radio communication. Control freaks is what I like to call them. If you're sure the controller was in the wrong, write an email to the facility's training administrator.

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Unfortunatly, when i first was a controller, i caught, more like someone else caught me in this situation. As a controller, i really didn't understand the difference between the area that can be covered by the app controller (sector), and the area that is required to be covered (cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] b). I frankly had no clue, and wish i had. I don't know if it was because of my lack of diligence in my studying or the local training, in a way i don't care now.

 

In the case you presented, as long as you were below, or above, the altitudes prescribed in the sectional, you were right. Like said before, i would send an email to the ARTCC TA and tell him the situation.

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This happened to me a few nights ago too, flying VFR and under the cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B...getting private messaged by both Approach and Tower to contact them and file a flight plan...

Nick Bartolotta - ZSE Instructor, pilot at large

 

"Just fly it on down to within a inch of the runway and let it drop in from there."

- Capt. Don Lanham, ATA Airlines

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It just 'shows to go ya...', after I posted my question, I found the answer (Google is like that sometimes).

 

From the AIM 3-5-5 (3).

 

It is very important to remember that these suggested routes are not sterile of other traffic. The entire Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace, and the airspace underneath it, may be heavily congested with many different types of aircraft. Pilot adherence to VFR rules must be exercised at all times. Further, when operating beneath Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace, communications must be established and maintained between your aircraft and any control tower while transiting the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B, Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C, and Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] D surface areas of those airports under Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B Airspace.

 

Andrew, as others have said in this thread, you do not have to call anyone if VFR under a cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B shelf. The information that you highlighted in bold above refers only situations where there is cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C or D airspace underneath a cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B shelf. In those cases, it really has nothing to do with the cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B ... the standard cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C or D rules apply ... you must establish two-way radio contact with the appropriate controller. So as long as you were below the cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B, and not in any cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C or D, you didn't have to contact anyone.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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An observation from the peanut gallery:

 

The way you word it, it sounds like the controller doesn't know where his cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace is, or the difference between the B and E airspace. "From Surface to 14000 surrounding the major airport." That sounds like general Approach airspace, not really cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace. Unless you were somewhere in the mountainous region with higher elevations...most cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace doesn't go above 8 or 10 thousand...in which case he might've been confused between AGL and MSL . Even Denver has a cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B ceiling of 12000 MSL.

 

Basically...sounds like a controller flop to me.

Steve Ogrodowski

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yea we all know what happened to me when I was beneath the Charlie in Portland... Contact Me, Contact Me, "You have been forcefully disconnected." I think we could all do more to train fundamentals like airspace rules, it can only help.

 

 

Yeah, you're going to have to get used to controllers not knowing their airspace. I was leaving DCU yesterday, and as soon as I connected, an ATL CTR controller sent me a contact me. Not only is DCU not in their airspace, it doesn't have a tower, and I was still on the ground.

 

Decatur AL? LMAO. That lovely triangle, don't worry Scott we are working on it.

Regards,

JX

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Well, you really shouldn't ignore the PMs completely Joe, otherwise you just might get discoed (though you shouldn't have). I usually respond to the PM by tuning the frequency, advise the controller I'll be staying outside the shelves, and treat the whole thing as an education session. Most controllers I've done this with were very solicitous and appreciated the help, as we're all learning here.

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And vatusa wanted to send untrained controllers to work minor airports

 

yea, it happens. If you can, go on his freq. and explain why you are actually not in the airspace and to ask an instructor to help him out

NY T R A C O N A R T C C. JFK ISP LGA EWR PHL...

NY Instructor I1

ZNY Lead Event Coordinator

Braniff International Virtual Airways CEO braniffva.com

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And vatusa wanted to send untrained controllers to work minor airports

 

Vatusa had nothing to do with that policy. It is from VATSIM, and covers all regions/divisions, etc... Further, VATUSA had no say in the policy development when it was released because there was no VATUSA1 at the time. Please understand that VATUSA did not create that policy. Rumors like those, even unintentional, cause a majority of the problems that are currently wreaking havoc on the network. Thus the need for clarification.

Alex Bailey

ZMA I-1

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Nobody, but only the controller was explicitly mentioned.

 

If pilots can be disconnected for not answering a PM from a controller, can controllers be disconnected for PMing pilots when they have no reason to do so? For that matter, why do controllers PM anyone? In the real world, controllers have to work around people who aren't on their frequency; they have no private message facility.

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With respect to all parties involved, I think we are making a mountain out of a mole hill. The best suggestion was to contact ATC to let them know you wont be entering their airspace. We are here to learn and have fun, just remember that even the almighty controllers can make a mistake once in a blue moon.

 

Disclaimer-

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Nobody, but only the controller was explicitly mentioned.

 

For that matter, why do controllers PM anyone? In the real world, controllers have to work around people who aren't on their frequency; they have no private message facility.

 

Ok, I'll take the bait (stupidly). In the real world....THEY'RE LICENSED PILOTS, and don't often wander into Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace without a clearance.

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Nobody, but only the controller was explicitly mentioned.

 

For that matter, why do controllers PM anyone? In the real world, controllers have to work around people who aren't on their frequency; they have no private message facility.

 

Ok, I'll take the bait (stupidly). In the real world....THEY'RE LICENSED PILOTS, and don't often wander into Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace without a clearance.

 

Ha! If controllers a dime for every (real) pilot seen busting airspace... well, itt'd make up for the pay cut the FAA served us for sure.

 

~Nate

Nate Johns

 

"All things are difficult before they are easy."

- Dr. Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

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I've become quite disenchanted with the entire VATSIM "as real as it gets" philosophy. We can argue all day long about why we do this or that because it's how they do it in the real world, or on the flip site, it's not realistic. However in the end, it's all irrelevant. VATSIM will never be "as real as it gets" until there are consequences for busting FAR's.

 

I wish I could go hop in my Skylane in the real world, squawk 1200, fly around busting a cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B without talking to anyone, and when I land have the FAA inspector tell me "You shouldn't do that. You need to read the PRC at www.vatsim.net/prc. Now, have a good day!"

 

As VATSIM doesn't cater specifically to the simmer who wishes to simulate real world procedures 100% of time, you need to look at this from the spectrum of pilots it does cater to. Everyone from pilots who think this is the Zone Mk II, to those that use VATSIM as a serious adjunct to real world training and/or proficiency are on the network. As such, there need to be concessions to deal with everyone (i.e. private messages).

 

On a side note, when it comes to flying near and around Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C/B airspace. On VATSIM, the controller may or may not know the dimensions of their airspace, and if that's the case, notify the Training Administrator of that facility. However, if you're "riding the line", remember that in the real world, you could show a picture of your DME readout to the FAA, but it boils down to where the radar says you were. In short, if you get a "contact me" message from a controller, answer it.

-Dan Everette

CFI, CFII, MEI

Having the runway in sight just at TDZE + 100 is like Mom, Warm cookies and milk, and Christmas morning, all wrapped into one.

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Nate,

 

Fair enough...do you get many pilots taxiing to the active at KPHX and taking off into landing traffic without saying a word? In short, there are tremendous differences between the abilities of real world pilots (generally speaking) and the spectrum of pilots that fly on VATSIM. There is a need for non-real world procedures to deal with such situations.

 

Dan, GREAT post.

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Agreed with Dan and Keith 100% ... though I do reserve the "contact me" message as a last resort. If I see a VFR target busting airspace, for the sake of realism and fun, I usually handle it as an intruder that I cannot communicate with. In other words, I give pointouts to other traffic, vector other traffic around the intruder if needed, etc. Of course, that's only if my traffic is light enough that I can do these things without causing frustration for myself, pilots in my airspace, or neighboring controllers. During an event, the "contact me" button gets pressed.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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I press the contact me button because often I'm certain the pilot either doesn't understand airspace cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ifications, or doesn't know where the airspace boundaries are, doesn't know that I'm online, or doesn't know that I control the airspace he's currently in.

 

I personally don't use the contactme button for anyone that I don't need to speaking to. However when I do use it, the intent is more "hey - let's enjoy this together" as opposed to "you $%&@[email protected] call me or you are suspended".

 

Gotta remember it's a learning environment for BOTH the pilots and controllers. Call it what you want - I still say it's only a game.

Ian Elchitz

Just a guy without any fancy titles

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