CAT-02 questions

CAT-02 questions

Postby louloizides » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:27 am

Brand new student here. Did really well in the exam (only one question wrong) but still only about 1/2 way to my cert. Just starting with ATC now and trying to use PE for practice.

I flew into SBP this morning. At 10 miles out I changed over to 124.0 and said "San Luis Tower, Cessna 530RC approximately 10 miles to the South inbound for landing, full stop information [don't remember]" (note I didn't follow the CAT route exactly... wasn't planning on a signoff).

Then the controller asked me if I was trying to contact tower or approach... this confused me a little as I didn't think approach was necessary for Class D. I said I was trying to contact tower, and the controller said "530RC report left base for 29".

So I interpreted this as "you have clearance to enter my airspace" and flew all the way over to a right base (didn't enter the pattern as I assumed this meant "no pattern was necessary"). Then the controller told me I was in violation of class D airspace, explained I didn't establish two way radio contact, and gave me clearance to land anyway...

So where did I screw up here? I want to make sure I go back, review, and do it better the next time around.

Keep in mind it's also possible my notes aren't correct... I've been flying in VR and trying to remember instructions... now it's getting pretty apparent that I need a kneeboard or something (or I just won't use VR for PE... although it really is very nice for XP11)
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Re: CAT-02 questions

Postby zerofay32 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:43 am

The recordings are posted on the Pilotedge website and are broken up by hour so you can go back and review "the tapes".

Based on what you wrote here though, some miscommunication defiantly happened. The exchange that you have here would qualify as "establishing radio contact" with the tower.

As far as Class Delta airports not being serviced by approach control, there are many examples all over the country of just that. In my local area is KMFD, they have their own approach control. San Luis is serviced by Santa Barbra approach (a class C airport that's to the south east)
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Re: CAT-02 questions

Postby louloizides » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:46 am

Oh, I didn't realize that... that's great. I'll definitely review.

So as far as establishing contact, should my initial 10 mile out communication be established with Santa Barbara on 127.725? If so, I think maybe that's where I screwed up...
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Re: CAT-02 questions

Postby zerofay32 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:50 am

nope. there should be no need to contact approach on the CAT 2.

EDIT: BTW the audio recordings can be found here: https://www.pilotedge.net/audio/today
Andrew Fay
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Commercial Pilot/Instrument ASEL- KOSU / Commercial sUAS-DJI S900
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Re: CAT-02 questions

Postby louloizides » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:00 am

Then I'm confused... just listened to the recording (http://assets.pilotedge.net/recordings/ ... _17510.mp3 ... 530RC) and we definitely exchanged tail numbers 10 miles out... which I thought gave me clearance. Do we have to exchange them again just before I enter the airspace? The only part I know I screwed up is left base vs. right base... (really need to start taking notes).

And I'm assuming if he says "report right base" he means "fly in on right base" (no downwind) correct?

Maybe there was a miscommunication somewhere... dunno.
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Re: CAT-02 questions

Postby Keith Smith » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:02 am

Welcome to the network. Evidently you were calling on the SBA approach frequency, and then on the SMX tower freq (instead of SBP tower freq). This was the reason for the some of the confusion. We're looking into this on our end to try to determine the exact sequence and will get back to you.

This wasn't really a CAT-2 flight as you departed from a towered airport first (SMX). If we take it from the airborne portion only, the correct procedure would've been to call SBP tower (not SBA approach, and not SMX tower) from outside of the Class D, then requested landing. Based on the initial log review, it appears you were changing frequencies quite a bit between the calls, but that hasn't been confirmed yet.
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Re: CAT-02 questions

Postby louloizides » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:07 am

Gotcha... appreciate the effort... want to make sure I do it correctly next time. As a student who has only talked to ATC through PE so far, I would definitely default to "I screwed up" :) Just trying to figure out exactly where I did.

Yes, it wasn't CAT-2... had a small amount of time in the morning and wanted to try before I actually went and logged a CAT-2 flight, so I flew a shorter route. I will start doing the CAT flights next, they're just big time commitments.
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Re: CAT-02 questions

Postby Keith Smith » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:49 am

The flight that you did was actually a mirror of the CAT-4 believe it or not (SBP-SMX vs SMX-SBP). I reviewed the server log and it appears you didn't actually swap to 124.00 (SBP tower freq) until 8:59:14 PDT, which means that all of the radio calls prior to that were on different frequencies. This is why the controller was confused as to who you were calling.

There was a lot of other traffic at the time. The controller missed the fact that you said you wanted to land at SBP, and instead assumed SMX (likely based on previous freqs, and your departure airport). Hence, he instructed you to enter a right downwind runway 30 (not rwy 29). SMX has a runway 30, whereas SBP has rwy 29.

When he later saw that you were entering the pattern at SBP, that's when he made the comment about the Class Delta.

You have the right idea...once you establish communication with the tower controller for a given Delta...you can then enter that Delta unless you've been asked specifically to remain outside of the Delta.

Just make sure you have the freqs correct. Normally the controllers catch it, but the server log shows a lot of freq changes in a short time which would've been tough for the controller to stay on top of given the number of other aircraft he was working at the time.

Give it another shot, I'm sure it'll go better :)
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Re: CAT-02 questions

Postby louloizides » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:23 am

Thanks so much for the detailed analysis! That explains a ton. In fact I thought I heard him say 30, and I believe I repeated that, but as I got closer to landing I took another look at the airport map and indeed there was no 30, lol...

Will definitely give this a shot. It's helping a ton, even if it's just to overcome my fear of talking to ATC :) I just need to figure out a good way to take better ATC notes in VR, or switch to non-VR for the purposes of PE.
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Re: CAT-02 questions

Postby sono » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:56 am

louloizides wrote: ..I just need to figure out a good way to take better ATC notes in VR..


I dont use VR and havent thought of that new challenge with it, but sounds like it may not be trivial to solve. Working with ATC taking notes is a common requirement, even if it is on you ipad scratchpad. Writing quickly is a highly sensory interactive experience. Of course this is in no way a PE specific challenge.
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