Two class D Airport Questions

Two class D Airport Questions

Postby Fsjoe » Sun May 05, 2019 9:01 am

I recently flew into class D airports and noticed two things which made me uncertain.

After contacting the tower for SMX I was cleared for rwy 30, entering a via a right base. According to the airport information, rwy 30 has a left pattern and as such I would have expected a left base entry. Can the tower assign me a pattern direction that deviates from the published direction? If not should I have made him aware?

Also in SMX (but happened at SBP and others too) and after landing the tower did not hand me over to ground. Consequently I reported to the tower clear of runway, expecting that he will hand me over to ground. Instead the tower gave me directly taxi instructions. As this is a small deviation from the descriptions in the CAT ratings, I was wondering whether this is a common practice or just a matter of workload for ATC providing tower service.

thanks a lot
Nik
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Re: Two class D Airport Questions

Postby Kevin_atc » Sun May 05, 2019 10:15 am

Hi Nik,

The controller can issue whichever pattern entry they wish as it’s their airspace. For all you knew, they had the entire other side of the pattern full with airplanes, or maybe a police helicopter orbiting on that side of the runway that they wanted to keep you clear of. So be ready for any kind of pattern entry when you’re inbound to an airport. You may even get something unconvential. At SMO, for an aircraft inbound to runway 21 coming up from the south, I’ve heard “overfly midfield at or above 2000, then make a left descending 270 to enter a right downwind runway 21.” Always expect the unexpected :)

As to the 2nd part of your question, that’s a very common practice at small towers, and even some bravo towers when they’re not busy. It’s always a good idea to have the ground frequency dialed in on your standby radio so you can swap to it on the push of a button, but don’t be surprised if tower takes you all the way to the ramp.
Kevin
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Re: Two class D Airport Questions

Postby Fsjoe » Sun May 05, 2019 10:50 am

Thanks for the feedback. Makes absolutely sense. I like the unexpected, even if it causes Quite some stress for a beginner like me ;-)
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Re: Two class D Airport Questions

Postby Keith Smith » Mon May 06, 2019 6:13 am

Nik, here's some text from the "First Flight" scenario, available here: https://www.pilotedge.net/pages/first-flight
This is a dynamic environment. You might exit the runway before tower gets back to you, in which case, you can say, “tower, Cessna 3AB is clear to the left taxi to parking,” or perhaps tower will address you as you’re slowing down, “Cessna 3AB, exit next left, taxi to the ramp, remain this frequency.
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Re: Two class D Airport Questions

Postby Fsjoe » Mon May 06, 2019 12:09 pm

I indeed missed this one. Is the statment “...taxi to parking” in your example a request for which I have to await an approval or is this kind of an announcement of what I will do right now and I will move on without awaiting further instructions?
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Re: Two class D Airport Questions

Postby Kevin_atc » Mon May 06, 2019 12:14 pm

Fsjoe wrote:I indeed missed this one. Is the statment “...taxi to parking” in your example a request for which I have to await an approval or is this kind of an announcement of what I will do right now and I will move on without awaiting further instructions?


This is a request. You may never taxi without a clearance. Upon landing, your responsibility is to turn off the runway at the soonest practical taxiway and stop once clear of the hold bars unless other instructions are issued.
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Re: Two class D Airport Questions

Postby ww3flyingace » Tue Nov 24, 2020 3:46 am

I have the same question... My training is mostly fixed wing, but I fly heli on sim mostly because I love it that much! But I'm learning heli pattern and approaches more and more.
But in my instance just the other day, upon landing and exit rwy, Class D Tower seemed to say that I could NOT change to GND freq at that point. Though he cleared me to the parking, I was ALREADY on the GND freq.

So.... Upon landing (holding after having exited the rwy, MUST I stay on TWR, or SHOULD I flop to GND as normal?
Thanks,
C
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Re: Two class D Airport Questions

Postby Kevin_atc » Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:21 am

ww3flyingace wrote:MUST I stay on TWR, or SHOULD I flop to GND as normal?


There’s nothing “normal” about switching over to ground on your own- in fact, that’s incorrect. It’s very clear in 4-3-20c of the AIM. The reason for this is that you don’t know what the tower might be cooking up, or if you’re at an unfamiliar airport, you might not know what surfaces the tower controller actually owns.

Remain on tower frequency until further instructed. If you’re clear of the runway and you haven’t been told anything after about 30 seconds, go ahead and call up- “Tower, Skyhawk 123, request taxi to the FBO.”

As for you already being on the ground frequency, when the ground/tower positions are combined, the controller might not catch which frequency you’re transmitting on (both in the real world and on PilotEdge).

Ironically, the PilotEdge social media team just did a post about this today. https://www.instagram.com/p/CH-7WrLhkfm/
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Re: Two class D Airport Questions

Postby ww3flyingace » Tue Nov 24, 2020 1:59 pm

Indeed you're right. Seems I'm more rusty than I thought.
Still, that's the beauty of PE, stay in practice.
Thanks Kev.
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