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San Diego VFR Corridor

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:27 am
by Joerg Picard
Flew the VFR corridor through San Diego as marked on the TAF chart for San Diego and got flagged by the controller for violating class B airspace. I'm not sure whether it really was my fault or the controller's and this post is not about pointing fingers but I trying to understand, so here's the scenario:

San Diego TAF
2019-12-22_LI.jpg (1.7 MiB) Viewed 1305 times

The text inside the magenta VFR corridor box isn't clear to me. It states that pilots are encouraged (why encouraged and not must?) to remain right of the a Northwest/Southeast dashed line. You can find the dashed line on the TAF chart just north of KSAN extending south crossing the east end of the airport and following the center of the bay. What does staying right mean? I interpreted it as staying to the west of the dashed line since this is to the right when facing south. Also, there's a magenta arrow to the west of the dashed line indicating the VFR corridor flight path. I've been flying to the west of the dashed line towards the south at 5,500'. ATC instructed me to stay clear of the class B airspace about when I was at the red cross mark (this is my mark of course and not part of the TAC). I was confused since I knew that I was already in class B, but because I was following the VFR corridor instructions (or at least I thought I was) I simply mumbled "roger that" and planned to continue southeast until exiting the class B. About ten seconds later ATC flagged me with a class B violation. I've tried to plead my case with the controller and asked what I've been doing wrong and I was told that I should have stayed to the right of the dashed line and right would mean to the east (like facing north).

My question is: Does staying to the right mean always east or depending on which way you're heading?

Re: San Diego VFR Corridor

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:32 pm
by zerofay32
Right based on the direction you are flying. Southbound, right of the dashed line would be west of it. Northbound, right would be east of the dashed line. The problem you had appears to be the altitude, as 5,500 puts you into the bravo airspace above the corridor. The corridor is a space of Class E airspace sandwiched between two Class B shelves. The corridor is only altitudes 3,301ft thru 4,699ft. My guess is the controller didn't see what altitude you were at until they advised you to remain clear of the bravo (giving you a hint and chance to descend before issuing the deviation)

Flight following alone does not allow you to enter Class B. That requires a separate clearance. If you don't hear the magic words "cleared into the bravo" it is the pilots responsibility to remain clear.

Re: San Diego VFR Corridor

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:38 pm
by Joerg Picard
Thanks for the reply. Just checked my log from yesterday and I was actually at 3,500’ going through the corridor. I mistakenly posted 5,500’ because this was my assigned altitude through the coastal route around L.A.

Re: San Diego VFR Corridor

PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:48 pm
by nolandanz
Joerg, I don't know if you've joined it, but there was actually some discussion about this in the PilotEdge discord server last night. I'd recommend joining the discord for a more real-time discussion.

Re: San Diego VFR Corridor

PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 4:42 pm
by Scott Medeiros
Reposted from the Discord:
"Think of that corridor as a 2 lane road. Stay to the right of the dotted magenta line (highlighted yellow), but left (east) of the solid blue class Bravo over the Hotel del Coronado (highlighted orange). This works to keep the southbound traffic separated from northbound traffic. It's hard to see the bay in that chart, but it is directly below the solid light blue flyways. If you stay over the water, you'll steer clear of the bravo airspace in the area."

The issue with your flight was where the bravo curves from Hotel Del Coronado, and follows the shoreline south. Your flight didn't remain over the San Diego Bay, but strayed west over the shoreline of Coronado. If you weren't using it during your flight, I'd highly recommend having the VFR FLY chart open while transitioning the bravo airspace.


Re: San Diego VFR Corridor

PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2019 3:21 am
by dhplane

Whenever I have flown the VFR corridor I have used the VFR advisory frequency (126.05)... can the VFR corridor be flown while receiving VFR radar advisories?

Thx... Joey

Re: San Diego VFR Corridor

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 2:31 pm
by Scott Medeiros
I believe ATC could theoretically provide FF through a VFR corridor, but I wouldn't count on it real world due to congestion and workload. You'd also want to listen and announce on the CTAF freq. for other aircraft position reports that aren't talking to ATC. I think best practice would be to remove ATC from the equation altogether and just fly and announce as you've been doing.

The case above was a bit of a special case for airspace education purposes.

Re: San Diego VFR Corridor

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:58 pm
by dhplane
Thx Scott, I agree with you... I was just wondering if having flight following might simplify the NRS airspace transition going in and out of Brown Field via the VFR corridor.