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Initial tower contact inbound with discrete squawk code

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 10:06 am
by shanethomas
I am trying to reconcile a difference I have experienced with PE vs Real world.

Use case: Flying VFR with a discrete squawk code given from the departure airport (ie flight following) or from approach when inbound to a busy airspace.

Real World

The initial call to tower usually goes like this "Somewhere tower, Skyhawk123AB, 2500" and tower responds "Skyhawk123AB, Somewhere tower, enter left downwind for runway 24"

PE

The initial call to tower usually goes like this "Somewhere tower, Skyhawk123AB, 2500" and tower sometimes responds "Skyhawk123AB, Somewhere tower, say current position"

If I was coming in with 1200 because I didn't request flight following or if the approach controller said "radar services terminated, squawk vfr, frequency change approved" I would expect to give the whole spiel "Somewhere tower, Skyhawk123AB, 18 miles east of the field, inbound with charlie" but not sure why the spiel is needed when you have a discrete code.

I would appreciate any clarity you can provide.

Thanks,
Shane

Re: Initial tower contact inbound with discrete squawk code

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:44 pm
by Kevin_atc
Hi Shane,

Which airports on PE have you experienced this at? This will help determine if radar service should have been terminated, or if the tower should be aware of your location.

Re: Initial tower contact inbound with discrete squawk code

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 1:24 pm
by shanethomas
KSBD

N106NK C172 KBUR Bob Hope-Burbank KSBD San Bernardino Intl 06:19 PM 08-Oct-20 06:51 PM 08-Oct-20

It has happened to me in other spots but I don't remember all of the details. For this particular flight I was told to keep my code before I was handed off to tower.

Re: Initial tower contact inbound with discrete squawk code

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 2:11 pm
by Keith Smith
SBD is a non-radar tower in real life. The PE controller might have had you keep the code so Socal could monitor your progress as you descended through the Class C. It was procedurally correct for the tower controller to have you report your position. Socal should have also stated "radar services terminated" prior to the handoff to tower.

Re: Initial tower contact inbound with discrete squawk code

PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 2:25 pm
by shanethomas
great thanks. So it sounds like the code is not what matters but the term "radar services terminated". Learned something new today.

Re: Initial tower contact inbound with discrete squawk code

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 10:33 pm
by jx_
one discrepancy here, ATC is not required to say radar services are terminated when using the words "contact XXX Tower". In that case radar service is automatically terminated unless the tower is in a radar surface area such as Charlie or Bravo airspace. You are correct the tower 'should' know where you are when receiving traffic from radar but things happen both IRL and on PE. There are just too many factors. For all we know he had two arrivals from the same direction and needs to confirm which one was you -- on PE, ATC does simulate what each tower can see. As Keith said SBD does not have a display and must correlate VFR position reports visually.

1) your radar services and any VFR separation is automatically terminated upon receipt of "contact XXX Tower" instruction; ATC need not state it.
2) If the tower asks for your position assume he is verifying it for good reason. Some towers can see the approach radar and some can not. The transponder may or may not be used by the tower, but there is no simple way for a pilot to know this in advanced. Just give the position if asked, but otherwise continue to do what you are doing. Your assumption about position reports is correct.