Intercept Airway or hold course? - I2 failure

Intercept Airway or hold course? - I2 failure

Postby Hildy » Wed Mar 10, 2021 1:24 pm

Today I attempted I2, which looked pretty simple.

Clearance Delivery told me to fly heading 175, then vectors to V23, then as filed.

Readback correct.

Tower cleared takeoff with no heading instructions.

So, I took off, climbed to 400 AGL, and then turned to 175, still climbing.

It took awhile to get switched over to departure. It happened eventually, and I got "Radar Contact," but no other instructions. Then the departure controller got really busy straightening out another pilot on a TEC route. Happens in real life too. I thought it was great.

The result of the delay was that the radial for V23 was starting to come in on my CDI. Remember, Clearance Delivery had cleared me with a heading and radar vectors to V23, then AF. The initial heading seemed to be working great as a vector, and the departure controller hadn't said anything to modify my initial clearance.

So, as the needle started to center, I turned to track V23. Oops. The departure controller said that was the wrong thing to do, and I couldn't continue I2. I didn't argue. He was busy, so I just disconnected to try again another day.

Is this correct, when I was cleared for V23 by clearance delivery and had no instructions from tower or departure? Would the real-world correct answer really have been to blow through V23 and then have the controller give me vectors to turn back around to intercept it again? Maybe I was confusing this with a "lost coms" procedure, but my reasoning was that in the absence of other instructions from ATC, I should just continue with the clearance I received from C/D.
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Re: Intercept Airway or hold course? - I2 failure

Postby Kevin_atc » Wed Mar 10, 2021 1:32 pm

Is this correct, when I was cleared for V23 by clearance delivery and had no instructions from tower or departure?


Correct. As you've identified, your clearance was "Heading 175, radar vectors to join V23..." This is an entirely different clearance than "Heading 175, join V23.."

my reasoning was that in the absence of other instructions from ATC, I should just continue with the clearance I received from C/D.


Which was "...radar vectors to join V23..." If every pilot continued with their eventual clearance in the absence of instructions, the sky would be chaos and there wouldn't be much of a need for ATC.

It's also worth noting that the reason for blowing through V23 on the initial heading isn't necessarily because ATC was busy. It's possible there could have been traffic, or you may have been below the controller's minimum vectoring altitude therefore they couldn't turn you yet.

At the end of the day, I think this is a good lesson for "When in doubt, ask!" You acknowledged that the thought crossed your head when the needle began to move as to if you should turn on your own or not. If you're ever even 1% unsure, it's worth asking.
Kevin
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Re: Intercept Airway or hold course? - I2 failure

Postby Keith Smith » Wed Mar 10, 2021 1:55 pm

Take a look at the LAX TAC. Notice Signal Peak just NE of V23, at 1180ft MSL? Imagine departing from SNA and climbing at 200ft/nm (the typical minimum climb gradient required). That would be QUITE a view of Signal Peak.

The MEA for V23 is 4000 if you're heading SE bound.

As Kevin said, your clearance was to fly hdg 175 and then to expect radar vectors to V23. The fact that you didn't receive a vector PRIOR to V23 changes nothing. Fly the heading and wait for the vector. The MVA in that departure corridor is 2400ft. So, even if the controller was twiddling his/her thumbs, you are not geting a turn before 2400ft, regardless of your proximity to V23.
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Re: Intercept Airway or hold course? - I2 failure

Postby Hildy » Wed Mar 10, 2021 2:17 pm

Thank you very much, Kevin and Keith. This was a valuable lesson, and the input from both of you makes it even more valuable. The opportunity to make mistakes in complex airspace (and hopefully learn from them) without dire consequences is the reason I'm trying Pilot's Edge. This experience solidifies my decision to go beyond the free trial.

Kevin_atc wrote:At the end of the day, I think this is a good lesson for "When in doubt, ask!" You acknowledged that the thought crossed your head when the needle began to move as to if you should turn on your own or not. If you're ever even 1% unsure, it's worth asking.

When I discussed the flight with a mentor offline, this is exactly the lesson she said I should be taking away from the experience. If great minds think alike, you're in good company with her.

Keith Smith wrote:Take a look at the LAX TAC. Notice Signal Peak just NE of V23, at 1180ft MSL? Imagine departing from SNA and climbing at 200ft/nm (the typical minimum climb gradient required). That would be QUITE a view of Signal Peak

Yet another good lesson for a midwesterner who is used to the ground staying put at right around 700 MSL for hundreds of miles in every direction. I think my subconscious is trained to "know" that once I've been climbing for 3 or 4 minutes in a Cherokee there's nothing on the ground that is ever going to be a cause for worry. I looked at the TAC as you suggested, and it was a frightening revelation that heading right at the peak is exactly what I would have done if I'd been making this flight in real life. Yet another good reason to continue with Pilot Edge in the southwest.
Last edited by Hildy on Wed Mar 10, 2021 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Intercept Airway or hold course? - I2 failure

Postby Keith Smith » Wed Mar 10, 2021 3:01 pm

Outstanding. You're not alone in this, btw....a flight instructor at a commercial customer did something similar a few weeks ago, turning direct to a waypoint for which he was expecting radar vectors. ATC prompted him that he shouldn't have turned and he disagreed (in a fairly direct manner). The operator went as far as calling the real world tower and asking them to verify that what they did was correct. They were humbled by the answer they received which 100% backed up what we said. If you feel something is amiss (ie, there doesn't appear to be a reason why you haven't received a turn), by all means, query the controller...however, making the turn without an instruction is a violation of the previous clearance.

You have a great attitude towards learning, I suspect you're going to see a lot of benefit from the platform. Enjoy!
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