Arriving and Leaving Class D Airspace

Arriving and Leaving Class D Airspace

Postby arsindelve » Mon Aug 09, 2021 2:15 pm

Sorry, lots of short little "newbie" questions below...

A few nights ago, I was landing at a airport in "D" airspace, and while I was still a few miles out, I was told to "call 3 mile final". With that clearance, do I have the discretion to descend at will? If it lines up appropriately, can I do a downwind and/or base leg in the pattern first? Similarly, if I'm cleared to the downwind, is it implied that I should now go ahead and descend to pattern altitude? When I make initial contact with the controller at let him know I'm at, say 4500 feet, I need to maintain that altitude unless instructed otherwise, right?

When leaving a class D airport, when can I make a turn toward my destination after takeoff? Should I fly runway heading until told otherwise?

Thanks in advance! The more I fly in Pilot Edge, the more I realize I don't know!
arsindelve
 
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Re: Arriving and Leaving Class D Airspace

Postby Shawn Goldsworthy » Mon Aug 09, 2021 3:15 pm

arsindelve wrote:Sorry, lots of short little "newbie" questions below...

A few nights ago, I was landing at a airport in "D" airspace, and while I was still a few miles out, I was told to "call 3 mile final". With that clearance, do I have the discretion to descend at will? If it lines up appropriately, can I do a downwind and/or base leg in the pattern first? Similarly, if I'm cleared to the downwind, is it implied that I should now go ahead and descend to pattern altitude? When I make initial contact with the controller at let him know I'm at, say 4500 feet, I need to maintain that altitude unless instructed otherwise, right?

When leaving a class D airport, when can I make a turn toward my destination after takeoff? Should I fly runway heading until told otherwise?

Thanks in advance! The more I fly in Pilot Edge, the more I realize I don't know!


A couple of pieces here, but it will all be covered in the pilot workshops.

Generally speaking "report 3 mile final" will be accompanied by a pattern entry instruction. "Make straight in runway 29, report a 3 mile final" for example. If unclear of the pattern entry instruction, feel free to ask. Report a 3 mile final will almost certainly be a straight in. You'll usually get a "report midfield" is given a downwind entry. If you haven't been placed on a specific altitude restriction, descend as you see fit to join the pattern. You're VFR, you don't need to report changing altitude unless requested to do so.

When leaving a class D airport VFR, you should be given a pattern departure instruction, "right downwind departure approved" "straight out departure approved" etc. If not issued, ask. Don't fly runway heading unless you're instructed to fly runway heading. You can proceed on course once you climb above the pattern altitude.
Shawn Goldsworthy
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Re: Arriving and Leaving Class D Airspace

Postby arsindelve » Mon Aug 09, 2021 6:49 pm

Thank you!
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