Entering Class C Airspace with Flight Following

Entering Class C Airspace with Flight Following

Postby dmackusick » Mon Oct 05, 2020 3:33 pm

Just learning to use flight following so apologies if this is a dumb question: Suppose I'm flying from City1 Airport to City2 Airport. Both are Class C airports located about 50 nm apart in Northern California. I request flight following on the ground at City1 and after departing City1 I make contact with NorCal Departure and get a typical response such as: "Cessna 123AB, NorCal Departure. Radar Contact. Maintain VFR."

As I approach the City2 Airport Class C airspace I have had no further contact with ATC. Am I correct that since I have flight following, I have already established two way communication with ATC and can enter the City2 Class C airspace without any further contact with ATC?

Further, if City2 Airport is a Class B airport, the opposite is true - I must have an actual clearance before I can enter the Class B airspace, correct?
dmackusick
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon May 18, 2020 10:46 am

Re: Entering Class C Airspace with Flight Following

Postby mh81 » Mon Oct 05, 2020 4:06 pm

I flew for years with flight following without understanding this rule. Fortunately for me, approach control always told me to "contact tower", so I never actually violated this.

Getting flight following does _not_ clear you into that airspace. Looking at FAR 91.30:

Each person operating an aircraft in Class C airspace must meet the following two-way radio communications requirements:
(1) Arrival or through flight. Each person must establish two-way radio communications with the ATC facility (including foreign ATC in the case of foreign airspace designated in the United
States) providing air traffic services prior to entering that airspace and thereafter maintain those communications while within that airspace.

(From http://www.faraim.org/faa/far/book/page ... 91_21.html)

My understanding is that the "controlling agency" here is the tower of that class C or D airspace, not approach control.

In addition, section 3-2-1 of the AIM (https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publica ... ion_2.html) says:

VFR Requirements. It is the responsibility of the pilot to ensure that ATC clearance or radio communication requirements are met prior to entry into Class B, Class C, or Class D airspace. The pilot retains this responsibility when receiving ATC radar advisories. (See 14 CFR Part 91.)

That makes it a little more explicit that getting radar service does not count as being cleared into that airspace. I'm certainly no expert on the FARs, but that is my understanding of the rules.
mh81
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:53 am

Re: Entering Class C Airspace with Flight Following

Postby mh81 » Mon Oct 05, 2020 4:59 pm

As I thought about this more, I realized that I'm not entirely sure who the controlling agency is for a class C airport. Looking at a sectional, it says, "Contact ... approach within 20 nm". So, it may be that the controlling agency for a class C is approach control and for class D is the tower? Hopefully someone who knows more than I do can clear that up.
mh81
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:53 am

Re: Entering Class C Airspace with Flight Following

Postby dmackusick » Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:09 pm

What confused me was that I wasn't handed off to an approach controller, but since the two airports are not very far apart maybe the controller I contacted on departure from City1 covered the area all the way to City2? Both airports were covered by NorCal Approach/Departure.
dmackusick
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon May 18, 2020 10:46 am

Re: Entering Class C Airspace with Flight Following

Postby Scott Medeiros » Mon Oct 05, 2020 6:18 pm

This is covered on the CAT-08 rating. Below is an excerpt from the rating description.

"If you are already in communication with approach as a result of receiving flight following, there is no need to make any additional calls.
In either case, approach control will advise you to contact tower at the appropriate time.
Aircraft that are receiving flight following will automatically be provided Class C services once they approach Class C airspace. No specific action is required by the pilot to initiate these services."

If you haven't already seen the CAT Ratings, I'd suggest to take a look at our Training Program. https://www.pilotedge.net/pages/trainin ... m-overview
The training program will take you step by step through airspace and communications, and cover many topics such as the one we're discussing here.
Scott Medeiros
 
Posts: 263
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:49 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Entering Class C Airspace with Flight Following

Postby dmackusick » Mon Oct 05, 2020 6:33 pm

Hi Scott,

Yes, I completed the CAT-08 rating. The CAT ratings have been super helpful and have pushed me out my comfort zone into learning new stuff. As I mentioned above, what threw me was the lack of an approach controller. I had been in communication with NorCal Departure, but had not been handed off to an approach controller but maybe I'm making too much out of the practical distinction (if any) between a departure controller/approach controller.
dmackusick
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon May 18, 2020 10:46 am

Re: Entering Class C Airspace with Flight Following

Postby mh81 » Mon Oct 05, 2020 6:40 pm

Just to make sure I’m on the right page, this is the case for a class C airport, but what about a class D? My understanding is that approach control doesn’t clear you into a delta? I realize that wasn’t the original scenario, but now I’m curious.
mh81
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:53 am

Re: Entering Class C Airspace with Flight Following

Postby Kevin_atc » Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:24 pm

dmackusick wrote:Hi Scott,

Yes, I completed the CAT-08 rating. The CAT ratings have been super helpful and have pushed me out my comfort zone into learning new stuff. As I mentioned above, what threw me was the lack of an approach controller. I had been in communication with NorCal Departure, but had not been handed off to an approach controller but maybe I'm making too much out of the practical distinction (if any) between a departure controller/approach controller.


You answered the question in your previous reply. They are both covered by the same TRACON. NorCal is a consolidated TRACON meaning it covers a much larger piece of airspace than you might be used to in a more rural area.
Kevin
PilotEdge Marketing
Want faster answers to your forum questions? Join our Discord community: www.pilotedge.net/discord
Kevin_atc
 
Posts: 1903
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:01 pm

Re: Entering Class C Airspace with Flight Following

Postby Kevin_atc » Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:29 pm

mh81 wrote:Just to make sure I’m on the right page, this is the case for a class C airport, but what about a class D? My understanding is that approach control doesn’t clear you into a delta? I realize that wasn’t the original scenario, but now I’m curious.


The class C is a bit of a gray area compared to the class D in this case. Yes, the TRACON owns the outer ring, but the tower owns the inner ring. But what you’re not totally sure of is how high the tower owns (they don’t own up to 5000 AGL). So it’s not necessarily fair for ATC to expect you to somehow know that.

For a class C, I would keep on trucking toward the field. If you get 4-5 miles out and you haven’t been switched to tower, it’s probably time to ping the controller. “Socal, Skyhawk 1AB has the airport in sight.”

The big difference in the situation is that you’re on the radar and the class C airport tower also has a radar, so they know you’re coming. The same can’t be said for all class D airports which is why you wouldn’t really want to enter a class D without either talking to the tower first or getting confirmation from approach that they’ve coordinated it for you.
Kevin
PilotEdge Marketing
Want faster answers to your forum questions? Join our Discord community: www.pilotedge.net/discord
Kevin_atc
 
Posts: 1903
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:01 pm

Re: Entering Class C Airspace with Flight Following

Postby dmackusick » Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:46 am

Kevin_atc wrote:
dmackusick wrote:Hi Scott,

Yes, I completed the CAT-08 rating. The CAT ratings have been super helpful and have pushed me out my comfort zone into learning new stuff. As I mentioned above, what threw me was the lack of an approach controller. I had been in communication with NorCal Departure, but had not been handed off to an approach controller but maybe I'm making too much out of the practical distinction (if any) between a departure controller/approach controller.


You answered the question in your previous reply. They are both covered by the same TRACON. NorCal is a consolidated TRACON meaning it covers a much larger piece of airspace than you might be used to in a more rural area.


Thanks Kevin!
dmackusick
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon May 18, 2020 10:46 am


Return to General

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests