Overflying Class C or D airspace VFR

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
On VFR cross countries, does anyone ever actually fly straight over the top of class C or D airspace without contacting any controlling agencies? Legally by the FARs, there's nothing that I know of that says you need to since you are never actually entering the C or D airspace.

What about a Class D airport that where appraoch services are provided by center and the frequency is always VERY congested? Would you:

a)increase the center controllers workload by telling them of your intentions to overfly the class D, get a squawk code, etc.

b) Contact the tower rather than center and tell tower of your intentions (less freq congestion than center)

or

c) do none of the above and just fly over squawking VFR, keeping an eye out for traffic and keeping to yourself, besides maybe monitoring the Center freq but not talking on it?

Normally if the facility has it's on approach services I contact them and inform them of my intentions. However, in situations like the one above where center is providing approach services, I am hesitant to bother them due to freq. congestion.
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
Normally I get flight following; that way everyone already knows what I want to do, and if I want to transition through the airspace as opposed to over it, it's typically no problem.

I've also overflown C and D airspace without talking to anyone; no problems there either.

As for your question regarding VERY congested frequencies with no approach control (only center) I would plan the flight so I'm talking to them already. If that's not possible I'd either contact the tower, fly higher, or avoid the area.
 

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
Thanks for the reply Ed. For some reason, I've found Houston Center to be less than accomodating on VFR flight following issues, especially if you're originating the flight from an uncontrolled field. There's been at least half a dozen times when I've just been "blown off" by controllers, and to be honest I usually just mind my own business rather than wasting my time trying to get any help from these guys if I'm departing from an uncontrolled field.

Departing from my usual home base of AUS is a different story. The center controllers seem to take handoffs from approach controllers more seriously than callups from aircraft already in the air. *shrug*
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Thanks for the reply Ed. For some reason, I've found Houston Center to be less than accomodating on VFR flight following issues, especially if you're originating the flight from an uncontrolled field. There's been at least half a dozen times when I've just been "blown off" by controllers, and to be honest I usually just mind my own business rather than wasting my time trying to get any help from these guys if I'm departing from an uncontrolled field.



[/ QUOTE ]

Remember, as VFR flight following, you're the bottom priority for the Center controller, hence the feeling of getting "blown off" sometimes. It depends on the controllers workload.

Personally, I don't care to talk to ATC if I don't have to. If I'm crossing over a C or D airspace, I'll tune and monitor the appropriate freqs just to build my own SA, and assist in my responsibility of see and avoid. But I won't necessarily bother ATC with requesting following or picking up a squawk.
 

pljenkins

Resident Knucklehead
Ed,

Question about getting Flight Following.. I've always found that requesting flight following is a rather awkward experience for me. I've done it several times, but I feel like when I make the initial call I'm rambling on... What information is the controller looking for on the initial call for Flight Following? Should I ever even bother with telling him the intended route of flight?

Paul
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
I'm not Ed, but I'll give you my answer...and how I teach my students to do it. On initial call-up, give callsign, location, altitude, and say VFR REQUEST. Its short, to the point, and is all ATC needs to know on initial call-up (the VFR request part being very important, especially in busy airspace).

Example: "Cleveland Approach, Cessna 1234T, 5 south of Chardon, 2500, VFR Request."

Now, not every place probably does this, but if they can do anything for me at all, Cleveland will issue a squawk code right then. Once they get radar contact, they'll ask what my request is. If they're too busy to do any flight following, etc., they'll simply say: "Unable VFR request, remain outside of the Class B."
 

pljenkins

Resident Knucklehead
Thansk, ESF! This does help alot, especially when working with someone like Chicago Approach...

Now, after the initial contact, you get a code, and they ask you what your request is... Now what information should I give them? VFR to DPA via (insert routing here), request flight following?

Also, on this string, is it possible/appropriate to ask for them to hand you off to the adjacent controller to continue flight following? I have been handed off before, but most of the time I don't get that (which is understandable, since the adjacent controller is usually Chicago Approach).

Thanks!

Paul
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
After the initial callup and ATC's answer I normally say:

Who you are - Cessna 55152 is a Cessna 172/U
Where you are - 5 south of Meigs at 3500'
What you want - requesting flight following to O'hare with Charlie.

Then they'll give a sqawk code and possibly tell you to ident. They'll say radar contact, which means you now have flight following. If you ever want to cancel, just tell them you'd like to cancel flight following. If you need to go off frquency for weather or ATIS or anything, just let them know. They'll tell you to report back with them (just remember to write down the frequency if you only have one radio). You don't need to request to be handed off; when you reach the boarder of a controller's sector they'll do it for you by giving you a new frequency.

They normally don't need routing information, however if the airspace is quite busy and has bravo, they might ask how you plan to get around / through it. You aren't required to tell them of altitude changes, but if you plan on descending or climbing it's not a bad idea to let em know.
 

I_Money

Moderator
I much like Ed am normally have flight following, however if I did not I would opt for (c) and fly over it, keeping an eye out but not talking to anyone.
The boys pretty much covered getting flight following, however you can always request class Charlie services when departing a class D airport, then the tower will hand you off and you do not have to make an initialcall to approach.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Hey

I've never used flight following because up here it's not really needed. It's pretty much just tower and departure and thats all you need.

I'm headin back home this week and will be flying in the DAY, CMH, CVG area's so I will probably be using flight following a decent amount. Is it pretty much the same thing as VFR traffic advisories or can they give other services as well?
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Is it pretty much the same thing as VFR traffic advisories or can they give other services as well?

[/ QUOTE ]

VFR advisories. Will offer more depending on workload.
 

ananoman

New Member
Even if you get flight folowing, do not depend on this for collision avoidance. I have almost been run over several times when I was on flight following and the controller never said anything. Remember, you are not their priority.
 

pilot602

If specified, this will replace the title that
I use FF almost exclusively (when I finish the IA it'll all be IFR plans). On initial call up I just say "XXXX center, Apache 5555A with request."

That's all they need to know at that point and it keeps the chatter down. When/if they come back I'll give 'em "Apache 5555A, X miles from Airoport/VOR, enroute to Airport, at X altitude like to pick up flight following."

I rarely give, and even more rarely do I get asked, aircraft type. As Apache pretty much sums it up. But occasionaly I'll need to clarify that, no, we are not a Cherokee.
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
I use FF almost exclusively (when I finish the IA it'll all be IFR plans.

[/ QUOTE ]
Ditto.
 

farwellbooth

Well-Known Member
I don't like it. Not all transponders have altitiude encoding. And if they do have encoders there is often a disparity between pressure alt. that your encoder sends and indicated. In other words whenever I get an alert that someone is at my altitude, there usually quite a bit higher or lower which takes me forever to find.
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
No offense... but that's like saying you don't like listening to the car radio because the reception goes out under bridges.

Despite the flaws, it's a heck of a lot better than not having a car stero (which I currently do not...
).
 

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
[ QUOTE ]
Remember, as VFR flight following, you're the bottom priority for the Center controller, hence the feeling of getting "blown off" sometimes. It depends on the controllers workload.

Personally, I don't care to talk to ATC if I don't have to. If I'm crossing over a C or D airspace, I'll tune and monitor the appropriate freqs just to build my own SA, and assist in my responsibility of see and avoid. But I won't necessarily bother ATC with requesting following or picking up a squawk.

[/ QUOTE ]

As an instrument pilot, I compltely understand that VFR advisories are at the bottom of the priority list for center controlellers, and I'm very glad it's that way. I don't really feel bad when they "blow me off", and in certain areas I almost expect it. I do like it when they at least tell me "unable to provide VFR services at this time" or something of that nature, but even if they don't I simply keep monitoring the center freq and go about my business. I've got a lot of respect for controllers, I greatly appreciate their professionalism, I do my best to understand the difficulty of their job, and try to make things as easy as possible on them at all times.

That said, on monday I performed a flight in which I needed to transition across class D airspace. I contacted ATC on the tower frequency and it worked pretty well. They read back my call sign and said "transition across the area approved". This is probably a lot simpler than what would've happened on center.
 

JAM

New Member
As far as xpdrs go, keep in mind that the radar controllers screen 'corrects' for the difference in indicated and pressure altitude. The computer knows the altimeter setting in the area and adjusts the reported altitude to 'MSL' accordingly.
 

Eagle

New Member
funny thing how we all are different.

I get flight following about 90% of the time.

Having had more than one inflight fire, and almost been run thru a few times not to mention the meat missles jumping for 14k ft... I like having some one else looking out for me, if it is a real real busy day I'll file IFR, so they can't drop me.

I also rarely fly below 10,000 ft as not too many of the weekend pilots will go up that high, and they are the danger.. the other bonus is out here (NY_BOS_WASH) the Centers work all above 10,000 ft, and they rarely are too busy for VFR FF.
 
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