Class B Clearances

Jason spent 24 years as an air traffic controller at Los Angeles Center, and recently moved east to work in DC in the Airspace office as an air traffic subject matter expert. He is a Sport Pilot, owns a Rans S12XL E-LSA, and got his >87 knot endorsement so he can rent a C162. He's here to answer your questions about ATC procedures and rules, in a strictly unofficial capacity.

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Jack Tyler
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Class B Clearances

Postby Jack Tyler » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:53 am

Flim63, we'd appreciate you trying to tackle this query about clearance into Class B airspace. In another thread, the use of Flight Following was being praised by Carl (and it surely should be) but with the caveat from Paul that one needs to be sure to request and receive Class B clearance before entering the B 'wedding cake'. Here's my following comment and the accompanying question. Hopefully, altho' you've never worked Tracon, you might have a perspective on what's happening. One Q I was left with, from the other thread, was whether Carl would have had the same experience in Denver's Class B if he had NOT have requested Class B clearance while already on FF with Approach. Perhaps my experience (see below) is the typical one.

[from Paul] "FF is great. Just remember that being on FF does not automatically get you cleared into the Bravo. You have to specifically request it, and must remain clear until you hear your callsign, followed specifically by the words "cleared into the Class Bravo"."

That's interesting. I have recently made a series of flights into and out of Tampa's and Orlando's Class B's, in each case used FF, and in each case was not specifically cleared into their Class B nor did I suffer any problems. In the first of those flights, when getting pretty close to the B 'wedding cake', I specifically asked ATC if I was cleared into the Class B. His immediate answer was 'Yes, you have been cleared into Tampa's Class B', implying it was automatic on FF...and that apparently has been true on each of these flights.

So...what do we have here? Regional differences? Differing TraCon practices? A good reason to consult our Ask the Controller expert, so I'll post this same query over there.
Jack
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Flocker
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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby Flocker » Mon Apr 29, 2013 7:19 am

I regularly fly over/through the Atlanta/Hartsfield Class B with Flight Following. They have always given the "cleared into the Bravo."

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FastEddieB
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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby FastEddieB » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:08 pm

Jack Tyler wrote:
That's interesting. I have recently made a series of flights into and out of Tampa's and Orlando's Class B's, in each case used FF, and in each case was not specifically cleared into their Class B...


Are you sure?

That is highly unusual.

A specific clearance is required for any VFR flight into Class B. Entering without those magic words is a violation, so be careful.

I've been into both Tampa and Orlando's (and Atlanta's) Class B numerous time over the years, and always got a clearance. If unable to get one, I will invariably change course and/or altitude, or even circle to avoid busting it.

Again, be careful and insist on hearing those words, whether they volunteer them or not.

Edited to add: this would be the PERFECT time for a NASA form. It would protect you from prosecution (admittedly highly unlikely), but would be good practice and might get the word to those controllers that their actions might be jeopardizing unsuspecting pilots.
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Jack Tyler
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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby Jack Tyler » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:04 am

Let's chill on the 'it didn't happen that way to me' and let our Controller comment. I've had the same experiences mentioned above, at other times. I suspect it's not just about the way the rule is written but about how the procedure is conducted in a given Center and/or TraCon. After all, in most of Florida we don't honor the East/West altitude separation convention when flying IFR...which appears to be 'wrong' to folks from other States. But it's 'correct' by virtue of Letters of Agreement between the Centers.
Jack
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FastEddieB
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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby FastEddieB » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:24 am

Jack Tyler wrote:Let's chill on the 'it didn't happen that way to me' and let our Controller comment.


OK. I'll chill.

Just trying to help.
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3Dreaming
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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby 3Dreaming » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:59 am

Jack, Eddie was just pointing out what the rugulations say, and as pilots that is what we must follow. It may be one of those things that they let slide down there, but if something happens that makes them review the tapes who do you think wil get in trouble?
This is from 91.131 for class "B" airspace.
(1) The operator must receive an ATC clearance from the ATC facility having jurisdiction for that area before operating an aircraft in that area.

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CharlieTango
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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby CharlieTango » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:38 am

I'm with Eddie, you have to have the clearance or your shouldn't enter.

My anecdote from the past. We were flying into Salt Lake City from Mammoth Lakes, CA in a friends Skylane. We were talking to approach for radar services ( flight following ) and at one point the controller demanded an immediate 180 as though a collision was imminent. We had busted the, now called class B airspace. The pilot had to call the controller and then the FAA for enforcement.

Flim63
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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby Flim63 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:54 pm

Great question and good discussion.

91.131 is the appropriate reference and becomes even more clear when compared to 91.129 and .130. Class D and C requires only 2-way communication established. I highlight that because that does not mean you have given your callsign on frequency. You must get a reply with your callsign from the controller. But the exchange "Fresno approach, N6039M 20 miles south of Chandler inbound.""N6039M, Fresno, roger" would be good for C and D airspace. But B requires an explicit clearance into/through the airspace, even per our 7110.65 ATC handbook, and for a very good reason... controllers have to SEPARATE vfr traffic from everybody in class B. If you have not heard those magic words, please make a radio call and verify, it's one of the few times a VFR can get nailed with a pilot deviation. You are also required to comply with control instructions while in class B, such as altitudes, vectors and (less likely) speeds, unless it will take you into IFR conditions or otherwise unsafe. Why are some not seeing this? I hate to say it, but training. You get one controller in an area that is lax and they train the next guy and neglect to stress that rule. It compounds. As a group, we are commited to seeing a safe operation, but with 15,000 of us there is variation in knowledge.

FastEddie mentioned the NASA form and that is a great tool for reporting these type of incidents if you're seeing it repeatedly. Internally we have the ATSAP form and it has made many improvements to safety.

As an aside, I just spent the last week at the ATC Command Center during the furloughs as Enroute liason to Traffic Management. If anyone flys in the DC SFRA, I learned some interesting facts about that operation that I can relate and I don't even have to kill you afterward. Look for a post later that may make some sense of that operation.

Fly safe

Jason

Jack Tyler
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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby Jack Tyler » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:58 pm

Jeez, guys...

The purpose of the post is not to query or debate the rule; didn't I make that clear enough yet? The purpose is to see if our Controller member can cast some light on why my recent experiences deviate from the rule. I learned the same rule everyone else did. Regurgitating it here really isn't helpful...
Jack
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designrs
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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby designrs » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:07 pm

Flim63 wrote:As an aside, I just spent the last week at the ATC Command Center during the furloughs as Enroute liason to Traffic Management. If anyone flys in the DC SFRA, I learned some interesting facts about that operation that I can relate and I don't even have to kill you afterward. Look for a post later that may make some sense of that operation.


DC SFRA thread started for this purpose. Looking forward to the info and discussion Jason. Thanks!
viewtopic.php?f=32&t=3107

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designrs
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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby designrs » Wed May 01, 2013 6:14 am

Just happened to receive this handy "Get Cleared through Class Bravo" script through a local airport (39N) newsletter:

http://library.constantcontact.com/down ... ed+May.pdf

3Dreaming
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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby 3Dreaming » Wed May 01, 2013 8:56 am

Jack Tyler wrote:Jeez, guys...

The purpose of the post is not to query or debate the rule; didn't I make that clear enough yet? The purpose is to see if our Controller member can cast some light on why my recent experiences deviate from the rule. I learned the same rule everyone else did. Regurgitating it here really isn't helpful...


I'm sorry Jack, but I thought this is an open to the public forum. I didn't think that just because that was your purpose meant the rest of us couldn't talk about it.

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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby drseti » Wed May 01, 2013 9:13 am

Jack Tyler wrote:I learned the same rule everyone else did. Regurgitating it here really isn't helpful...


With deepest respect, Jack, I have to agree with Tom here. Regurgitation may not be helpful to you, but it probably is to others on this list. So, let's just be glad we have a chance to educate. :)
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Flim63
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Re: Class B Clearances

Postby Flim63 » Thu May 02, 2013 1:46 pm

And I'll just add the discussion helps me tune the reply so I can address any misconceptions and get everyone on the same page.


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