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Aviation => Pilot/Controller Forum => Topic started by: Brandon19 on February 13, 2009, 09:18:12 AM

Title: Class D issue
Post by: Brandon19 on February 13, 2009, 09:18:12 AM
There is an uncontrolled airport in Clearwater Florida, KCLW, that is right next to a Class C airport, KPIE, in order to make the right traffic pattern to rwy 34 at CLW it can result in encroaching into the class C by a small margin. What would be the appropriate procedure should one drift into the Class C while on CLW unicom and turning base or base to final? Is there an allowable margin? Or, is there a way to plan ahead such as speaking ot PIE etc?
Title: Re: Class D issue
Post by: KSYR-pjr on February 13, 2009, 10:20:40 AM
Hello, Brandon.  You typed class D in your subject but then stated KPIE a class C, so I presume that "class C" is simply a typo and that you meant that KPIE is a class D, which it is. 

In looking at the airport information I see that runway 16 is a left traffic while runway 34 is right traffic.  It is apparent that the FAA wanted to keep aircraft out of that class D as best as possible, given the two to three mile distance between the traffic pattern and the class D airspace.


Based on my experience of flying in the northeast US my first thought would be to call the KPIE tower on a landline prior to flying (during flight planning and exploration) and ask them about the scenario of needing to clip the class D airspace (call mgr via AirNav listing and ask for tower number).  What do they recommend and what have others done in the past?   

An extended downwind on runway 16 would indeed put you into their class D airspace for the base leg and without prior contact would technically be against the regs.   In other words, I do not believe there is any acceptable margin and the FAA would be all over that violation, especially these days.

In many cases, an extended downwind is not something you know you need in advance; instead it is a decision you make based on unfolding circumstances while on the downwind - most times , for example, it is due to the aircraft in front of you thinking they need to fly into the next zip code before turning base.    Hence,  I don't see there being a lot of time to call PIE tower to make the required contact when you have time to discuss it.  I would also be concerned with the workload of a downwind-to-base-to-final phase of flight coupled with an attempt to make contact with the tower.   Can you say gear-up landing?   :-o     If I were in the pattern and discovered at the last minute I needed to extend the downwind I would probably bug out of the traffic pattern to the west and rejoin, rather than scramble to contact the tower. 

In addition to calling the tower I would also consider calling the local FBO during flight planning and ask to speak to a local flight instructor/pilot about that scenario.   What is their experience and recommendation?   Many times when I fly to an unfamiliar airport that has "interesting characteristics" I will do this just so I have a local's input.

In sitting comfortably at my desk (rather than in the hot seat of the left seat) I also believe that a prudent pilot would put monitor KPIE tower along with Unicom prior to entering the KCLW traffic pattern.

Some food for thought unless/until a local from that area could provide better ideas.
Title: Re: Class D issue
Post by: jmcmanna on February 14, 2009, 11:35:42 AM
I'd agree that calling on the telephone and asking what they would prefer is probably your best bet.  I don't know that particular area, but as a controller who has previously worked in a couple of towers within class D airspace, I would suggest that if you were approaching the airport for landing and thought you might get close to the Delta, call them up . . .

"Tower, N12345 is 2 miles west of Clearwater airport, would like to transition the edge of your airspace for landing at Clearwater airport" . . . the tower will then probably say "N12345, St Pete Tower, transition approved, altimeter 2992. . .,"

In the same transmission, they'll probably even say ". . . frequency change approved"

Chances are that exact scenario comes up several times per day, and the tower gets to count those "overflights" in its traffic count, which is the main factor that determines their pay.
Title: Re: Class D issue
Post by: N9IIT on June 24, 2009, 10:57:14 PM
Chances are that exact scenario comes up several times per day, and the tower gets to count those "overflights" in its traffic count, which is the main factor that determines their pay.

So that's why the ATC at KBAK would ask CFI's take their students to their airport and do pattern work and T&G's in Class D airspace!

"Look, I handled 200 T&L's today!"
Title: Re: Class D issue
Post by: lynnpstl on July 16, 2009, 09:48:07 AM
First of all, PIE is a class "D" airport not class "C".  CLW is a class "G" airport until you reach 700 ft. agl.  The magenta ring shown on the chart is the class"E" ring that starts at 700 ft. AGL.  If a proper traffic pattern is flown,(highly subjective) you should never be far enough downwind of runway 34(right hand pattern for RW34) to encroach on the PIE class "D".  I have as a flight instructor found within the last 5 years that we are allowing our students to make a cross country out of a traffic pattern that just continues to get worse.  When on downwind leg, once your landing point is 45 degrees under your wing, turn base.  That will keep a traffic pattern manageable at any airport.
Title: Re: Class D issue
Post by: binger on August 01, 2009, 01:36:52 PM
Is there an approach control to St. Pete? I work at a class D airport with a tower and approach control. If you ask approach for flight following it is THEIR responsibility to talk to the tower and request the transition. That way, you could call approach well before you needed to switch to UNICOM and have all your bases covered.
Title: Re: Class D issue
Post by: bcrosby on September 03, 2009, 01:08:32 PM
With an airport this close, I'm surprised they just don't extend the zone to include both airports.
Title: Re: Class D issue
Post by: NWA ARJ on September 04, 2009, 10:04:12 AM
This is what I pulled from airnav about KCLW.

Additional Remarks
Title: Re: Class D issue
Post by: Florida_Flyboy on December 04, 2009, 10:47:41 AM
I call this general area home. Your point is well taken, however it appears closer on paper than it is in real life.
Hercules and Belcher Rds. are to the East and SR60 is to the south. These roads provide a good visual alignment to the traffic pattern (without entering Class D).   If you're coming from the East or the SouthEast... you're likely under ATC control from Tampa or St. Pete. Not to mention the threshold of 34 at KCLW is displaced by a few hundred feet.

If you are within 10 miles from St. Pete (KPIE) you can contact the tower and ask for a transition to Clearwater KCLW. Some pilots chose to do this; depending on workload St. Pete tower is usually happy to oblige. It's a busy area with a lot of flight training, banner-flying, and helicopter photo work happening along the coast (Clearwater Beach).

All this said, you are PIC. If circumstances are unfolding that might cause you come near their airspace... change them, immediately. Stay ahead of your situation, not behind. If someone is flying an unorthodoxed pattern causing you to make changes... and you don't have enough time to dial up KPIE on the radio... leave the pattern and come back a little later. Or, If you have an area clear to your a 360 for spacing (just annouce what you're doing on CTAF and keep your head on a swivel).
Title: Re: Class D issue
Post by: Florida_Flyboy on December 05, 2009, 08:21:00 AM