Cleared into Class Bravo ... Cleared for the option

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by NoHeat, May 25, 2020.

  1. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    St. Louis Lambert KSTL is Class Bravo. But it's normally not that busy (not since 2009, when American pulled its hub out of STL). And the GA runway is right next to the FBO. So normally it's a pretty easy airport for a small plane ... but you do get instructions like altitude and heading.

    Well yesterday, when I flew there VFR, approach cleared me into Bravo without any altitude restriction or headings. And the tower cleared me for the option, without even asking for my intentions. (I actually wanted a full-stop landing, to drop off a passenger.) In the tower, it was the same controller doing three things: tower, ground and clearance delivery.

    The whole experience seemed like a Class D airport, except for the part where they said 'cleared into the class bravo.'
     
  2. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    KSTL has been a very accommodating Bravo for years.
     
  3. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I think it’s that way at many Bravo’s around the country right now. When I did my flight down to ATL, it was more or less like a big class Charlie (traffic volume wise) but they still issued the standard phrases and gave headings and altitudes to fly. Sleepier than usual though, that’s for sure.
     
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  4. Nathan Miller

    Nathan Miller Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Same experience at Dulles. Before taking off from Manassas, VA (13nm to the south of IAD), I called Potomac Tracon via telephone to ask about coordinating a low approach over 19R to test out my marker beacon, since I just installed the audio panel. Smooth flight - very A:B. No routings that would have doubled the flight time. Pre-pandemic, I used to cut to the north or south on the east side of Dulles through the Bravo. I would get constant heading adjustments or changes to my altitude.

    Long story short- since I called ahead to prearranged a low approach, I was quite surprised when tower, unprompted, said "cleared for the option" o_O

    It caught me so off guard, I couldn't stop myself from asking the stupid question - "uhh.. does that include a touch and go?" To which tower repeated, with an almost audible shrug, "cleared for the option"

    :goofy:wheeeee

    Nothing like a TNG at a Bravo airport
     
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  5. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    Ummm, Bravo is no different than any other airport other than you better be prepared with intentions and on your A game with instruction comprehension and read backs.
     
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  6. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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  7. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Regarding Bravos, that's not applicable to KSTL at the present time ... which is the point of my OP.
     
  8. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    It’s still always applicable. I was out flying today based out of KSLC bravo. While quiet (less quiet than your Bravo) you still need to treat it as any controlled airport. I do enjoy the slightly quieter environment though for the more direct routing both outbound and inbound.

    I guess I’m trying to figure out the point of this post. It’s cool the controllers have less workload to accommodate you. And being auto-cleared for the option is interesting in a Bravo. But it’s still a controlled field and you still need to be on your game and be prepared to follow whatever instructions are given.
     
  9. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    ...which is true of Class C, D, and even E or G with an operating control tower. I suspect his point was simply what he said:
     
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  10. snglecoil

    snglecoil Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It definitely feels like bizzaro world out there right now. 2 weeks ago I requested a city tour of Charlotte which is in the Bravo surface area. In the past I've gotten an altitude restriction of about 1800. This time they gave me at or below 3000...and then offered pattern work if I wanted. They almost sounded disappointed when I only did 1 touch and go.

    This past Sunday, however, no such luck. I didn't hear much commercial traffic coming into CLT, but it seemed like every GA plane in the area was out. Approach was so covered up in practice instrument approaches, I couldn't even get flight following.
     
  11. Initial Fix

    Initial Fix Pre-takeoff checklist

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    KSTL tower is fantastic to work with for GA pilots. If your lucky the traffic they call will be a new F-15 of F/A-18.

    Better yet - ATC calling - bonanza departing traffic crossing off your right, F15, should be no factor. Followed by the roar of the AB as they do a touch and go.
     
  12. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Atlanta doesn’t allow it - has to be full stop. Plus, half the fun is tooling around on the ground among the big iron and being involved with the radio chatter! :)