East/West through the DC SFRA

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by jpower, May 4, 2014.

  1. jpower

    jpower Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,350
    Location:
    Northern Virginia

    Display name:
    James
    I'm going to be doing a flight tomorrow JYO - GAI - VPONX - VPOOP - W29 and back again. I've flown the VPONX - VPOOP corridor probably 5 or 6 times, and I've always suck with the altitudes on the back of the TAC (1500 eastbound, 2000 westbound). But it seems like the rest of the traffic through the flyway doesn't pay any attention to the altitudes. Sooo I'm thinking of going at 2300 both ways this time, mainly because it gives me more altitude to work with. Are there any reasons not to that I'm not thinking of? And for those who fly this more regularly than I do, what do you usually do?

    Also, anybody had any luck getting a Class B transition for a little higher along VPONX - VPOOP? It seems that through the rest of the SFRA they're pretty willing to give them to you, but I've never tried getting one through the flyway.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    5,865
    Location:
    Alexandria VA

    Display name:
    Brad Z
    It depends on how busy things are and which direction BWI is landing. Your best bet is to ask for something higher like 7500/6500 for east/west transitions. Otherwise, you'd be fine with 2,300 or 2,400
     
  3. dukeblue219

    dukeblue219 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Messages:
    811
    Location:
    Silver Spring, MD

    Display name:
    Ted
    Departing from GAI and heading East, I've always done it at 2000 or so and it does kind of suck with bumpy air and limited landing options below. I have only done it 3-4 times and never tried to get a Bravo partly because I assumed it would be denied.

    I can see getting cleared at that altitude if you are already there, but I wonder if I'd have any luck getting a Bravo climb to 7500 from GAI... doesn't hurt to ask though!
     
  4. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    5,865
    Location:
    Alexandria VA

    Display name:
    Brad Z
    Again, it's time and wind dependent.

    As far as flying low...well I spent quite few hours bumping along the beltway at 1,400 MSL back when I used to fly traffic Cessnas. Of course I had a mental repository of every parking lot park, golf course, etc. that would work in a pinch if the AC stopped working.
     
  5. TUPilot

    TUPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2012
    Messages:
    247
    Location:
    Maryland

    Display name:
    TUPilot
    Of course, its a 40nm flight... requesting 7500 means you'll spend half your flight climbing if your in a high performance aircraft... more if your in a trainer type!

    Also, though most controllers in the area are familiar with VPOOP and VPONX, not all are, nor are they required to be. Personally I'd request a Bravo transition direct to W29 and see what happens; depending on the arrival flow at BWI you may get lucky.
     
  6. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    14,667

    Display name:
    weilke
    Was on board whe we hit a bird over the wildlife refuge. The recommended 1500 on the TAC is also contrary to the 2000ft 'recommendation' for flight over wildlufe refuges. 2200 and eyes out the window for me. Busy as they are, potomac does issue traffic alerts in the corridor.
     
  7. jpower

    jpower Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,350
    Location:
    Northern Virginia

    Display name:
    James
    I ended up doing today's flight at 2300 both ways. On the way over I was getting really badly beat up by turbulence, so I asked for higher. I got the feeling it was an unusual request... I got handed off to about 3 different controllers before I finally got someone who said "Yeahh, the final approach for Baltimore is pretty full, so I don't think that's gonna happen." Oh well, no harm in asking. The way back was muuuch smoother, so no issues there.

    Also, I got a surprise traffic call in the flyway itself headed east that went something like "And uh, November 12345, it looks like you may have traffic 12 o'clock 2 miles, opposite direction, altitude indicates 2200." I had probably drifted down 50 feet or so, so I was at 2250. That got my attention and I climbed to 2400 pretty quickly. I saw him pass under me and slightly to the right, but it goes to show that you've really got to keep your head on a swivel through that corridor, and that they may not call out all the traffic for you...at least not until it's right on you.
     
  8. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2005
    Messages:
    31,266
    My concern flying that VPONX-VPOOP corridor (the so-called "Fort Meade Gap") in the 1500-2500 MSL altitude block is that leaves you only a very narrow corridor (2nm wide) between the B-space and the FRZ, so if you encounter another plane in the opposite direction or are overtaking slower traffic, you have no room to maneuver. I prefer to fly it at 1400 (1000 AGL) right along the 2500-foot B-space shelf line -- that gives me a 5-mile wide corridor in which to maneuver laterally if necessary.
     
  9. deeruck

    deeruck Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    55

    Display name:
    OWD-Flyer

    That's good advice. Not a boatload of fun on a bumpy day though, and your altitude control had better be impeccable.
     
  10. dukeblue219

    dukeblue219 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Messages:
    811
    Location:
    Silver Spring, MD

    Display name:
    Ted
    There's some logic that it would be better to bust the bravo by 100-200' than to bust the FRZ by even an inch.
     
  11. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2005
    Messages:
    31,266
    Then aim for 1300 MSL. Nobody on the ground can tell by eye the difference between 900 and 1000 AGL, but ground radar can definitely tell if you go even one inch inside the FRZ or B-space lateral boundaries.
     
  12. Johann

    Johann Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2013
    Messages:
    377

    Display name:
    Johann
    At that altitude, do you think you can run into problems because of the Patuxent Wildlife Refugee, or they kind of make an exception in that airspace?
     
  13. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2005
    Messages:
    31,266
    I've never seen any sign that anyone cares about those who do not comply with that recommendation -- certainly not the FAA.
     
  14. Time Dilation

    Time Dilation Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Washington DC

    Display name:
    Time Dilation
    This is a pretty old thread but I really hate flying that Corridor. So I filed a SFRA Flight Plan east through bravo airspace requesting 3500 feet along the corridor. The Controller knew the Vponx/Vpoop corridor but after KGAI, gave me direct to BAL and climb to 5000 to avoid BWI traffic. He was pretty nice about it
     
    Randomskylane, GMascelli and GeorgeC like this.
  15. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    1,383
    Location:
    Philadelphia Area

    Display name:
    Arnold
    Impressive - a Cessna with air conditioning. Why would air conditioning failure cause you to land.:dunno:

    Seriously though, does anyone still do traffic patrol from aircraft?
     
  16. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    5,865
    Location:
    Alexandria VA

    Display name:
    Brad Z
    The AC is from the big fan up front. If it stops spinning, watch how fast the pilot starts sweating.

    I haven't flown traffic planes since around 08-09. There was a major consolidation in the radio media industry that brought on sharp cost cutting. Traffic planes were among the first to get squeezed. Add to that the recession and improvements in DOT camera capabilities, and airborne traffic reporting quickly went the way of the pterodactyl.
     
  17. Arnold

    Arnold Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    1,383
    Location:
    Philadelphia Area

    Display name:
    Arnold
    Or flying checks, which is what I did in the mid 80's.