Got a hand slap from San Carlos tower

Discussion in 'Lessons Learned' started by MAKG1, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So, yesterday, I flew couple of kids on their first flight.

    Afternoon weather had improved over the morning, so I opted to take the kids to Watsonville, 40 miles south; I like to use coastal airports for that, and Watsonville was clear while all the other coastal airports were under low ceilings (looked like marine layer). I requested a Bay Meadows departure (see http://www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/vgn/images/portal/cit_609/119698171SQL.pdf ) off Runway 30. Flew to 1000 straight out, made my left turn, and then climbed like a bat out of hell due to terrain ahead.

    At 1800 feet, San Carlos tower comes on and says I'm in Class B and I should descend to 1400 immediately. I did so -- fighting on the radio is not a good idea -- but I was under the 4000 foot shelf, and would not have been inside even if I had not made my turn yet (as long as I didn't bust the surface area -- not hard to avoid due to Hwy 92). After being handed off to NorCal, I resumed my climb to 3500.

    I'd be happy to correct my procedures if there really was an error on my part. But I'm not seeing any error. WTF? Does San Carlos not want people near Class B? That's not easy given where the airport is. Tower clearly thought I was under (or in) the 1500 foot shelf, which only exists on the other side of the runway.

    Has anyone else run into this issue at San Carlos?

    Here's the relevant TAC, for reference. https://skyvector.com/?ll=37.504325784776,-122.22613375528887&chart=127&zoom=2 A Bay Meadows departure is a left turn about a mile prior to Hwy 92, after taking off on 30. It's named after a racetrack that no longer exists.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  2. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    So did they give you a number as a pilot deviation or did you get it corrected while airborne?
     
  3. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I did exactly what they told me to do and descended (rather quickly) to 1400. No phone number and no "Brasher warning," but I really don't want to repeat that. No course correction was given nor taken.

    I'm not seeing that it could possibly be correct.

    I would have rather kept the altitude, as there is some terrain around there. And noise abatement isn't nice at 1400. But arguing on the air would have been worse.

    A NASA form is called for regardless of whose error it was, but I need to figure out what goes on it.
     
  4. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    A "bat out of hell" in a C182? Only an RV-8 is capable of that.

    I don't see any problem here. Tower got their east from west confused.
     
  5. airdale

    airdale Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    POA is the wrong place to ask. Call the tower and ask for a supervisor. They will hear your story and check the audio recordings. I don't know how easy it is to get the radar tracks but they may do that too. The result will be that someone will learn something useful. Maybe you, maybe the person that was working Local Control.
     
  6. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I had a similar thought. Not sure I want to poke at them when they think I busted Class B, though.
     
  7. airdale

    airdale Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    They are not going to violate you. It's a hassle and you are just a guy calling in with a question, trying to understand and improve things. White hat.

    I call an FAA facility and/or AFRCC maybe once or twice a year with questions. 100% of the time I have gotten someone who is interested in helping. The ones that make me smile the most are when the person says: "Gee, that's a good question." and goes to check with other people.

    Just start like this: "I'm a pilot with a question. Do you have time to help me right now?" At ATC facilities nobody has ever said "no." AFRCC can get busy at times but I've never gotten a "no" there either. During business hours if you get a secretary, just ask for the duty supervisor. Outside business hours, that's who answers the phone.

    In fact, after your question is answered I'd suggest asking if there is a time you can bring some cadets to the tower for a tour. You might even see if someone would come to a cadet meeting to talk about ATC careers. You'll learn a lot, the kids will love it, and you will create a positive view of CAP in the tower staff. No telling when or how that will pay off. Make sure to leave them contact names and numbers.
     
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  8. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou En-Route

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    ^^^^ THAT
     
  9. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I wouldn't even bother with a phone call. That would go "oh yeah, our controller messed up on that." If they were going to write you up for a PD, they would have told you to call. If they didn't, they have no leg to stand on since the precedence has already been set. Not brasher notification, no enforcement action.
     
  10. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you really want to know, PM me you're call sign used for ATC, if you had a squawk code, and I can let you know what the radar displayed. Also need the estimated time of the flight (for ease).
     
  11. airdale

    airdale Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Right or wrong, the attitude I perceive here is that ATC is an adversary. In my experience they are not. IMO this is bad advice. Make the call with the same positive attitude that's in the first post, learn something.
     
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  12. airdale

    airdale Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Aaaand ... ladies and gentlemen, here we have an example of a helpful ATC guy.
     
  13. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Adversary??? Since I did ATC for 8 years, I don't look at them as an adversary. You can call tower sups til you're blue in the face, the sectional is quite clear. The floor starts at 4,000 ft.
     
  14. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix Pattern Altitude

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    Velocity wasn't saying it was adversarial. He's just saying that he wouldn't worry about the interaction at all in terms of being on the receiving end of some sort of enforcement action.
     
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  15. airdale

    airdale Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    OK. I stand corrected. Sorry. I still think there is value in calling the tower with the question but YMMV.
     
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  16. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix Pattern Altitude

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    It's hard to gauge tone sometimes. I think if MAKG is curious, it's worth a phone call. But as far as worrying about any punitive action, that's something that he doesn't need to worry about.
     
  17. jbDC9

    jbDC9 Pre-Flight

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    Funny you should mention that; I've flown in/out of San Carlos once in my RV-8. Departed 30 with a right turnout to depart south; I was doing the usual RV "bat outta hell" climb, not paying close enough attention and was about to pop up thru 1500' into Class B. Oops. But lucky for me, the controller was watching and gave a quick warning... doh! I quickly leveled at 1400', thanked him profusely and went on my way. I'm glad he was watching and in a helpful mood as I was about to have a great big ol' Class B bust...
     
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  18. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    The only way I can see you'd have been close to the class Bravo is if you drifted right (wind?) under the 1500' shelf.

    But as has already been said, call the tower and ask. All my experience with ATC is they want to help and if your attitude is "Educate me please." they'll go out of their way to figure out what to fix.

    John
     
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  19. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    How far back can you do that?
     
  20. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The local ATC facility actually encourages us to call them with questions. The one time I've ever had to do this, I got an apology from them that the controller indeed acted inappropriately.
     
  21. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Fill in the blanks for name, id, time and all that stuff. Then copy and paste your original post into the "what happened" box.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  22. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not for certain. I know semi-recent is easy
     
  23. Pilawt

    Pilawt En-Route

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    If the OP was running a current version of Foreflight, he can go to the Foreflight website and download his track.
     
  24. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Indeed, I was.

    Though the iPad was in the side panel pocket, closed.

    For basic VFR flights with new passengers, I like to downplay the gadgets, in favor of paper and eyeballs out the windows.

    I'll check if it recorded the flight anyway.
     
  25. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Foreflight didn't record it, but I've seen the radar track now. Somehow, I did get right of the runway extended centerline.

    There may be a lesson in how. There wasn't much wind at all, at most a few knots. But one of the landmarks --US 101 -- curves in that direction. I think I may have followed it for noise abatement. That particular procedure doesn't ask for that, but most of the others do.
     
  26. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I just checked the chart, and I see what you mean. I guess I'm lucky that the plane I sometimes fly out of San Carlos doesn't climb all that fast.
     
  27. Justin M

    Justin M Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hi,

    If you don't mind me asking, does this mean that you _will_ fill out a NASA ASRS form?

    I remember correctly, early in the thread, it sounded like you were mulling over filling one out. Then later in the thread others suggested you didn't need to and it would be overkill. But now the facts are different than what you thought.

    Just trying to learn from your experience.

    Thanks!

    J
     
  28. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    It's a form that you can fill out that is non punitive so that both ATC and pilots can learn from the sitatuation.
     
  29. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    ASRS is about safety, so if there is a safety lesson to learn, it's appropriate. I think there is.
     
  30. asicer

    asicer Cleared for Takeoff

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    So did you bust bravo?
     
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  31. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's what the radar track says. Though descending 400 feet wasn't the fastest way out. A left turn out the side was.
     
  32. Zeldman

    Zeldman En-Route

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    Lesson learned. I bet you never do that again.
     
  33. mtuomi

    mtuomi Pattern Altitude

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    So, will you downplay the gadgets next time? :)
    Sounds like it was a pretty "soft" bust so no harm done.
     
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  34. dmspilot

    dmspilot Pattern Altitude

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    How did you bust if you turned left at 1,000 feet as originally stated?

     
  35. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That isn't the lesson I take from that. Heads down in a very busy pattern is a real bad idea. There was inbound traffic exiting Class B at the time, nearby.

    I take from it that I have to be sure I know where Class B is in relation to landmarks, even if I've been there before, and not add noise abatement rules that don't exist.
     
  36. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, the track disagrees with that.
     
  37. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    This. It's been a big deal during my training for CFI to note big landmarks that are at the Bravo boundary. It's a lot easier to know if a student is about to bust themselves and you that way and works when the gadget batteries die or the student has the panel GPS all cocked up.

    "We have to be below 8000 before the north edge of that lake. Are you going to make it, or do we need to turn and let you descend out here some more?"

    I'm pretty good on the south side. I need to look over the north side of the Bravo a little better from the air.
     
  38. asicer

    asicer Cleared for Takeoff

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    This x2. It seems that the FAA agrees with us too as they seem to be wanting to switch out their VOR/DME based circular Bravo boundaries for ones based on landmarks.
     
  39. Norman

    Norman En-Route

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    Bear in mind that I'm not a pilot but an A&P. Having looked closely at the chart I think part of the problem is the way the FAA designed the airspace. They could have made it easier for aircraft departing to avoid the Bravo without getting paranoid about it. The heads in Washington aren't perfect. Input from pilots who frequent San Carlos could be helpful.
     
  40. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Interesting point. I wonder if we'll see more of that on the northwest side of DEN as they've been touting the upcoming "redesign" of that airspace and holding public meetings about it.

    I haven't had a chance to get to one yet, but specifically asking for more landmark-based boundaries wouldn't be a bad idea... since they're in the redesign "mode" right now.

    The stated goal is to help figure out the corridor on the west side that funnels high speed traffic from the north into BJC right over Longmont and Boulder. It was almost certainly a factor in the Cirrus that slammed into the tow-plane at Boulder descending into BJC a number of years ago, and there have been some close calls with bizjets ans gliders when the bizjets attempt to go into BJC VFR, avoiding the Bravo.