Service Ceiling Test

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by tsts4, Jun 1, 2022.

  1. tsts4

    tsts4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    So, one thing I've never done is a test on the Service Ceiling on my RV-10. No real practical reason to do it. I'm just curious so it would just be for grins and giggles (yes I know I'll need O2). My question is from an ATC perspective, how to go about filing and/or asking ATC for a clearance to say FL 200 since theoretically the test would take me into Class A airspace and therefore IFR. I'm based under a Class B shelf so initially I'd be a talking to Approach but I would expect that at some point I'd have to be handed off to Center (not sure the vertical airspace structure in that regard). I don't really want to go anywhere particular for the test--I envision just doing racetracks over our practice area which is out of the way of airways and direct city routings and wouldn't interfere with any flight level traffic, as far as I can tell. Thoughts?
     
  2. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    Seems simple enough - file an IFR flight plan to XYZ at FL180. Then ask for a block 180-240.
     
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  3. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    are you instrument rated? some of your comments make me think you aren't. but that'd be step 1, I'd think.
     
  4. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    I don't understand the usage of the word "theoretically" here. FL200 is class-A airspace, and you to be on an IFR flight plan to occupy class-A. Ask for a block and have fun. If you're not on an IFR flight plan, you won't get a clearance to FL180 or higher.

    There's some weird spots where class-A doesn't exist. I think Hawaii is one of those.
     
  5. tsts4

    tsts4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Sorry, I was obtuse. I'm talking about my plane's performance. The RV-10's service ceiling is listed by Van's as 20,000. Not sure if I can get it up there or not, hence the "theoretically" in my OP.
     
  6. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    So fly it and find out? What's difficult here?
     
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  7. tsts4

    tsts4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes I am. But I've never requested anything like I want to see what my service ceiling is, so I'm not quite sure how to approach it. I could, of course, just fly IFR someplace and file for FL200, but I'd rather stay close to home and treat it like a test flight, which in reality it would be, albeit a relatively innocuous one other than getting a clearance.
     
  8. tsts4

    tsts4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Sigh. It's not difficult, although this thread is making it out to be. I was looking for gouge on how to approach ATC and request something I've never done before and is outside of my experience. There might be an easy way and a hard way, so figured I ask.
     
  9. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    Are you not Instrument Rated?

    Edit: I see you answered that.

    Did you see my response about asking for a block from 180 to 240? That seems the easiest to me.

    Better choice? Identify a common intersection on the way to XYZ and ask for a hold at the intersection after getting your block approved?

    Then after you finish your test, carry on to XYZ or ask for a diversion back to the home airport.

    None of this is really difficult, IMO.
     
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  10. tsts4

    tsts4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes.
     
  11. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I assume you're IFR rated. Are you still in Tampa? Just looking at Airways and drawing lines between airports may not tell the story of where traffic is likely to be and how excited the Center is going to be about it.
     
  12. tsts4

    tsts4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes, and I'm rated, and hence my question--I don't know what I don't know. This is all about setting up my test flight card and having everything from comms to routing, to objectives and tasks planned out in advance. Yes I'm anal about my approach to this since it is an E-AB aircraft.
     
  13. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    As an aside, I fly an airplane that also has the service ceiling at FL200.

    Getting up to 17:ish is pretty easy. Getting from 17-18 you notice takes more effort. From 18-20 is a 300 fpm fun time. I understand why they stopped at FL200.
     
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  14. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Find the phone number of the Center whose sky this is going to be in. Call them and ask.
     
  15. dmspilot

    dmspilot Final Approach

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    Unless your airplane is turbocharged, rate of climb is linear with altitude; if it is turbocharged, it will be linear above the critical altitude. You could measure your ROC at, say, 5k, 10k, and 15k, and make a pretty accurate projection as to your service ceiling (but use a stopwatch to measure climb rate, not the VSI).
     
  16. Jeff Oslick

    Jeff Oslick En-Route

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    It also matters (a lot) how heavily loaded you are. If it's just you and minimum gas, that's one number. Taking off at MGTOW, it will be a lower ceiling. Of course, density altitude matters too. If I recall correctly there is a minimum remaining ROC associated with the number used for service ceiling.
     
  17. IK04

    IK04 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Here's what I did once:

    I filed to a fix that was a bearing and distance from a VORTAC. That in itself drew all the questions from FSS and Center and they quickly figured out what I was doing.
     
  18. tsts4

    tsts4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Well, never mind. I'm BasicMed which has an 18000MSL max altitude restriction so this flight is a no-go from the start. Thanks anyway for the responses.
     
  19. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member PoA Technical Administrator

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    For prop GA airplanes it's 100 ft/min at gross weight. The weight correction is the gotcha, simply flying to 100 ft/min doesn't give you the answer until you correct it for the weight difference.

    OP - if you're planning on racetracks, make the legs as long and the turns as shallow as you can since the turns will have a more pronounced effect on the climb (or lack of) the higher you get, and you'll have to reacquire your test conditions rolling out of ever turn.

    I've had good results using excess power test results to develop climb schedules and predict service ceiling, it's then simpler to validate the predictions than use a climb test to get ceilings (combat, service, absolute, etc.)

    Nauga,
    and Ed Rutowski
     
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  20. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member PoA Technical Administrator

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    Can I be of assistance? :D

    Nauga,
    the helping ham
     
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  21. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Take it to 17999 just for kicks.
     
  22. tsts4

    tsts4 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I just might. That would solve my ATC and medical issues plus on a hot day I'd probably get at least an approximation of the ceiling at 17500 to 17999.
     
  23. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you need some ballast stop by and pick me up. ;)
     
  24. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    If @Salty has a Class 3, he can be more than ballast. Do it!
     
  25. Salty

    Salty Touchdown! Greaser!

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    nope, I'm basic med also.
     
  26. Jackk

    Jackk Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I don’t have much glider time, but I do recall gliders being allowed above FL180 on occasion.
     
  27. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    Gliders coordinate "Wave Windows" with ATC for flight into Class A. At least, last I knew that was the case.
     
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  28. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My Turbo Arrow had a listed service ceiling of 20,000 feet. I got it up to 17.5 for sh**s and giggles, but it REALLY didn't like being there (bad mag arcing) so I didn't bother to try a clearance to go higher.
     
  29. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    So exactly how does one file for something like this?

    upload_2022-6-1_15-5-23.png
     
  30. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    “Direct Teterboro”.
     
  31. Arm3

    Arm3 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Boeing Flight requests own navigation.
     
  32. Jackk

    Jackk Ejection Handle Pulled

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    well the FAA kinda lets Boeing do whatever they want anyways, mostly because they can’t understand what they do
     
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  33. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Just find a friend/POA administrator willing to ride shotgun/PIC (as @nauga hinted above), file a fairly long direct route somewhere (I live in a place where every route is long and direct, so that’s a point in my favor), and request a block of 12,000 - FL280 (so you can get back down to non-oxygen altitudes without asking). Make sure you have enough oxygen (including masks, not cannulas) to last for the test since climbing to your actual service ceiling will probably be more of an exercise in patience than anything else and you will have an oxygen-hogging POA administrator helping.

    I’d like to do this in my RV-14, too. I think that Van’s claims FL240 at gross and I think that’s tremendously silly.
     
  34. nauga

    nauga Administrator Management Council Member PoA Technical Administrator

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    Sometimes I'm a little ambiguous, I admit. I was hinting at getting help understanding the different kinds of testing you can do to predict your performance without having to do an endless climb right from the start. Performance flight testing is tedious and (hopefully) boring, I'll let someone else be the self-propelled ballast this time.

    Nauga,
    and other weighty matters
     
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  35. Racerx

    Racerx Pattern Altitude

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    Neither does Boeing.
     
  36. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard En-Route

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    I bet @nauga takes exception to that!
     
  37. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

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    You mean besides outside the ADIZ over the ocean? I’d check with Red Bull first.
     
  38. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Van’s lists the estimated ceiling at gross and at “solo weight” but I don’t think they have any data for how the plane flies at empty weight.
     
  39. Whitney

    Whitney Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I've been up to 15,500' and have no desire to get that high again. The headache wasn't worth it.
    Haven't been over 11,500 in the past 15 years.
     
  40. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    They still do it.