Sightseeing in Class B

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by steamee, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. steamee

    steamee Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I live in Class B airspace, but trained in it only to the extent that I've been told to avoid it and only used Boston App/Dep control for flight following. One day it would be neat to fly over the city. I see single engine aircraft fly over my house all the time in the summer so I know people are doing it.

    What's the procedure for doing this aside from getting the clearance to enter class B? I would imagine you'd get a squawk code and then get vectored. But what would the call up phraseology be and what could I expect to get in response as far as a route? Would I have to be very specific about my flight path?
     
  2. HPNPilot1200

    HPNPilot1200 En-Route

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    Something along these lines:

    "Boston Approach, N12345, request"

    "N12345, Boston Approach, squawk 0217 and say request"

    "Squawk 0217, N12345 is a C172, 20 northwest of Boston at 2,000, request class bravo transition southbound over the city"

    "N12345, radar contact 20 northwest of Boston, cleared in the class Bravo at 2,000 as requested, maintain VFR, Boston altimeter 30.15" or "N12345, radar contact 20 northwest of Boston, cleared in the class Bravo at or below 1,500, remain west of the runway 4L extended centerline at all times, maintain VFR, Boston altimeter 30.15" or "N12345, unable due to traffic"

    The guys at Boston TRACON are great and will try their best to accommodate your request. Sometimes it is more difficult when they are running a particular runway configuration (Departing 27 or Landing 4L/R) They may also have you call Boston Skyways (124.72) which is the radar position at Boston Tower which handles transient VFRs through their airspace. It never hurts to ask.

    Best,
    Jason
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  3. NelsonMinar

    NelsonMinar Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm in the same boat as you, all I've learned as a student pilot so far is how to avoid the Bravo. Here's a pilot's description of flying a San Francisco bay tour; I imagine Boston has a similar sort of process. There's a lot of local knowledge, my plan is to make my first tour be with my CFI.
     
  4. silver-eagle

    silver-eagle En-Route

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    Call the tower. Get the specifics from them. BOSTON has a special frequency to use for sightseeing.
    I found it very easy to do but I stayed well away of LOGAN.
     
  5. steamee

    steamee Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thanks guys this has been really helpful. It's good to understand what the dialog might be like. As it turns out I had to extend out to a 5 mile final this weekend so it was almost like sight seeing! I'm sure it'd be fun to fly that low for my passengers but 1500' in a big city seems pretty low for me. I think I'd spend all my time keeping altitude!
     
  6. dmccormack

    dmccormack Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Pitt is Class B but not as busy as most others -- I just request Class B entrance, then request to do "a few low orbits over the city for passengers..."

    Never get denied -- even when TFRs are in place ("Just stay at 3500" or "stay on the south side and you'll be out of the TFR...")
     
  7. Rob Schaffer

    Rob Schaffer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Like others said above, Bravo is nothing to be afraid of, and once you fly through once or twice, you'll lose that 'avoid B' thinking.

    Last year I took my wife for a sightseeing flight through the Philadelphia Bravo after getting FF from them all the time, this flight was one of the few times I transited their airspace.

    Keep on your gushes and assigments, as it isn't as much
    of a sightseeing flight for you but a training flight to focus on precision flying. Let your passenger take the pics and you can
    check them out later.

    Have fun!!

    http://flyingrob.blogspot.com/2009/05/philadelpha-flight-with-becky-in.html
     
  8. t0r0nad0

    t0r0nad0 Pattern Altitude

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    I've done many sight-seeing flights in the Houston Bravo, I echo what everyone says above. Class B should not be feared.

    Go to http://www.houstonpilots.net and check out the article on Flying In and Around the Houston Class Bravo on the Pilot Resources page if you want some more info.
     
  9. brcase

    brcase Cleared for Takeoff

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    1st or 2nd time doing so, it may be worth while to have another experienced pilot or a CFI go along with you to assist with the radio work.

    Brian
     
  10. t0r0nad0

    t0r0nad0 Pattern Altitude

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    +1 - I agree wholeheartedly.
     
  11. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    The key is that by asking, you alert the controllers as to your intentions. What gets them up tight is someone flying willy-nilly in their airspace with no idea of what the errant pilot will do next. If they know what you are going to do, they can fit you into their plans. Should work in all but the busiest airspace...I've done it over Seattle dozens of times.

    Bob Gardner
     
  12. steamee

    steamee Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just a quick follow-up...after 5 weeks on the ground I got back in the skies with my CFI and did the Class B/City Tour. Somewhat amusingly my CFI had never actually done this so it was kind of a learning experience for us both.

    We took off at about 8:30am. I picked a time slot I thought wouldn't be too hectic and that turned out to be exactly right. Just after turning crosswind I called in to BED Tower for a frequency change. We then called BOS Appr who then told us to contact Tower on the Skyways frequency 128.8. I stated the route I wanted to fly (which I learned was important to have by reading the posts here) and they cleared us in, gave us a squawk code, and was told to fly in at 1500'. We were to report when we were on our outbound leg from Bravo.

    That was pretty much it. I'm pretty sure the general lack of traffic made things easier as did the perfectly calm winds and smooth air. Flying so close and so low over the city was actually a bit claustrophobic. Landmarks were zooming by below even at just 100kts. Even at about 5-6 miles from BOS it looked enormous.

    After leaving Bravo we circled OWD (field elev 49) to find the field half flooded from the rain this week. All in all just a quick one hour loop, but so many interesting things seen.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2010
  13. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    With an altitude of 1500 feet, I hope your route allowed you to stay at least 2000 feet horizontally from the 920 and 701 MSL structures marked on the chart.