Trying to navigate (VFR) the north Florida morass...

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Exocetid, Mar 5, 2010.

  1. Exocetid

    Exocetid Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hello all--

    I am planning a trip to Southwest Florida next week from Southeast Texas. My flight plan is just VFR direct to Marianna Muni, where I will rest, pee, refuel (not necessarily in that order) before continuing on down. My plan takes me straight through "A-292" an alert area near Eaglin. When I ask the AOPA Flight Planner for info, it shows two different altitudes:

    0 AGL - 3000 MSL
    0 AGL - FL175 MSL

    The first is no sweat since I'll be cruising at 11,500, but the second one is a no-go. If I have Flight Following will they route me around any forbidden areas? How do I know if they're forbidden or not? I am a bit confused about all the cross-hatched areas that quilt north Florida.
     
  2. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    In more flights through the Florida panhandle than I can count, I always got flight following, and launched. The controllers out there, especially Eglin and Cairns, are Most Very Excellent - they'll tell you where they want you to go.
     
  3. Exocetid

    Exocetid Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Thank you very much! Puts my mind at ease.
     
  4. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Keep in mind that they may help you on flight following, but they certainly aren't required to. If you do happen to wander into prohibited space you'll be solely responsible.

    Now if you specifically ask them about the status of certain airspace and they provide they with invalid data you'll at least have a defense should something unpleasant take place.

    Controllers can forget you on flight following. I've had it happen more times then I have fingers.

    If you want a guarantee of separation from the prohibited airspace you'll have to be IFR. Even then I still try to be aware.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  5. Steve

    Steve En-Route

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    For minimal stress just follow the Victor Airway (V-198) with Flight Following. That will keep you out of the Restricted areas. You'll be talking to Approach most if not all of the time east of GPT and they are not likely to lose track of you. Gulfport-Mobile-Pensacola-Cairns will talk you right through. If the MOA's are active you'll most likely be required to fly below 9000', possibly much lower.

    Keep a heads up as you traverse the panhandle. There's a good chance you'll get to see all manner of military hardware sharing the airspace. While in the Alert area most often seen are the trainers out of Whiting, often flying two ship formation.

    If you were going via Panama City I'd say use the VFR fly-way along the beach. Much more interesting scenery along there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
  6. DC34ME

    DC34ME Pre-takeoff checklist

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    At 11,500ft. past GPT you will be in Houston Center airspace IIRC. When you get past GPT ask Houston to call Jacksonville Center about the alert areas. Its a simple call that won't eat up their time. They can do a route read out on your track target and "suggest" a vector. Can't really tell you what to do VFR and all.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
  7. LT4247

    LT4247 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    We live and fly in the area and deal with the GA/FL MOAs year round. Pensacola, Eglin, Tyndal, and Carins are busy military airspace for sure. Houston and Jacksoville center will be your best friend flying here. I've been dropped from FF more than once by Eglin approach while in their airspace. They get real busy working the fast movers and radio traffic can be non stop. Point being is I wouldn't fly in or around these miliatry MOAs without talking with someone. If you get dropped or refused just ask Jax ctr for FF. They will try to send you right back to Eglin app. but tell them Eglin ain't happening. Jax will work you through and advise you of any restricted areas you may be on track to enter. Jacksonville is an excellent center.

    Carins approach on the East side of Eglin is very good and works Ft. Rucker and other training bases for helicopters which will include the little primary trainers through the AH64 Apache. Of course, most of this traffic will be low but you will see them all over. I am not looking at the N. FL airspace right now but pick a good altitude to get through and check on what's hot while you are still West. OR you could just go further North.

    Either way, you will be just fine as long as you keep your eyes and ears open.
     
  8. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    No such thing as "forbidden" with Alert areas. There is no restriction to either IFR or VFR flight with them. All you need do in an A-area is be alert for unusually high amounts of traffic -- no high-speed flight or aerobatics or weapons delivery or anything like that involved.
     
  9. Doggtyred

    Doggtyred En-Route

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    As one person pointed out, there are no restrictions associated with alert areas.

    If you go IFR they will route you around all active MOA's and R's..

    You CAN transit the coast VFR - get the sectional with the SUA blown up better detail.

    In any instance, talk to someone, and keep your head on a swivel.

    And if you want some really good food, drop in to Destin, rent a car and go to Fisherman's Wharf..
     
  10. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Also, before you go to Destin, check the fuel prices and ramp fees. ;-)
     
  11. LT4247

    LT4247 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's for sure! Usually only takes one time to learn that lesson...

    In case you do want to stop then try Pensacola instead and take the short ride over to the base and see the museum. It's the best and lots of good places to eat. Ferguson airport is close by and family owned. They will treat you right!
     
  12. N504JJ

    N504JJ Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm an approach controller at Cairns Approach. First, let me thank everyone for the very kind things you wrote about us at Cairns. Don't spend too much time worrying about the MOAs, Restricted, and Alert Areas in the part of the world. Victor 198 is a fairly straight and well-routed airway that will take you conveniently to the Marianna VORTAC, just southeast of the MAI airport. Eglin Approach will be more than happy to keep an eye on you with VFR Flight Following through their multitude of special use airspace. Likewise, we at Cairns will gladly work you into and out of MAI. The southern sector of Cairns is rarely overwhelmed and has plenty of time to work VFR pilots. The good news is that you will probably get to see some pretty groovy military trainers. Give some thought to stopping at BKK (Tri-County Regional) in Bonifay, FL. It is about 20 miles west of MAI and just north of V-198. The folks at the FBO are very welcoming. Have a great flight! Believe it or not, we're from the government and we're here to help.
     
  13. ScottM

    ScottM Taxi to Parking

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    You'll never get to work at the Chicago Tracon with that attitude! :D:D:D

    Welcome to PoA BTW!!!
     
  14. Larryo

    Larryo Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Dan,

    First of all, you guys do a great job, and I've never had a problem going thru your area, and you've always been helpful. A tribute, compared to some other facilities.

    But, one may never get to Cairns, if they follow the coast, and the controllers down there thru Eglin area and over toward Panama City are also very good. BUT, flight following is a MUST, and preferably file IFR.

    I will file NUN to PFN to PIE thru the warning areas and get it about half the time. If not, after PFN, I'll file to HEVVN then PIE, which works 95%, but occasionally I'll get routed further north, but rarely.

    BUT, bottom line, work with the approach controllers there... they're pretty good.
     
  15. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    Agreed about forbidden areas - go on through. Great idea to get FF though.

    I have to disagree about the "no high-speed flight", that's all relative. Slow for us is anything below 300 KIAS. There can be a lot of fast traffic, even out of the MOAs/W's/R's. Again, FF is great.

    I live in Pensacola and transit 292 daily, and go all the way east to Tyndall. 292 is used by NAS Pensacola and NAS Whiting, so it's pilot training and Nav training. Ditto about the controllers, I always get FF along the coast. Dan & Co at Cairns do great work.

    Have fun!
     
  16. N504JJ

    N504JJ Filing Flight Plan

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    Larry,

    You are exactly correct about the coastline being a prettier ride. The Air Force guys at Eglin and Tyndal do a fine job. No matter which route our VFR friend chooses, the special use airspace around here isn't as horrifying as the New Orleans sectional makes it appear.
    Next time you find yourself on a Cairns frequency, ask if I (DM) am working. I'll do my best to get you direct.

    CAVU,
    Dan
     
  17. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Dan:

    Didja ever read the Gordon Baxter column where he said that there oughta be a "Buy that man a bottle of scotch" code for exceptional controller assistance?

    It was in Cairns airspace when I got just that kind of help, on a day when I thought it would be more comfortable to fly under the clouds, than in or above them, from Montgomery to Tallahassee.

    When I was about halfway there, and the bases were lower than they were supposed to be (apparently, they were just higher in the immediate vicinity of airports!), and I saw tall towers in my future (and on the sectional), I asked if I could have a pop-up IFR clearance. Saint Controller asked me, "What altitude would you like?" When I answered, "How about seven thousand," he said, "Bonanza Niner Zero Three Victor is cleared to Tallahasse via direct, climb and maintain seven thousand."

    Like I said, nice folks out there. Something in the water, maybe...

    ...so to you and those like you, thanks!

    Oh, and welcome to PoA- stick around!
     
  18. mikegreen

    mikegreen Pre-takeoff checklist

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  19. ajstoner21

    ajstoner21 Cleared for Takeoff

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  20. Tailwinds

    Tailwinds Filing Flight Plan

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    Follow on question. Are controllers prohibited from giving VFR flight following if you transit an active warning area? I don't want to get in a discussion of the sensibilities or legalities of this, just what the controllers are allowed to do.
     
  21. Captain

    Captain Final Approach

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    If you happen to stop at Destin (recommend it) be advised its an uncontrolled field INSIDE class D airspace. Report on the CTAF but talk to tower first going both ways!
     
  22. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Interesting question, I've been both handled and dropped in hot MOAs. I'm not quite sure what the rules are. Might depend on who is handling you.:dunno: I'm interested in seeing an answer too.
     
  23. Captain

    Captain Final Approach

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    Depends on who owns the airspace. A controller can not give you services in airspace they don't own.
     
  24. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I'm also wondering if military or civilian controllers are under different rules for handling in a hot MOA. Military escapes liability, FAA doesn't. Even though they don't have to provide you services, if they do, they bear some liability.
     
  25. Tailwinds

    Tailwinds Filing Flight Plan

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    My question is for active Warning Areas. I always seem to have continuing service from ATC in hot MOA's.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015
  26. Seanaldinho

    Seanaldinho Pattern Altitude

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    Actually on departure you'll talk to Eglin Clearance (which I believe is actually in the radar facility since you won't talk to tower) unless you're staying in the pattern, in which case you don't have to talk to anyone. Clearance will give you a squawk (vfr or ifr) and a departure procedure, basically get south of the coastline and stay at or below 1000 feet, then you'll talk to approach who will have you proceed through the north south corridor or the east west corridor. On arrival, approach will have you report the field in sight and then change you to advisory.
     
  27. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Offshore warning areas are just that, Warning Areas, they don't have jurisdiction to impose more than that, and are basically treated by ATC the same a MOAs, except I can't recall being dropped in WA where as I have going into an MOA.
     
  28. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I prefer to fly the coast line route,it is well marked on the sectional,or in foreflight,hard to get into trouble on that route,if you want to be sure also get flight following.
     
  29. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Yep, that's pretty much what I do.
     
  30. EminiTrader

    EminiTrader Cleared for Takeoff

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    Review the special airspace they have for the Eglin area. Nowadays I just go IFR anyways through there but when I was not rated I always used F.F. and they've been extremely helpful. Should be a non issue.
     
  31. EvilEagle

    EvilEagle Cleared for Takeoff

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    They will definitely drop you like a bad habit if you go into the W-151 or 470 complex and it's hot. Ops tested to/from the Bahamas two weeks ago.
     
  32. rbridges

    rbridges En-Route

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    I don't recall them being excessive. I usually stop at destin jet but I believe the same person now owns both fbos.
     
  33. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This! As a former controller at Eglin you'll be talking w/ Eglin Approach so no need to call Eglin Tower. Departing Destin you are required to contact clearance at Eglin Approach to get a release to depart. Clearance will provide a heading to fly. The airway north of Eglin will keep you clear of the restricted areas (V198 I think) but you can also fly along the coast line. All the frequencies and corridors for that area are shown clearly on the sectional. Enjoy your flight!
     
  34. Pbtx0

    Pbtx0 Pre-Flight

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    I make pretty much this exact flight several times a year. In fact I'll be doing it tomorrow. If you haven't seen it check out seeandavoid.org. I use it to see what MOAs are hot or pending. I always fly IFR so I'd rather know earlier than later if I need to route around them. I usually talk to Ft Worth, Houston, Jacksonville, Cairns, and sometimes Eglin. All are really easy to deal with. I usually fly 7-9k heading east and usually don't have to do much in the way of routing around the MOAs
     
  35. jaybee

    jaybee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Negative, it is not an uncontrolled field. :nono:

    They just have a spec op for traffic remaining in the pattern.
     
  36. mkosmo

    mkosmo Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    So it's still just an uncontrolled field inside of a live delta? Still no big deal.
     
  37. Seanaldinho

    Seanaldinho Pattern Altitude

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    I can say for a fact its pretty uncontrolled :rofl:

    Flying into Destin on a holiday weekend or most any weekend during the summer its like the wild west once you get changed to advisory.
     
  38. jaybee

    jaybee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Technically - no. Big deal - no. The technical answer is SFAR 93 or "spec op"(so yea, "uncontrolled"). Either way, control tower is under construction as we speak. To clarify if needed, you cannot takeoff or land without a Clearance from Eglin, class D to the surface. Getting into and out of the pattern is left up to the pilots as defined in SFAR 93. So yes - picking nits but it isn't the same as "uncontrolled inside a D".

    That's a pilot issue not an airspace one :D

    Yea, it was pretty funny when I was circling the jetties giving helicopter tours only to have small airplanes to the west of me calling down wind for 32 :rofl: :goofy: (that's a set up for a 3 nautical mile base leg for those not familiar with the area)

    thats the best thing about helicopters, avoiding the flow and having a constant squawk though - I avoided fixed wingers like the plague :lol: I'm just glad I made it through 600 hours of Destin without a plank driver running me over !!!

    PS - I don't really care either way but my DPE took me to task for saying "uncontrolled in a D" but he was kind of a knob (learned to fly in the area)
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
  39. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Thanks for the link - www.seeandavoid.org
    Great resource -
     
  40. Seanaldinho

    Seanaldinho Pattern Altitude

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    Bob Burnette?

    And you don't need clearance to stay in the pattern.

    The whole straight to base thing is the biggest problem at DTS. You get a Citation wanting to cut corners by doing a right base to 14 (and calling it a straight in) and half a dozen other planes are in the pattern. Ive only had good experiences with the helo guys.