VP Waypoints on SFO Class Bravo boundaries

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Antonio DiPasquale, May 13, 2022.

  1. Antonio DiPasquale

    Antonio DiPasquale Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello All,

    First post! I had a question about the SFO Class Bravo boundaries. On the San Francisco TAC, there are a variety of VFR waypoints in the SF Bay Area that start with "VP" and are mostly associated with landmarks for pilotage. However, there is a second set of waypoints that start with "VPB" that are closely associated with and happen to lie on the intersection and inflection points of the SFO Class Bravo boundaries. I took a quick look at LAX, SAN and SEA and they do not have these "VPB" waypoints. So, my question is why does the SFO Class Bravo have these when other Class Bravo airports do not and what are they used for? Would a pilot actually load these "VPB" waypoints for navigation purposes or are they just well-determined "air-buoys" of sorts to be avoided for us bugsmashers?
     
  2. Qotile

    Qotile Pre-Flight

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    The SF Bravo was redesigned in 2018. The old design used DME distances and VOR radials. The new design utilizes GPS more. Some of the waypoints are used for the VFR flyways which were also revised/added in 2018. I would guess that as airspace is revised, we will see more GPS usage. SLC, for example, has lots of GPS waypoints to help navigate the transition routes like the “Barn Transition.”
     
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  3. Antonio DiPasquale

    Antonio DiPasquale Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks, this makes sense. I was able to find an image of the pre-redesigned SFO Bravo airspace and it was VOR/DME based. I am a little surprised they use the standard 5-letter waypoint fixes for these definition points, however, since they are unlikely to be used for navigation. I guess if there are additional redesigns in the future at other Bravos they will have to come up with some other scheme as that only gives 676 unique combinations (26*26) with the current "VPBXX" scheme.
     
  4. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Here’s the current ‘rules’ about it https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/foa_html/chap12_section_8.html
    Says nothing about reserving B as the third character, or any letter as the third, for any particular use. I think someone in on the design of SFO’s B just said hey, I got an idea and there were enough VPBaa’s available to do it. Who knows though, maybe they’re working on making it a thing elsewhere and will make it a ‘convention’ to use.

    EDIT: Uh oh. Hold on. See 12-8-3 a. 1. in that order
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2022
  5. Antonio DiPasquale

    Antonio DiPasquale Filing Flight Plan

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    I was just about to post that exception, which makes the use of the "VPBxx" nomenclature all the more interesting. Obviously, these are not formally VFR waypoints or checkpoints so technically would not be contrary to anything in 12-8-3. I wonder if there is a section somewhere describing the use of GPS in describing or notating airspace boundaries.
     
  6. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's possible that VP waypoints hadn't been invented yet when LAX, SAN, and SEA class B areas were last redesigned.

    I use them for navigation all the time when flying VFR. You just have to make sure that you're sufficiently below the class B floor at that corner. (I don't use them for IFR, because VP labels are not supposed to be referred to as such by ATC.)

    So according to that, they're not supposed to be used to define airspace boundaries. Maybe it will just be a temporary thing, to help avoid bravo busts while pilots are getting familiar with the reconfigured airspace.
     
  7. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    @John Collins . Is, or has, the Charting Group been working on something about this?
     
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  8. luvflyin

    luvflyin Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I’m getting the idea it isn’t temporary and might become a thing. Only downside I could see is more folk running the border with one wing in and one wing out instead of giving a little more space. If one sees that as a downside. Ya may wanna take a pic of your centered needle in case ATC’s Radar don’t agree with your position and they throw a hissy fit over it.
     
  9. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's why I make sure I'm well below the lowest of the floors adjacent to the fix.

    There was one VFR flight where ATC told me to fly right at the floor of the SEA class B. That made me very nervous!