Objective: In this unit, you will develop the knowledge and skill to request a transition through Class D airspace from the Class D tower.
Completion Standards: You have completed this unit when you can:
- Depart an uncontrolled airport.
- Obtain a transition through Class D airspace.
- Fly to and land at your destination airport.
Use the Los Angeles Sectional and a plotter (or SkyVector) to determine the route and distance from Lompoc (KLPC) to Ocean Co (L52).
Determine the appropriate VFR cruising altitude for the flight. Click here for a reminder on how to apply the VFR cruising altitude rule..
Determine checkpoints to help you keep the aircraft on your selected course.
Determine the amount of time it will take to fly from KLPC to L52.
Determine when you will descend (top of descent).
Determine the traffic pattern entry route.
There will be times when you are flying between two airports where the distance is short enough that it does not justify climbing to a high cruise altitude, but there is airspace between your departure and destination. You’re options include going around, going over, or through. Going through is typically the most efficient option. There are two ATC communication options for transitioning airspace:
- If you are not already obtaining traffic advisories from ATC, contact the the tower approximately 5 miles from the airspace boundary and request a transition.
- If you already have traffic advisory service, no further request is necessary unless you desire to transition through Class B airspace. If your route and altitude are such that they will cause a conflict with operations at the Class C/D airport, ATC will instruct you to fly a vector or altitude that prevents the conflict. You do not need to contact the tower unless instructed to by ATC. Typically, the top 500 ft of Class D airspace and outer shelves of Class C and B airspace is controlled is controlled by approach control, and the only the surface area is controlled by the tower.
In this lesson, you will not already have traffic advisories, and will contact the tower to request the transition.
After departing Lompoc and flying north along Highway 101, contact Santa Maria tower and request a transition.
Santa Maria Tower, Cessna 123AB is 10 miles south of the airport at 2,500, request transition through your airspace to the north.
You will likely hear:
Cessna 123AB, Santa Maria Tower, transition approved, Santa Maria altimeter 29.96.
That’s it! If operations are such that an altitude or heading instruction are needed, that will be typically included in the transition approval. You may also receive traffic advisories while you are transitioning through the airspace.
Once you are clear of the Santa Maria Delta airspace you are free to switch frequencies. You do not need to request this unless you are still in the Class Delta airspace. The tower may also transmit ‘
Frequency Change Approved‘ even if you are still in the airspace, if in their judgement there is no traffic that would present a conflict.
Examine Lompoc (KLPC) and Oceano Co (L52) airports on the Los Angeles Sectional chart and Southwest US A/FD and answer these question below.
Hover over the question to check your answer. If you were not correct, please references the resources below
Obtain the METAR for Lompoc (KLPC). As Oceano Co does not have an AWOS, use the closest airport, Santa Maria, which has both a METAR and TAF. Look these up at http://www.aviationweather.gov.
Aviation weather products use abbreviations to communicate a lot of information in a small format. You can study this guide to interpret METAR and AWOS report.
- Console: Ensure Panel Master switch is on, throttle is at idle and mixture is rich.
- Launch Microsoft Flight Simulator.
- Select ‘Cessna 172 – KLPC – North Ramp’ flight file.
- Launch PilotEdge and connect to the PilotEdge network.
- Obtain the Lompoc AWOS in the simulator; enter the Lompoc AWOS into the Comm 1 radio and switch it to the active frequency. Determine the runway to be used based upon the reported winds.
- Enter the Lompoc CTAF into the Comm 1 Radio, make a taxi announcement and taxi to the runway.
- Perform run-up, review your cross country flight plan, and enter Santa Maria Tower into the standby frequency of the Comm 1 radio.
- Perform collision avoidance scan, make a takeoff announcement and enter the runway for departure.
- After departing the traffic pattern, fly east to avoid R-2516, turn on course and continue to climb to your cruise altitude of 2500.
- Identify your preselected checkpoints.
- When approximately 10 miles from Santa Maria airport, switch frequencies to Santa Maria Tower.
- Contact Santa Maria Tower and request a transition through the Santa Maria Delta airspace.
- Continue to fly your plan, identify your checkpoints, and respond to ATC traffic advisories.
- Descend for Oceano Co, request a frequency change from Santa Maria Tower if still in Class Delta, switch the Ocean Co CTAF and make self-announcements.
- Enter the traffic pattern, make all self-announcements, land and exit the runway.
Reflect on the sequences of communication needed to obtain a transition through Class Delta airspace.