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Um tower...um...um...


Witch
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Ok, so the XC to McMinnville was a bust because of weather, so we diverted to McNary Field (Salem). At 7 miles out, we contacted the tower and requested to land on the helipad. OK, no problem. While on downwind, Mike spoke with the tower saying something about patterns. The tower said ok for left pattern for the helipad. So we land.

 

It has been 20 years since I did anything at a controlled airport and I was about to tell the tower we were taking off to do the pattern, and asked Mike what to say. He said that we didn't need to talk to the tower because they had told us that we could do patterns and that they'll advise traffic of our presance. So I took off. About 10 seconds later, the tower says 'Helicopter 41J, cleared for the option'.

 

I responded '41J'

 

OK, so this happens a few times more during takeoff, and I'm wondering if we need to tell the tower we're taking off. I ask Mike, and this gets him to wondering too.

 

So, do we need to tell the tower we're taking off in the pattern, or just do what we did?

 

 

On another note, we went to Albany and after landing there Mike wanted to take his jacket off. We went to the ramp next to a fence. On the other side of the fence were people and a bunch of trailers and horse trailers. I noticed that while Mike got out and took his jacket off, there were several people looking at us. This got me to thinking; do people generally look at us with inquiry or irritation? It's like the fire truck:men like the siren and lights, women don't like the siren and lights and worry about where the truck is going and if people are ok, etc...

 

Also, Mike does a great helicopter reporter. "Truck full of toilet paper overturns on the highway. People are stopping to wipe." :D

 

Later

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Used to do patterns in controlled airspace all the time. It really isn't necessary to tell them everytime. They know where you're at. If you want to talk to them everytime just tell them your "on the go" or that you will call "on the go" from here on out. You can even freestyle a little "departing pad".....

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Depends upon the airport and how much traffic they have. Some towers want you to inform them of every move. Some have a standard practice concerning helicopters. If they ask you "are you familiar" when you request permission to land, they are usually a bit more forgiving where helicopters are concerned. Don't tell them that you are familiar if you don't know their procedures for helicopters. After a few times in their airspace you'll become familiar and they'll allow you some leeway. Again, it all comes down to avoiding the flow of fixed wing traffic. If you keep your head down and avoid the flow they won't take a swipe at the pesky mosquito, but if you get in their face they may swat you down.

Have fun.

bossman

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Don't some airports / towerrs get awarded financial assistance based on the number of aircraft handled each day? At KOMN we call on the go each time, this counts as an aircraft being handled by ATC and increases the number of aricraft handled each day.

 

Paul

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If I read what you said correctly, it strikes me that your CFI made a mistake. UNLESS, your initial landing clearance were for the option. I guess it wasn't, though, because the tower cleared you for the option AFTER you had started to depart. He might just as well given you an 800 number to call instead, for departing without a clearance. Instead, he helped you out (they don't always want to do that!).

 

It would have been better practice, I think, to have asked the tower for the option before landing or coming to a hover. If he cleared you for the option at that point, then you would not need to get a departure clearance to do a stop and go. I would advise though, that you inform the tower, as someone else suggested, that you are on the go in case he's not looking at you.

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According to the FAA, "The 'Cleared for the Option' procedure will permit an instructor pilot/flight examiner/pilot the option to make a touch-and-go, low approach, missed approach, stop- and-go, or full stop landing. This procedure will only be used at those locations with an operational control tower and will be subject to ATC approval."

 

That means you can take off again without making a request or even reporting "on the go." You still need clearance for the approach, however.

 

Hope this helps.

 

SkyFocal

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Short answer - it depends...

 

Every towered airport will have a different way of handling helicopters. If you are operating in the pattern (meaning using a runway), you will always need a clearance to land. Depending on what your landing clearance is, you may need a clearance to take off subsequently. There may be times where there is no inbound or local traffic - the tower may clear you for continuous operations until further notice.

 

When you are operating from somewhere other than a runway (taxiway, helipad, practice area), you still need to get tower permission to fly, but depending on where you are flying in relation to the traffic pattern, they may again clear you for continuous operation within certain bounds, like "south of taxiway Bravo, west of taxiway Echo".

 

You can never take anything for granted - best is to let the tower know what you plan to do, and tell them if you plan to do something markedly different.

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I ran into the same problem in the Gulf flying out of a TRSA and with all the radio calls. After many years of flying in uncontrolled airspace it takes time to get back into the swing. Otherwise you spend a lot of time behind the aircraft with all the things that are going on. Unfortunately I don't have that problem any more since I developed some kind of inner ear thing that nobody knows what the heck it is. So my career may be over.

 

Anyone have career suggestions for an old, grounded, washed up pilot? :unsure:

 

Keep working on it and ask questions, it will come back. :D

 

Gary

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I always just request a "take off and land" to the tower. We have an area of taxi way for autos and stuff. Busy place and tower always lets us know if we need to extend our downwind for traffic or whatever. My Instructor has said you dont have to say anything, but I always do regardless.....it cant hurt right?

If you want to do pattern work you can always request a "closed pattern" and usually tower will let you take off and land at your discretion. Although depending on location they still may request you call your base leg. It is all clearly dependent on who is in tower and the amount of traffic at the location. When in doubt it never hurts and it is better to give too much information than too little and everyone in the area will also have a clear picture of your intentions.

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Albany Oregon, now there is a blast from the past. I learned to fly helicopters there back in 1982. As for the Tower business, Being cleard for the option, means you can land and stop, do a go around and come around again, or as we old airplane pilots would say touch and go. Sounds like you had a great day. I did all my approaches for an Helicopter Instrument rating with exception of a Vor at Salem, had to go over to Corvalis for that. The last time I was in that part of the world, they place had really changed.

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I talked to one of the airplane guys and he was saying the same thing you guys are. I just remember it differently from 20 years ago. Either that or I have old timers disease.

 

Later

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I think it's dependent on what the airport wants you to do. We are based at Chandler (KCHD) under D airspace. Taxiway C is pretty much ours most of the time and we have a "charlie pattern" that is inside the fixed wing pattern. Now, when inbound, if we're clear for the option, it means we're alone on the taxiway and can do pretty much as we please. Cleared touch and go means there are more than one of us in the pattern and we shouldn't doddle on the surface. In either case, we don't call on the go, and we do receive a clearance (cleared or option or touch and go, normally on downwind) during each patten. Traffic spacing is our responsibility and the only communication besides clearance is if there is a change in the pattern, example 180 auto pattern, new aircraft joining the pattern, departing the pattern.

 

Now, if we fly just a few miles away to Gateway (KIWA), they make a point of telling us "Please report on the go each time." It doesn't mean we have to request that we're on the go, just that once we get on the go, we let them know.

 

Basically it boils down to telling them where you are at the airport and what you want to do. If you request closed traffic, then they know you'll be doing patterns and if this is standard practice for them they might not require any more input from you. If you want maneuvering on a taxiway or turf area, they assume you'll be staying there and don't need to know any more until you decide to leave there. The less experience a controller has with helicopters, or helicopters with the particular airport, the more radio work is going to be required.

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Based exactly on what you described (and not discounting local procedures which I don't know about) here's what I think.

 

You were not cleared to takeoff. However, if you were 'cleared for the option' prior to landing (although you didn't specify this in your post) you were then permitted to do any of the following: touch-and-go, missed approach, low approach, stop-and-go, or full stop landing.

 

That 'stop-and-go' is pertinent. This permits you to 'land, make a complete stop on the runway, and then commence a takeoff from that point.'

 

Note, this does not specify a time for the stop. After a stop-and-go you don't need to get a clearance to depart again. However, you still need a clearance to land (or approach) unless 'continuous closed traffic' operations have been negotiated with the tower in advance, or there is a local agreement to which you are working.

 

Hence the reason why the controller then subsequently 'Cleared you for the option' again.

 

As mentioned, some controllers may clear you to 'take off and land' in which case you are permitted to complete your pattern to a full stop landing. In this case, you are not authorised for continued flight after the intended landing point and therefore must call any 'go-around' procdedure as usual.

 

Others may request you report your position, say when on downwind or when turning base. These do not constitute a landing clearance, which still must be received.

 

'On the go' is a call often used from a non-runway spot (or non-movement area) to denote that you wish to fly again. From these situations, a controller will not normally 'clear you for takeoff' a term normally reserved for runway operations or operations which invovle transiting the local airpsace (as opposed to closed traffic from a non-runway position.). Again, a landing clearance is still required. In some cases you may use 'on the go' from a runway, but this is normally by prior agreement.

 

UNLESS there is an agreed procedure which states not to OR UNLESS cleared for the option, I would still call 'on the go' each time before getting airborne. But that's my opinion.

 

As to your reply to when he cleared you for the option, I would have replied in full to the clearance.

 

"Helicopter 41J, cleared for the option"

 

"Cleared for the option, 41J"

 

This is because I believe that the 'option' is a runway clearance and therefore deserves the same treatement as a 'landing clearance'. Again, my opinion.

 

 

 

Joker

Edited by joker
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He doesn't mention what class of airspace he's flying in.

I listen the my local tower freq, which is in class B airspace and from what i heard is they have given permission for T & G's and stop and take off's no option has ever been mentioned here.

maybe with a class C airspace they can do that? :blink:

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He doesn't mention what class of airspace he's flying in.

I listen the my local tower freq, which is in class B airspace and from what i heard is they have given permission for T & G's and stop and take off's no option has ever been mentioned here.

maybe with a class C airspace they can do that? :blink:

 

Class B is probably too busy for the option. I also fly out of CHD and we do repeat back the "cleared for the option" since it is a clearance. I seriously doubt our local class B (Phoenix) would ever clear the option.

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Ok, so the XC to McMinnville was a bust because of weather, so we diverted to McNary Field (Salem). At 7 miles out, we contacted the tower and requested to land on the helipad. OK, no problem. While on downwind, Mike spoke with the tower saying something about patterns. The tower said ok for left pattern for the helipad. So we land.

 

It sounds as if you're a little unclear as to the details of the conversation betweeen Mike and the tower. The tower may have given "cleared for the option" instead of "cleared to land", in which case you can take off again without further clearance.

 

As for the last part of what you wrote, people find helicopters fascinating. You'll find that no matter where you go, you'll almost always have at least one person watching your every move. I still do that myself. :D

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Oops, sorry. McNary is class D :D

 

Going to try McMinnville again this Friday. I get to see the Hughes Flying Boat.

 

Later

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He doesn't mention what class of airspace he's flying in.

I listen the my local tower freq, which is in class B airspace and from what i heard is they have given permission for T & G's and stop and take off's no option has ever been mentioned here.

maybe with a class C airspace they can do that? :blink:

 

 

ok so now I get to eat crow on the option statement.

 

at 6:30PM a pilot called in for the option, bout fell off my chair :wacko: :blink:

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  • 2 months later...
I always just request a "take off and land" to the tower. We have an area of taxi way for autos and stuff. Busy place and tower always lets us know if we need to extend our downwind for traffic or whatever. My Instructor has said you dont have to say anything, but I always do regardless.....it cant hurt right?

 

I agree, some communication is better than no communication. I always made my calls "on the go" unless the tower specifically told me no need to report. Also I would report on final if they have'nt cleared me for touch and go's or the option. The tower has people in it and they are not perfect, if you get into a busy airport they may lose track of you for a minute. It's better to be safe than sorry.

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During "cleared for the option" operations, the Class C & D airports in the LA area usually want you to call when "downwind abeam" so they can give you clearance to land or extend downwind..there is no reason to call when on the go...in fact, most controllers find it irritating...and when I do call they reply " I already cleared you for the option"..

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