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"Cleared into Class Bravo"

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I fly in and out of Class B multiple times every day. Out of the last 100 times I have heard those famous words "you are cleared into class Bravo" MAYBE 15 times. Well today I got the "copy a number and call the tower on the ground" call.

I called the tower and talked to the supervisor, we know each other and had a chat. I told him that the clearance practice is not followed 80% of the time. He said he would talk to his controllers.

Well the moral of the story. I did not get in trouble, BUT; just because the controller does not follow the rules does not mean you don't have to follow them.

So in the future I will deny any clearance that does not say "YOU ARE CLEARED INTO CLASS BRAVO"

Just a little heads up... No harm no foul...

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I have never NOT heard the words "cleared into the class bravo airspace". Probably something that

should have been cleared up long ago. A least they didn't bust you. You're lucky. D even C, you'd

probably get a pass. What bravo is it? I think the controllers need to be dealt with also. But you're

the one who would get violated.

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Just want to add to my previous post. Why would you enter bravo airspace when you have not been

specifically authorized? I can't imagine entering without a clearance. To student pilots out there:

if you're not sure if you have clearance, ASK the controller to reverify. I knew a guy who busted by

having his DME set to the wrong frequency while doing IFR work. They had to divert airliners around

him until he left. He was in deep sh*t. I still don't understand how you busted. What did they tell you

that would make you think you had a clearance when you didn't? 80% of the time they allow aircraft

into the bravo without giving them clearance? Doesn't seem like the whole (or actual) story.

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As I said in my post:

I fly in and out of Bravo multiple times each day.

The controllers and I are very comfortable with each other. As a helicopter, I have a LOA and special flight paths.

My post is just heads up info.

Don't take the controllers clearance for granted, That's all...

The very typical clearence I recieve is "Altimeter, at or below and heading; good morning"

Again just a heads up...

Edited by sky2

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Only Class Bravo in Utah is SLC. I've flown there a bunch of times and been cleared each time. When I flew for some aerial work for the Gumball Rally over the airport last year they seemed very professional.

 

Even in Vegas, I usually get cleared into Bravo before they even say "Radar Contact" depending on how busy it is out there. I don't think I have ever heard them NOT say "Cleared into class Bravo".

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As I said in my post:

I fly in and out of Bravo multiple times each day.

The controllers and I are very comfortable with each other. As a helicopter, I have a LOA and special flight paths.

My post is just heads up info.

Don't take the controllers clearance for granted, That's all...

The very typical clearence I recieve is "Altimeter, at or below and heading; good morning"

Again just a heads up...

 

You consider "Altimiter, at or below and heading. good morning" a clearance? The regs are very

clear that you may not enter bravo airspace unless you are told specifically you are cleared. It

sounds like you are confusing "establishing radio contact" with a clearance. Not the same thing!

Also, what the heck is a LOA? And what does that and special flight paths have to do with clearance?

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Sorry, I have just one more comment. You said the controller is not follow the rules by not clearing

you into the bravo. How would you explain that if you got violated? "He/she didn't give me clearance,

but I entered the airspace anyway, not my fault". Like I said before, your lucky if you did this 85 odd

times. It's actually hard to believe.

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I fly in and out of Class B multiple times every day. Out of the last 100 times I have heard those famous words "you are cleared into class Bravo" MAYBE 15 times. Well today I got the "copy a number and call the tower on the ground" call.

I called the tower and talked to the supervisor, we know each other and had a chat. I told him that the clearance practice is not followed 80% of the time. He said he would talk to his controllers.

Well the moral of the story. I did not get in trouble, BUT; just because the controller does not follow the rules does not mean you don't have to follow them.

So in the future I will deny any clearance that does not say "YOU ARE CLEARED INTO CLASS BRAVO"

Just a little heads up... No harm no foul...

 

I run into that same problem almost every day in Orlando, specifically in the Sanford area which is Class C and Class B above it... The most common situation is that the controller gives us a heading or altitude that goes straight into the class B. When I ask them to clarify the clearance into class bravo, they seem irritated.

 

I'm not sure if the assignment of a vector absolves the requirement to say "cleared into class bravo." I do know that when they give you headings and altitudes (a vector), the controller accepts responsibility for terrain avoidance, so perhaps the responsibility for Class B airspace penetration is similar. On the other hand, if you're navigating on your own, you should need to hear "cleared into class Bravo" because the controller can reasonably expect you to stay out of his/her Class B.

 

The "LOA" that helonorth asked about is a letter of agreement. It's an agreement that an ATC facility can make with another facility, FSS, airport management, or a commercial operator. The LOA will spell out the terms of the agreement. Most large airports with huge flight schools use LOAs for standardized VFR departures to quickly get to and from practice areas. It's not uncommon for skydiving operations to have them either so they don't have to get a new squawk code on each flight. I would imagine that the LOA would specify the verbage you should be using, and whether or not you need to get a discrete clearance into Class B each and every time.

 

Here's an example of one LOA I am familiar with at the Olrando-Sanford Airport (SFB) for helicopters... This is a class C airport, so it saves me from calling clearance delivery, ground control, and having to deal with radar services. For departures I can directly call the tower and ask for an "eastbound departure with atis _____" When I use that LOA, it is MY responsibility to know that I have to stay south of a certain runway centerline, and I can't go above 500' MSL until i'm 5 miles east. I don't have to report clear of class C airspace or request a frequency change from the tower.

 

In sky2's case, I would assume that all it takes to use your LOA would be to use a particular callsign. I'm assuming you're flying SKY2... If you call up and say N123AB, they're not going to associate you with the LOA, but if you say "Sky 2," they should know what your intentions are.

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I've had exactly the same experience as above, only in the Miami Bravo. The controller, who is naturally busy, gives a vector which will take me into the Class B. I have to ask for the clearance, because until I hear those magic words, I am NOT cleared. Vectors DO NOT provide a Class B clearance, and if you're not on an IFR flight plan, you had better refuse the vector until you have the clearance. And yes, I've heard some irritation in the response, but it's my ticket, and I'm not giving it up just for the sake of not irritating a controller.

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Thanks for the support.

I kind of felt like the sharp shooters had me in their sights on this forum.

I was just giving a REAL world situation that may develop a trap for someone someday.

With over 10,000 hours and no violations; I feel confident that I would not have been violated under this case. Believe me, I understand the regs, but under this situation one controllers calls vs another is where the trap is set...

The tapes of the controllers would have saved me with the fed attorneys (knock on wood); YES me in the wrong, BUT...

 

Just trying to keep the faith and pass along a small experience for all of us to put in our bag of knowledge.

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Just want to add to my previous post. Why would you enter bravo airspace when you have not been

specifically authorized? I can't imagine entering without a clearance. To student pilots out there:

if you're not sure if you have clearance, ASK the controller to reverify. I knew a guy who busted by

having his DME set to the wrong frequency while doing IFR work. They had to divert airliners around

him until he left. He was in deep sh*t. I still don't understand how you busted. What did they tell you

that would make you think you had a clearance when you didn't? 80% of the time they allow aircraft

into the bravo without giving them clearance? Doesn't seem like the whole (or actual) story.

 

"Doesn't sound like the whole (or actual) story." As one who has flown 6,000 hours in or near one particular class B surface area I can tell you that I don't doubt that this was the actual story. After conducting thousands of flights in the same class B the controllers and pilots get to know each other. I get a "cleared as requested, remain east of eighteen left" response with some frequency. Have I heard "cleared to enter class B?" No, but I know each of the controllers and they know me. Would I do this if I was not using my assigned call sign and transponder code? No, I would not and do not. There is a time saving thing going on a lot of times, because the controllers are just swamped and don't have enough time to even take a breath between transmissions. I think the point that the original poster was making was don't get lulled into a false sense of security by past practice. Just when you figure everyone is on the same page you get a controller that just moved into the class B you are operating out of or one that has a burr up his or her behind that particular day and the next thing you know you are making a phone call (and no I have not had to make one of those pleasant calls, knock on wood). And yes, the regs are very clear on this issue as they are on most other issues. Does this happen? Yes it does with some frequency. Fly around class B enough and you will hear it happen. A simple "confirming cleared to enter class B?" will usually suffice, but get that same controller having a bad hair day when it is busy and you might find yourself in the 'penalty box' taking a time out ('911PapaSierra--aka poor schmuck---remain clear of class B and standby', hopefully you won't burn more than 10-15 minutes of fuel before the controller gets back with you).

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OK a lot of posts here by people who haven't actually got it quite right.

 

SKY2 - Thanks for sharing your experience. This discussion might just help others from getting that 'phone number' from ATC. The problem is, that I couldn't actually tell what exactly you did say to get that phone number?

 

Helonorth - For someone so confident about the subject I'm surprised you ask what an LOA is. For information, it is a 'Letter of Agreement'. This is a supplementary agreement on operating procedures. It is essentially supplemental to the regulations, so long as any conditions in the agreement are met.

 

Everyone - 91.131 specifically says "a clearance is required". So as a pilot, if you don't get a clearance, but enter anyway of course you run the risk of violation. That is regardless of how well you know the controller, or how many times a day / week / year you make that flight.

 

KeysCapt - You assert that a vector is NOT a clearance. Can you provide me a source for this confidence? Here's my reasoning, but I may be wrong. The numbers of the paragraphs refer to the progression of my research in this matter. Just for interest.

 

1 - I stress, I haven't found any confirming information, but I would say that if a controller gives you a vector through his airspace, this is a clearance. Why? Well, if you are still outside his airspace, then he doesn't have jurisdiction to vector you!!!! Simple! So by giving you a vector he is accepting you. Duh! Don't quote me though. I will continue to check this out. Additionally, we have a duty to comply with 91.123 The wording of this rule is ambiguous to me. However it does suggest that clearances and instructions carry similar authority. I have heard of this being successfully argued at a hearing for exactly the subject we are talking about. Account of succssfull case

 

2 - Upon further research, I have only found one semi-official (ok, more official than me!) document. That is the document 'Airspace for Everyone' by AOPA. In this document it states that, "A heading, altitude or transponder assignment is NOT a clearance to enter class B." AOPA are not an official body by any means and I am still not completely satisfied with that as a final answer. Need to find case law.

 

3 - Even further research found this extract of a document (Everything Explained for the Professional Pilot Book). Again, not official, but at least highlights the confusion. Similar reasoning as I already put above.

 

Do you have to hear the words “Cleared into Class B”???

1. If you can get a word in edgewise, always ask for confirmation, just to get it on the tape.

2. But if you’ve been radar identified; and given a heading/altitude assignment that will put you in the Class B;

and you cannot get through the radio clutter to get a Class B clearance confirmation — stay on the assigned

heading [91.123(a) When an ATC clearance has been obtained, no pilot in command may deviate from that

clearance. 91.123(B) Except in an emergency, no person may operate an aircraft contrary to an ATC

instruction...]. The formal words “Cleared into Class B” are moot (although it sure is comforting to hear those words).

3. 91.131 [Operations in Class B airspace] (a)(1) — “The operator must receive an ATC clearance from the ATC

facility having jurisdiction for that area before operating an aircraft in that area.”

It does NOT say — “The operator must HEAR the WORDS ‘Cleared into Class B’...”

 

My position is tending towards 1 above. I stress again 91.131 - This says simply, 'The operator must receive an ATC clearance before operating your aircraft in that area.' A heading assignment or altitude assignment is actually a clearance, isn't it? So this must suffice. I also stress that this is just my opinion at the moment.

 

 

IN ANY CASE - If unsure whether the controller has cleared you, then a simple, "Confirm cleared to enter Class B?" will suffice. A direct reply to this question is good enough.

 

We talk about those 'magic words'. Let's be clear that, while these are normally what we would like to hear, it is not the only way you can be cleared.

 

Take this exchange:

 

You: Orlando Approach, N32423 10 miles east of XYZ, level 2400' request transition class B direct to ABC.

Controller: N32423, Cleared as requested.

 

This is a clearance too!

 

This seen in the docuement 7110.65. For those who don't know 7110.65, think of it as a 'controllers' guidelines and rules of conduct. It tells the controllers what to say, and how to control.

 

It is always good to know this document (almost as much as the FARs). Then whenever you get a cranky controller, you can quote that document back to them.

 

"Sir, according to 7110.65, Paragraph 7-9-2, you are required to use the standard phraseology and either clear me yourself or approve my request for clearance, SIR!"

 

This will usually shut them up. Use this sort of thing wisely though. The last thing they like is a wise-ass vfr pilot, and its use may have the opposite effect!

 

Here's the text from that paragraph.

 

7-9-2. VFR AIRCRAFT IN CLASS B AIRSPACE

 

a. VFR aircraft must obtain an ATC clearance to operate in Class B airspace.

 

REFERENCE-

FAAO 7110.65, Operational Requests, Para 2-1-18.

FAAO 7110.65, Airspace Classes, Para 2-4-22.

 

PHRASEOLOGY-

CLEARED THROUGH/TO ENTER/OUT OF BRAVO AIRSPACE,

 

and as appropriate,

 

VIA (route). MAINTAIN (altitude) WHILE IN BRAVO AIRSPACE.

 

or

 

CLEARED AS REQUESTED.

 

(Additional instructions, as necessary.)

 

REMAIN OUTSIDE BRAVO AIRSPACE. (When necessary, reason and/or additional instructions.)

 

NOTE-

1. Assignment of radar headings, routes, or altitudes is based on the provision that a pilot operating in accordance with VFR is expected to advise ATC if compliance will cause violation of any part of the CFR.

 

2. Separation and sequencing for VFR aircraft is dependent upon radar. Efforts should be made to segregate VFR traffic from IFR traffic flows when a radar outage occurs.

 

b. Approve/deny requests from VFR aircraft to operate in Class B airspace based on workload, operational limitations and traffic conditions.

 

c. Inform the pilot when to expect further clearance when VFR aircraft are held either inside or outside Class B airspace.

 

d. Inform VFR aircraft when leaving Class B airspace.

 

PHRASEOLOGY-

LEAVING (name) BRAVO AIRSPACE,

 

and as appropriate,

 

RESUME OWN NAVIGATION, REMAIN THIS FREQUENCY FOR TRAFFIC ADVISORIES, RADAR SERVICE TERMINATED, SQUAWK ONE TWO ZERO ZERO

 

Lastly, remember that while you have every right to request flight into Class B (assuming you satisfy the requirements), it s Class B for a specific reason - its busy. The traffic density, traffic type, airport size and number are reasons why this area is Class B. For that reason, if possible, then why not avoid the area. Of course if your destination is completely the opposite side then yes, it would not make sense to circumvent, but say you only need to cross at an angle that just clips the area by say 4 miles. Why not just go around or under? Similarly, there are often VFR corridors and preferred routings. (yes, the backside of the terminal charts). Use these where possible. Also, filing a flight plan early will help you get your clearance. Make your call early to give the controller time to plan your entry. Be bold on the radio (put some bass into your voice).

 

All these will help you get your request without any problem.

 

I hope this may help.

 

Joker

Edited by joker
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All I know for sure is that I have to hear "cleared into the Class Bravo" or something very similar before I enter. I was heading into the DFW Class B last night, and didn't hear a clearance, and when I was getting very close I called and asked if I was cleared into the Class B. The controller said "Oh, I still haven't picked up your transponder." As I was turning away from the Class B, with a patient on board but no clearance, he finally gave me radar contact and a clearance into the Class B. I don't care if the controller gets irritated, or if he knows me, or about anything else - I ain't going into any Class B airspace without hearing a specific clearance, no matter what. I do not need a violation, and you can get one in a heartbeat by entering without a clearance. If I don't get a clearance, I ask if I have one, and I either get one or something else. The controller knows very well that (s)he has to give me one before I can legally enter.

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Gomer Pylot,

 

I sense in your last post a hesitation to either concur or disagree with my points 1 & 3 above. As someone whose posts I respect, I think this illustrates a confusion that even we so called 'experienced' pilots have on this topic. In your personal example, had you been given a heading or altitude assignment prior to you callilng him?

 

Everyone,

 

I must admit I have been unable to find authoritative confirmation on this, and so accept that I could be totally wrong! I've tried to be open about this all along.

 

That now said, I think Gomer's post flirts round the edge of the topic in question (heading / altitude assignments).

 

Anyway, here's what we all agree:

 

-There is no question that a clearance is required before entering. That is clearly stated in 91.131

-Also, if you do not have a clearance and continue in to Class B, then you are both foolish and open to a violation hearing.

-We all agree that if in doubt of your clearance the onus is on you, the pilot to seek clarification.

-Lastly, we are agreed that the controller's use of the phrase, "You are cleared to enter...blah…blah…blah" as per my example 7110.65, Paragraph 7-9-2 above, makes no doubt as to whether a clearance has been received.

 

So what is the debate?

 

The operator must receive an ATC clearance from the ATC facility having jurisdiction for that area before operating an aircraft in that area.

"CLEARED THROUGH/TO ENTER/OUT OF BRAVO AIRSPACE"

 

I am querying the following.

 

A) That 'magic phrase' - Do we have to hear those words?

 

It has become tribal-voice that a pilot must hear that phrase before a clearance can be said to have been received. Quite clearly this is untrue. Nowhere in the FAR does it explicitly require the pilot to hear those words. If the magic words really are magic, I'm certain the FAR would include them somewhere. Indeed, 7110.65 even provides an alternate phrase. (Simply, "Cleared as requested.")

 

B) Is a heading / altitude / transponder assignment a clearance as required in 91.131

 

A good place to begin is to examine FAR 1.1 and the definition of the term Air Traffic clearance.

 

Air traffic clearance means an authorization by air traffic control, for the purpose of preventing collision between known aircraft, for an aircraft to proceed under specified traffic conditions within controlled airspace.

Given this definition, I think we must conclude here that a heading or altitude assignment (but NOT necessarily a squawk code) IS a clearance.

 

Next, let's just apply logic here.

 

1 - a controller can reasonably be expected to know whether a vector will cause an aircraft to penetrate his airspace before he gives it. In other words, if he gives an aircraft such a vector, he did so knowingly.

 

2 - a controller has no jurisdiction to control an aircraft outside his airspace.

 

3 - A vectored assignment must be a clearance as well. It must be absurd to conclude that when a controller gives any vector to the pilot, he is anything but cleared to comply as well! That is, he will not be impeded or in conflict with other traffic if he follows that instruction. For example, in IFR when instructed to turn left to 360, I don't then say," Confirm cleared to turn left to 360!"

 

4 – A controller will not provide radar service unless he has established and is able to maintain radar contact. 7110.65 Para 5-3-1.

 

Next 91.123 is considered.

 

This rule of course requires a pilot to comply with an air traffic clearance unless an emergency deviation is required.

 

Consider the title of this rule. Here 'clearance' and 'instruction' are mentioned. Apart from (B) the word 'instruction' is always mentioned with the word 'clearance'. Could this imply that an instruction carries the same weight as a clearance?

 

Now, if a heading assignment was not considered an appropriate 91.131 clearance as KeysCapt so strongly attests, then we could have a situation where a pilot must deviate from the ATC instructions to avoid Class B penetration. In that case he runs the risk of being cited for violation of 91.123. Either that or the pilot complies with the instruction and risks being cited for busting 91.131(a)!! This again is absurd.

 

By FAR definition, logic and by 91.123 (as detailed above) I am warming more to the notion that a heading or altitude assignment does constitute a clearance. Thus, if given a vector which would cause you to penetrate Class B airspace it is acceptable to do so without need for further clearance.

 

What this means for me and you?

 

I am first to admit that it was drilled into me that I must hear those magic words. I am first to admit I drilled this into my students. Maybe I even posted on this board messages to that very effect.

 

However, this thread has caused me to rethink. Again, I have no shame in doing so. That's part of learning.

 

We are all very quick to accuse ATC for doing things incorrectly. As I said before, it seems the magic words have become 'tribal-voice'. AOPA magazine, many experienced pilots, many experienced FAA inspectors and even some controllers alike, will argue 'till they are blue in the face that we must hear those magic words! Yet no one stopped to consider whether actually those controllers who we blamed for being lazy and not clearing people properly, are actually better at their job than we are, and maybe, just maybe it is us who were wrong.

 

If this is the case, I could understand a controller getting a little cranky when (while busy as hell with other traffic) a pilot smugly asks him for a clearance which he believes he has already made obvious (by passing the heading assignment).

 

In asking the question, my research tells me a couple of new things.

  • Those magic words are not required. Only a clearance is.
  • A clearance means more than I thought it did.

Again, I may be wrong, I accept that. However, for the moment, my evidence suggests that I need to reconsider my original understanding of this topic and 91.131.

 

If anyone can come up with a definitive ruling (preferably case law / FAA document) on this, then please do. Until then, make up your own mind.

At the end of the day, I have had fun trawling the internet, FAR and files. It refreshed me on a great deal of other stuff. I hope it got some others thinking too.

 

Cheers,

 

Joker

 

OK - All the usual disclaimers apply!

Edited by joker
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An interesting debate and I appreciate the poster for admitting to his error to get this started. However, it seems so much simpler to confirm clearance into Bravo rather than have to debate ATC or prove your case after getting called on the carpet.

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An interesting debate and I appreciate the poster for admitting to his error to get this started. However, it seems so much simpler to confirm clearance into Bravo rather than have to debate ATC or prove your case after getting called on the carpet.

 

Hi everyone,

 

I am an air traffic controller at Williams Gateway Tower in the Phoenix, AZ area. We are not class bravo, but I do a webpage to help pilots understand ATC better and vice versa, and was asked by a pilot to come on a clear up some stuff if I can. Although I don't know the in's and out's of the Bravo airspace, I do know there is one golden rule you should always follow. NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING. As stated a few times in here previously, it is your ticket. There are a lot of grumpy and annoyed Controllers out there who are just drawing a paycheck. They shortcut wherever they can, but if there is an issue, they're going to pin it on you, the pilot, as quickly as possible. I see it all the time. Approach control clears someone for a visual appproach to a bordering airport, doesn't tell the pilot to remain out of the bordering airspace, and doesn't coordinate for a point-out. Let me assure you in any situation, if there is a gray area, it will become YOUR fault. That doesn't make it right, just the fact. Do yourself a favor, always get clarification and never assume anything. Air traffic control was mean to be black and white. Not ambiguous. If you feel an instruction is gray, get a black and white answer.

 

www.myspace.com/dr_atc

 

John

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An interesting debate and I appreciate the poster for admitting to his error to get this started. However, it seems so much simpler to confirm clearance into Bravo rather than have to debate ATC or prove your case after getting called on the carpet.

 

Absolutely right.

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Joker,

I am familiar with a letter of agreement, but just didn't think it would give a pilot any special

privelages as far as entering bravo airspace without a clearance. I didn't bother to find out what

the acronym meant because I thought it irrelevant. I am glad the original poster brought this up

because anyone could get trapped. The bravo I used to fly in was always clear in that whenever

I made only made radio contact they would tell me to remain outside until cleared. Apparently, things

are different eslewhere. We had special routes we could fly, but they were inside the bravo. The

routes sky2 flies maybe originate outside? Well, we all know better now.

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An interesting debate and I appreciate the poster for admitting to his error to get this started. However, it seems so much simpler to confirm clearance into Bravo rather than have to debate ATC or prove your case after getting called on the carpet.

 

TenanciousT,

 

Thanks, TT, but I think that is a pretty lame and lazy answer of yours. Not actually very clever, although I'm sure you'll have a few sym'pathetic' rebels liking it! Its attitude like that that never gets this sort of misunderstanding resolved. Generations of pilots go by all thinking they need to hear the magic words, cluttering up airwaves and irritating controllers who believe they've already given the required clearance.

 

It says something about you, just as my post says something about me.

 

Let's just say, if there's a possibility I have something wrong, I'll look for how to correct it, and not happy until it is. My main motivation is to help others find the answer or at least provide food for thought if I don't. Hey, I don't even fly in the US, so this is of no practical benefit to me whatsoever. Yes, I also relish the intellectual challenge to find an answer, and it keeps me fresh. That's all I get out of putting the effort in.

 

On the other hand (maybe this is what you mean), at the moment, there is obviously an industry-wide misunderstanding on this issue. Going against the bandwagon may get you caught up, when you could just stick to what you know works and stay out of trouble. OK - fine. My thoughts; there are two sorts of people - passive recipients or reflective practitioners. That's all.

 

KeysCapt, thanks by the way for the intelligent contribution in Post 16 and providing the source I asked for in Post 12.

 

Helonorth,

 

Also, what the heck is a LOA? And what does that and special flight paths have to do with clearance?

 

I am familiar with a letter of agreement

 

Well, forgive me for thinking otherwise from your post above!

 

Anyway, now I know you already know all about LOAs ;) but for others, here's a link to some guidelines. There is a very good list of reasons why an LOA might be drawn up.

 

FAA Order 7210.3U Facility Operation and Administration - 4-3-1. LETTERS OF AGREEMENT

 

Check out in particular, (e), (i), and 4-3-2-(g)

 

4-3-1 A LOA shall be prepared when it is necessary to:

e. Specify special operating conditions or specific air traffic control procedures.

i. Define stereotyped flight plans used for special operations, such as training flights or flight test activities.

 

4-3-2 Examples of subjects of LOAs are:

g. Between an ARTCC or an approach control facility and a nonapproach control tower, an AFSS/FSS, an airport manager, or a local operator: Special VFR Operations. (See FIG 4-3-1.)

Am I being hard on you? Only as hard as you were on Sky2 (original poster.)

 

Joker

Edited by joker

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I have no hesitation. I don't give a rap what letters of agreement may or may not exist, nor do I care about having received a heading or altitude instruction. The only time I will ever enter Class B airspace without hearing "Cleared into the Class B" is if I'm on an IFR flight plan. IFR, the clearance is automatic. VFR, I have to hear the words. What you do is up to you. Your violation has no effect on me. You can tell the administrative law judge whatever you want about the technicalities of a heading or altitude instruction being a clearance to enter Class B. I believe that whether or not it's a clearance, it's not a clearance to enter Class B airspace. I don't plan to talk to administrative law judges.

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Here's the conclusion I have come to so far...being very new (30+ hours...almost soloing).

 

First, it's a great topic and extremely important as it has to do with not only violations, but collision avoidance. DISCLAIMER: I have not dug into the FAR's like you have (just yet)....nor do I have the experience that you have (just yet)...This is merely what a "newbie" would do for now after reading this thread.

 

I understand that asking to confirm clearance after hearing a heading and an altitude may sound redundant and may be "irrating" controllers; however I will do just that if I have any doubt in my mind whatsoever. How the controller feels about my transmission is the last thing I need to be thinking. How I feel, and what might happen if I create an emergency needs to be more important to me than the controller's feelings. In my training and general experience, If I am the one to blame if something goes wrong I must be the one responsible to ensure that it goes right (to the best of my ability). I've already "flustered" a couple controllers in Class C's and D's with "Say again"... however, I have told myself repeatedly that I will always ask/confirm and not be embarrased or intimidated to do so. I don't want to cause a bigger problem because my ego got in the way or the controller's feelings influenced my decision on whether to confirm or not.

 

I also understand that there may be situations where some of the pilots in this thread are accustomed to the same controller, same tower, same airport, etc...and they are "comfortable" with their "clearance". Maybe one day...I will have transitioned through MIA so many times with the same controller that I'll proceed with heading and altitude only, I don't know. In that case, I will probably get a hold of the tower while on the ground and ask them if the procedure that is being used is acceptable to them and within the regs.

 

The way I see it...as the pilot (or soon to be pilot) I am responsible for collision avoidance, I am also responsible to follow the instructions of the controller (as long as it does not directly jeopardize my safety, or that of my aircraft or passengers). Therefore, if I am not clear with the instruction or clearance I will ask for confirmation. That means that the gray area of "clearance" describe in this thread is based on my perception (as the pilot) of whether I am cleared or not (until some case law or other more specific info is presented as Joker says).

 

Joker & Gomer, I hope you can see that I am not avoiding your points at all...and also consider that I am writing from a very inexperienced platform (when it comes to piloting).

 

My point is...being that it is still unclear if an altitude and heading is a clearance or not (even though I agree it's almost obvious that it is a clearance)...And (as it seems right now) arguments can be made either way. I will proceed with confirming clearance if I deem it necessary.

 

Of course...this entire post is based on me soloing for 10 more hours and passing my PPL sometime in the near future and actually flying through MIA's Class B (I can't wait to confirm clearance...I'm actually hoping they give me an altitude and a heading so I can piss 'em off--- :lol: ).

 

Thanks for the time that all of you with experience take to help us all out...I believe this site and your posts are invalueable!!!

 

Mando

Miami, FL

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I have no hesitation. I don't give a rap what letters of agreement may or may not exist, nor do I care about having received a heading or altitude instruction. The only time I will ever enter Class B airspace without hearing "Cleared into the Class B" is if I'm on an IFR flight plan. IFR, the clearance is automatic. VFR, I have to hear the words. What you do is up to you. Your violation has no effect on me. You can tell the administrative law judge whatever you want about the technicalities of a heading or altitude instruction being a clearance to enter Class B. I believe that whether or not it's a clearance, it's not a clearance to enter Class B airspace. I don't plan to talk to administrative law judges.

 

 

My point exactly. If Joker has the time and a lawyer streak in him and he wants to prove ATC wrong by digging into the FARs and change the way pilots everywhere enter bravo, I respect that and would surely want his help to defend myself if I ever busted the airspace. However, my "lazy"stance is that communication between pilots and ATC is a partnership based on common conceptions (or maybe misconceptions in this case) of how clearance is given and received. If "the magic words" are a working part of this partnership than what point is served by fighting it other than to defend yourself after the fact? Confirming "cleared into bravo" is almost always quick and painless, leaves recorded proof of clearance, and will hopefully keep you from having to debate the FARs with an adminstrator. Is that lazy or just practical to think that way? I guess it just depends on your point of view and how much time you have on your hands. <_>

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Guest pokey

YEAR: 1991

AIRSPACE: ARSA ( remember those?)

PILOT: me w/ 300 hrs fixed wing 100 helicopter

 

This was my 1st time flying into this particular ARSA w/ my helicopter, been there a million times w/ my 150 tho, (well ok ok ok 1/2 million) (this is a 'condensed' version--so go easy on the "radiology please)

 

me: "approach, helicopter 3tf inbound landing w/ oscar"

 

approach: "3tf, radar contact 10 miles east, contact tower upon 5 mile final straight in runway for 25"

 

me: "roger approach 5 mile final, contact tower"

 

me: "tower, helicopter 3tf, 5 mile final for 25"

 

tower: "roger 3tf, proceed inbound for runway 25"

 

:blink: NOW HERE, i am thinking, hmmm in my 150 they usually clear me to land by this transmission :blink: & about as i am approaching the runway i request from tower: "tower? do i have clearance to land?"

 

tower: "3tf? what is your destination on the airport?"

 

me: "hangar seven sir"

 

tower: "3tf, i cannot clear you to land at a ramp"

 

now i'm getting nervous,,,, no clearance to land, am about 100 yards from the end of runway 25 :blink:

 

ME ! : "TOWER ! do i have clearance to land on runway 25?!",,,,, a few seconds went by,, (seemed like hours)

 

tower: "3tf, as i said, i cannot clear you to land over at the hangar 7 ramp"

 

me: "i understand that tower, do i have clearance to set this helicopter down on the numbers @ TWO FIVE & THEN contact ground for taxi instructions?"

 

tower: "3tf, clear to land 25, contact ground on blah,blah,,blahblah,,blah @ your discretion"

 

 

 

 

make them tell you what you want/need to hear ! :rolleyes:

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zemogman,

 

Good post. I agree with everything you said.

 

Whether I am right or wrong on the magic words, it is still such a grey area, that it is almost black and white! When you are not sure, don't take chances. Get a confirmation. Hear the magic words as you know that they work. I would still do that. Believe me, I'm not about to jepoardise my license based on my own hunch about a legal technicality that I can't even prove!!! I'm not that stupid. I hope no one reading this does so.

 

Actually, evidence is so overwhelmingly stacked against what I am saying, that I sometimes wonder myself! Yet, I believe my arguements are not unreasonable. So, still in no man's land.

 

This thread for me is an intellectual one. It gets me thinking, looking deep through the books etc..etc.. I'm not really that bothered about the outcome. As I said, I don't fly in the US anymore. I do hope that it gets people thinking, and realising the limitations of the FAR.

 

Gomer, thanks for your reply. Pretty direct. I'm not trying to change anyone here. Was just hoping for feedback on the issues raised, after having put much time in. That's all.

 

Others, same thing. Sorry if I have been curt with you. I guess I was just hoping for more to look at this whole issue critically, rather than simply tell me exactly what I would still do - that they'd just get a confirmation to avoid the sketchyness - does that make sense. At least Zenmogman made an effort at that. So TT, that's why your Post 15 pissed me off a little. No hard feelings?

 

OK, my last word is this:

 

A) On the magic phrase

 

7110.65 is the only place where I can find 'the magic words'. This document also accepts a controller saying 'Cleared as requested' as a means of acheiving the same clearance authorisation. So if I make a request that would penetrate Class B, and am told, "Cleared as requested," I am not going to ask for further confirmation. This is good enough for me. In other words, I do maintain that believing the requirement is to hear that exact phrase, "Cleared into Class Bravo" is wrong. Maybe we should talk of a single magic WORD instead. That is "CLEARED"

 

If the "regulation" required you hear those words the regulation would say: "The operator must receive an ATC clearance from the ATC facility having jurisdiction for that area before operating an aircraft in that area. That clearance must be worded 'NXXX cleared into Class B.' If ATC does not say those words, the operator must immediately turn around and run away."

B) On the heading / altitude assignment.

 

Nowhere, can I find an FAA indication that a pilot may enter based on a heading or atitude assignment. Although I have made (what I think) some reasonable aruguments for this (which could mitgate a pilot's incorrect penetration, and maybe even be grounds for acquittal in court) I cannot continue to propose that my assertion is right. Not at least until further evidence or some case law is found. In other words, I would not enter class Bravo on a heading or altitude assignment alone. Notwithstanding A above and only if it did not cause more problems*, I would seek further confirmation.

* That being said, it does lead us to question the scenario I put forth in Post 14 where you could be open for a violation of one rule whilst trying to comply with another. I guess you'd just have to argue 91.3(B) in this case.

 

i.e "M'lord / Your honnor! The airwaves were busy, and I couldn't get further confirmation. I was radar identified. So, if you insist I violated 91.131(a), then I insist I invoked my right and duty under 91.3(B) and continued with what I thought was the safer option - maintaining assigned heading and altitude, knowing that this would penetrate Class B airspace. I elected for that rather than interrupt the controller*, a course of action which would have resulted in meyhem in the air, as I believed he would have lost his concentration on other more pertinent matters."

 

I absolutely think the controller would rather you did this too, then start circling on the edge of his airspace waiting for a break in his communciation just to have him say magic words which are not required by regulations and don't appear anywhere in the FAR!

 

That should make clear my position on both issues.

So if anyone else cares to comment, then great. Otherwise, I think I have exhausted this one, until such a time as we get a definitive source.

 

Joker

 

P.S. I started off with the intention of a short post, and look. It just grew!

 

P.S.S. As I write, I am notified by email of an AD out for Enstrom!

 

Edited: TT and Pokey, thanks for posts. They came up as I was typing this one. I think my points still stand in light of what TT said. I see can see where you're coming from, and yes, I do go through periods with much time on my hand, but yes, I do have a genuine interest in this stuff too!

 

Pokey - Your story sounds like me early on trying to get a clearance to depart from the ramp. He wouldn't tell me I wasn't cleared, but wouldn't tell me I was either. Because it was a non-movement area he couldn't do that. I didn't know that at the time!

 

All he could do was say, "Depart at your discretion." This wasn't good enough for me - the green student who had been told to always get a clearance for departure and runway crossing. I tried and tried to get that clearance. In the end, I just went for it I think. As it happens, he was right and I was wrong. Checked it out at home and realised my mistake. (Can still remember the reference off my head AIM4-3-17(c )(3)!

Edited by joker

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joker

 

Of course no hard feelings. I just wanted to say that while I understand your need to satisfy yourself on an intellectual level, my satisfaction with the "it is what it is" point of view is just me being practical, not necessarily lazy. B)

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