When to contact Tower as per VNC

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Spinwmts
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When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by Spinwmts »

Sorry if this is a pretty newbie question; I was talking with my instructor the other day and he asked me if I had to contact Saskatoon ATC if I was following the below track. I said no only if I wished to enter the class D CZ. He said that was incorrect, I had to contact ATC prior to entering the terminal area of Saskatoon. From the VNC, I do not see any requirement to contact ATC. Is there anyway to determine this requirement from the VNC? Winnipeg terminal area contact requirements is defined very clearly on the VNC as well as the TAC but not so much for the Saskatoon.
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Pilotdaddy
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by Pilotdaddy »

Are you cruising between 700 and 2900? If so, you're in the class E transition, no?
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Last edited by Pilotdaddy on Wed Feb 26, 2020 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

doplemosh
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by doplemosh »

From what i can see in every chart i have, you wouldn't need permission to enter the class E Airspace.

However i would recommend talking to Tower or Centre in order to have traffic separation from the aircraft transitioning to and from the training areas denoted to the south, and from any IFR traffic on approach.
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Spinwmts
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by Spinwmts »

Actually I would be at 5500. It's just that I don't see any specific indication on the VNC to contact Saskatoon. If you go down to Regina its the same exact airspace but there is no requirement to contact Regina unless you are planning on entering the control CZ. I agree it would be wise either way to get traffic separation.
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ahramin
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by ahramin »

It's class E, no requirement for a clearance or for radio contact VFR. Best practice would be to request flight following but that's up to the specific controller, if they say no then you just proceed no contact anyway.
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digits_
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by digits_ »

To clarify: you were flight planning a VFR flight, right?
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Spinwmts
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by Spinwmts »

Yep, this was just for flight planning for the CPL flight test Nav portion. Well I'm glad to see I'm not going crazy as it is clearly class E. My instructor seemed pretty adamant that you had to talk to someone though. He's a great instructor and is the kinda guy who considers best practice a standing rule so maybe that's what he was getting at.
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CpnCrunch
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by CpnCrunch »

Spinwmts wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:02 am
Yep, this was just for flight planning for the CPL flight test Nav portion. Well I'm glad to see I'm not going crazy as it is clearly class E. My instructor seemed pretty adamant that you had to talk to someone though. He's a great instructor and is the kinda guy who considers best practice a standing rule so maybe that's what he was getting at.
Ask him to show you where it says you need to contact ATC, or if it's just a recommendation to get flight following. Like others have said, I don't see any requirement.
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Spinwmts
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by Spinwmts »

CpnCrunch wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:28 am
Ask him to show you where it says you need to contact ATC, or if it's just a recommendation to get flight following. Like others have said, I don't see any requirement.
Yeah I'll definitely do that. Thanks!
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Pilotdaddy
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by Pilotdaddy »

Right... Class E doesn't need radio comms. I was thinking it's a controlled airspace hence radio comms. I know that ATC provides traffic separation for IFR aircraft, but without comms, is it safe to say that VFR traffic in class E isn't controlled?
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Pilotdaddy
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by Pilotdaddy »

Side topic, where's a good boundary when it's recommended to contact ATC when merely just passing through and not landing on a class D? Passing through 1000ft above the control zone, will a call be recommended? What about 2000ft? What about passing through to the side say 10NM outside of the class D radius?
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TurkeyFarmYQX
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by TurkeyFarmYQX »

I usually will contact tower within 2000ft over their zone and within 10 miles of the tower.
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doplemosh
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by doplemosh »

Pilotdaddy wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 11:36 am
Side topic, where's a good boundary when it's recommended to contact ATC when merely just passing through and not landing on a class D? Passing through 1000ft above the control zone, will a call be recommended? What about 2000ft? What about passing through to the side say 10NM outside of the class D radius?
If you already have flight following, dont bother calling the tower. You already have tfc advisories, and Ctr and Twr know what each other are doing (for the most part).

If you are just on 126.7 and passing by, i'd consider monitoring twr fq within 10nm, as this is where most initial fixes s are for the RNAV approaches into most airports. As for contacting them if you're just passing by, no hard rules, but if they sound overloaded - stay out of their way, they know youre there. If nothing is happening on fq, i'd give them a courtesy call and position report.

I've had mixed experiences calling class C and D towers when just passing by. Some have been helpful and thanked me for tuning in, and others have told me to f*ck off because i'm not in their airspace. So now i follow my guide above.
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Spinwmts
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by Spinwmts »

doplemosh wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:20 pm
I've had mixed experiences calling class C and D towers when just passing by. Some have been helpful and thanked me for tuning in, and others have told me to f*ck off because i'm not in their airspace. So now i follow my guide above.

Yeah I've had similar experiences . I would be more likely to call them up if I were over flying their CZ. I tend to only call up when its required now. When I was flying in the states flight following was encouraged which allowed you to transit through pretty hectic airspace. Once I got cleared right over Dulles Airport (Class B) as a student pilot. That was pretty sweet!
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Pilotdaddy
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by Pilotdaddy »

Thanks Dople.

Spin, are you implying that radar services are not encouraged here in Canada? And how did you make it all the way there as a student pilot? Guessing you did your training there?
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Spinwmts
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by Spinwmts »

Yeah its definitely been my experience that flight following (at least in the Prairies) is not encouraged. I've heard some folks out east say it is used it a little more (Toronto area etc). I started flying and got my PPL down there then came up here after meeting a girl. But in the states if you were training, it was SOP to tune to flight following after departure and stick with them for all XC flights.
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digits_
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by digits_ »

That's because in big parts of the prairie provinces, there *is* no low level radar...
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by photofly »

Spinwmts wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:25 pm
But in the states if you were training, it was SOP to tune to flight following after departure and stick with them for all XC flights.
The US has no equivalent to 126.7 or regional Common Traffic Advisory Frequencies.

Even around Toronto - as soon as you're 45 minutes north of the GTA you're off the radar at the height of a typical student cross country, and no flight following is available. Turning the radio off and just flying with your eyes open can be an unalloyed pleasure.
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by A346Dude »

Spinwmts wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:02 am
Yep, this was just for flight planning for the CPL flight test Nav portion. Well I'm glad to see I'm not going crazy as it is clearly class E. My instructor seemed pretty adamant that you had to talk to someone though. He's a great instructor and is the kinda guy who considers best practice a standing rule so maybe that's what he was getting at.
There's a difference between "good practices" and the law, and there should always be a clear differentiation between the two. Either your instructor doesn't know how to read the chart, doesn't know what Class E is, or is blurring the lines between things when they really should not be blurred. A less knowledgeable student would take the wrong lesson out of this exchange, and wouldn't understand the rules going forward.
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robshelle
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by robshelle »

Flight instructor and Class C ATC here, my 2 bits.
It is solidly Class E, no contact is required. However, at your selected cruising altitude you would be flying through an approach that may be active, hence the Mode C requirement. I would teach my flight students that a courtesy call to the tower would be in order, it will get you an altimeter setting and ask for winds as well.
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lhalliday
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by lhalliday »

Legally, no contact required.

In practice, a courtesy call to let them know you're there and what your intentions are.

...laura
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CpnCrunch
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by CpnCrunch »

At the very least it's probably worth monitoring the frequency, so you can hear if you're being mentioned as conflicting traffic.
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Spinwmts
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by Spinwmts »

A346Dude wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 7:29 pm
There's a difference between "good practices" and the law, and there should always be a clear differentiation between the two.
Totally agree. I understand what he was getting at but I was asked if I was "required" to contact Saskatoon during that phase of my trip. I'm such a literal guy. My answer was short and to the point "NO" but I probably should have elaborated that "while technically its not a requirement, it would be highly advisable to make the courtesy call since I'm flying through an approach path."
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CpnCrunch
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by CpnCrunch »

Spinwmts wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:16 pm

Totally agree. I understand what he was getting at but I was asked if I was "required" to contact Saskatoon during that phase of my trip. I'm such a literal guy. My answer was short and to the point "NO" but I probably should have elaborated that "while technically its not a requirement, it would be highly advisable to make the courtesy call since I'm flying through an approach path."
The more training you get, and the more knowledge you acquire, the more you'll realise that your instructors (and examiners) don't have all the answers and they're sometimes wrong.

I almost didn't get my instrument rating flight test done because the examiner was wrong about how many instrument hours were required from an instructor. By sheer luck I had just enough hours from instructors to fulfil his incorrect notion of the rules. I've also had instructors tell me that the 172 has a "maximum" 15kt crosswind component, journey log is required to be on board for flights > 25nm landing at the home airport, instructors not knowing how to work the DME correctly, etc.

Also, flight schools sometimes have their own odd rules on top of the CARs, e.g. landings on 300nm x/c must be full-stop otherwise they won't sign off on it, etc. (That one almost got me as well, but I just sent the documentation to TC without getting an AP signoff, and they were happy enough).

I don't bother getting into an argument about this stuff...I just ask why they think that, and then look it up myself (and sometimes ask here on avcanada like you did, to check that I'm not crazy). Although if I was going to miss out on my flight test I'd probably have a more in-depth discussion with the examiner!
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Spinwmts
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Re: When to contact Tower as per VNC

Post by Spinwmts »

CpnCrunch wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:59 pm
I don't bother getting into an argument about this stuff...I just ask why they think that, and then look it up myself
Yep, that's a great approach to take. Pick up the good habits/tips and incorporate it into your flying and move on. Instructors vary considerably when it comes to routines in the cockpit and if I fly with a new one I can guarantee he/she will do something different from the way I do things and I'm sure I'll get a hand slap for that, but such is life when flying Dual/SIC i guess.
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