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Author Topic: Radio Avoidance  (Read 2077 times)

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hotrod180

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2017, 09:15:38 AM »
My understanding is that Whidbey has military radar, which picks up RCS (aka "skin paints"),
but civilian ATC facilities' radar is designed to pick up transponder returns.
So Whidbey would be able to pick up a non-ranspndered aircraft, even a tube-and-fabric one, whereas Seattle Center might not.

groupw

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2017, 12:16:01 PM »
I've had a few slightly gruff conversations with Whidbey approach and because of that I've asked a few other towers around a question:    If I'm flying over your airspace or near it but not actually in it, would you prefer I talk to you or not?

McChord:  Prefer not
Whidbey: Prefer not

. . . .

That's interesting. A few years ago a Whidbey controller gave a talk at the Puyallup aviation conference. He emphasized several times that they want you to contact them whenever you're even near their airspace. Besides giving them a better view of local traffic, he said that the number of aircraft they handle helps determine whether they stay in business and how much of some other benefits they get.

Roy

hotrod180

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2017, 05:29:20 PM »
Kida depends on how busy they are.
Besides their own military operations, Whidbey controllers handle the normal ATC duties for airliners & other IFR traffic for their sector
plus all the VFR bug-smashers headed to and from the San Juans.
It can get real busy-- in fact, I've heard "aircraft calling Whidbey approach, remain clear of the class charlie" on many occasions when they apparently just can't keep up.
I've very seldom heard any gruffness, except when a pilot is obviously screwing the pooch.
If you want gruffness & sarcasm, fly a little farther north to KBLI and try their controllers on for size.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2017, 05:31:07 PM by hotrod180 »

mirafone

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2017, 05:50:23 PM »
I've heard from some pilot peers that Bellingham's ATC has gotten friendlier recently, though I completely agree that in the past, Bellingham was not the friendliest to talk with.
David Wyatt

N2408X C182 KPAE
Commercial Pilot ASEL
WPA and AOPA Member

mirafone

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2017, 05:51:10 PM »
I've heard from some pilot peers that Bellingham's ATC has gotten friendlier recently, though I completely agree that in the past, Bellingham was not the friendliest to talk with.
David Wyatt

N2408X C182 KPAE
Commercial Pilot ASEL
WPA and AOPA Member

Domenick

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2017, 08:31:01 AM »
A decade ago I overflew Olympia (OLM). I had been monitoring OLM frequency for some time. I contacted the tower a few miles out to let them know I was going to overfly at 3500 MSL. Guy was gruff. Said, he didn't care since I was out of his airspace. Maybe I woke him from a nap.
Domenick
PA-28-161
Snohomish, WA, Harvey Field, S43

groupw

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2017, 10:53:29 AM »
My understanding is that Whidbey has military radar, which picks up RCS (aka "skin paints"),
but civilian ATC facilities' radar is designed to pick up transponder returns.
So Whidbey would be able to pick up a non-ranspndered aircraft, even a tube-and-fabric one, whereas Seattle Center might not.
I know that Class C PDX has both -- once my transponder malfunctioned while transitioning through their airspace, and they said they had located me with their primary (the military type) radar. It would be logical that Whidbey would have both like PDX -- being military installations (PDX hosts the Air National Guard) they should be equipped to spot hostile aircraft. But my guess is that, like hotrod speculates, primary radar isn't generally available elsewhere along the ATC corridors.

Hi, Will -- my 4 years in the Air Force were spent repairing the AC&W radars whose scopes you were watching.

Roy

will moffitt

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2017, 05:07:00 PM »
Tube duster Roy:

I was at Selfridge near Detroit and Calumet on Lake Superior.  Good times.  1966-1970.

Scope Dope Will

mneuman

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2017, 05:10:29 PM »
I've had traffic called out as "primary target only" by both center and approach controllers, so I'm guessing most sites have (had?) that ability. In one case, it was a huge flock of birds that the radar was picking up. In another, it was an airplane.

Ddayle

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2017, 06:46:24 PM »
I have only talked to Whidbey a few times but they were always nice,,,I fly thru McCord almost every yr near my birthday,,, I  was Born on base,  and served in the 318th there.  I like to circle my birthplace near what is now the museum... they always have been very friendly.  I have also informed towers that  was transiting near their airspace and on their freq,,  OLY & TIW.  the only time a tower  had words with  me was when i came in to BFi in a 182 without a radio on a 7500 code (oops) .
Flying Juliette.  a borrowed 150

Pneuma

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2017, 03:10:10 PM »
I've had a few slightly gruff conversations with Whidbey approach and because of that I've asked a few other towers around a question:    If I'm flying over your airspace or near it but not actually in it, would you prefer I talk to you or not?

McChord:  Prefer not
Whidbey: Prefer not

. . . .

That's interesting. A few years ago a Whidbey controller gave a talk at the Puyallup aviation conference. He emphasized several times that they want you to contact them whenever you're even near their airspace. Besides giving them a better view of local traffic, he said that the number of aircraft they handle helps determine whether they stay in business and how much of some other benefits they get.

Roy

Roy,

I 100% agree with your statement.  Whidbey wants to talk to you and to keep you safe.  Heard the same from Puyallup.

Pneuma

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2017, 03:15:15 PM »
I generally always call to let them know I'm overflying even if I don't have to.  On a couple of occasions when overflying Whidbey they asked me not to overfly the airfield due to some operations going on, something I wouldn't have been aware of had I not contacted them.  Can't hurt to communicate.

I have been asked not to overfly the field at less than 2500', but being above the airspace, it's hard to imagine how they can tell you not to overfly without issuing a TFR.

This will make it easier to imagine:

FDC 4/0811 SPECIAL NOTICE
THIS IS A RESTATEMENT OF A PREVIOUSLY ISSUED ADVISORY NOTICE.
IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY AND TO THE EXTENT PRACTICABLE, PILOTS ARE
STRONGLY ADVISED TO AVOID THE AIRSPACE ABOVE, OR IN PROXIMITY TO SUCH SITES AS
POWER PLANTS (NUCLEAR, HYDRO-ELECTRIC, OR COAL), DAMS, REFINERIES, INDUSTRIAL
COMPLEXES, MILITARY FACILITIES AND OTHER SIMILAR FACILITIES. PILOTS SHOULD NOT
CIRCLE AS TO LOITER IN THE VICINITY OVER THESE TYPES OF FACILITIES.
WIE UNTIL UFN

JMPilot

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2017, 10:11:59 AM »
I fly out of Bellingham and contact Whidbey Approach regularly. Thus far I have never had a negative experience from them. When I do contact them, I do it with the assumption they will give me FF whether I am in their airspace or not. I'm pretty sure they do a lot of ATC training there and welcome the work from us small fry. If you are just going to fly near but not in their airspace and think it would be good to let them know, why not just go the next step and request FF. No reason not to if your giving them a call anyway. It doesn't have to be a conversation with them. Just something like.. "Whidbey Approach, Skyhawk 2256T 6 miles south of KBLI, VFR to Paine Field" will do the trick. They will immediately issue you a squawk code and your good to go..(unless for some reason they are too busy...rare).  Once you are getting past their airspace and you are going on your way to some distant airport, they might ask you if you would like to be handed off to Seattle Center. Anyway, I never hesitate to call them. Just know what you going to say before you click the mic.

As for Bellingham, again I have never had a real issue with the controllers. I use them multiple times a week. It can get very busy there on weekends and they do not have radar service. They will get a little short with you if you assume they have you on radar. So,...make sure you know where you are and where the landmarks are like "shoreline" or "Chuckanut Shore", Eliza Island or Nooksack River". If you don't know these landmarks be sure to inform them that you are "unfamiliar". Further, since they do not have radar, they appreciate it when if you are flying near their airspace but not IN their airspace you give them a call anyway to alert them. Remember, they have 737's and Airbuses coming in on a regular basis but without radar, so it's good to let them know you are near especially if you are north or south of the field.

hotrod180

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2017, 08:34:06 AM »
I fly out of Bellingham and contact Whidbey Approach regularly. Thus far I have never had a negative experience from them. When I do contact them, I do it with the assumption they will give me FF whether I am in their airspace or not. .....
....make sure you know where you are and where the landmarks are like "shoreline" or "Chuckanut Shore", Eliza Island or Nooksack River". If you don't know these landmarks be sure to inform them that you are "unfamiliar"....

Navy Whidbey has their class C airspace, and they have their ATC airspace-- and the two are not the same thing.
 If you are not in their ATC airspace, or will soon be departing it, they generally don't want to give you radar service (aka "flight following"). I'm not sure exactly where their ATC airspace boundaries are but it's  probably charted online somewhere.
It is larger than their class C airspace however.

Apparently towers are sorta like local pilots, who like to use local homeboy landmarks.
Of the ones you listed, other than "shoreline" which is pretty self-explanatory,
the only landmark you mentioned which is shown on the sectional is Eliza Island.
It's even flagged indicating that it's a preferred reporting point.
Chuckanut Shore, Nutsack River, etc are a mystery to those of us who aren't locals.
The San Juans seem esp bad that way -- Thatcher Pass, Fisherman Bay, American Camp, Iceberg Point, etc.
I could rattle off a number of homeboy reporting points myself from my own airport, which no one except another local would know.

JMPilot

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Re: Radio Avoidance
« Reply #29 on: July 19, 2017, 11:10:54 AM »
I fly out of Bellingham and contact Whidbey Approach regularly. Thus far I have never had a negative experience from them. When I do contact them, I do it with the assumption they will give me FF whether I am in their airspace or not. .....
....make sure you know where you are and where the landmarks are like "shoreline" or "Chuckanut Shore", Eliza Island or Nooksack River". If you don't know these landmarks be sure to inform them that you are "unfamiliar"....

Navy Whidbey has their class C airspace, and they have their ATC airspace-- and the two are not the same thing.
 If you are not in their ATC airspace, or will soon be departing it, they generally don't want to give you radar service (aka "flight following"). I'm not sure exactly where their ATC airspace boundaries are but it's  probably charted online somewhere.
It is larger than their class C airspace however.

Apparently towers are sorta like local pilots, who like to use local homeboy landmarks.
Of the ones you listed, other than "shoreline" which is pretty self-explanatory,
the only landmark you mentioned which is shown on the sectional is Eliza Island.
It's even flagged indicating that it's a preferred reporting point.
Chuckanut Shore, Nutsack River, etc are a mystery to those of us who aren't locals.
The San Juans seem esp bad that way -- Thatcher Pass, Fisherman Bay, American Camp, Iceberg Point, etc.
I could rattle off a number of homeboy reporting points myself from my own airport, which no one except another local would know.
I am fully with you on the "homeboy" reporting technique often used, and yes I fly the San Juans regularly and I still don't know where Thatcher Pass or Fisherman Bay (among others) is. In the San Juans I try to always give a miles/direction along with any landmark I might use.

As for my use of Sandy Point,  Chuckanut Shore, or "Nutsack"  ::) etc.. That advice was specifically meant for when talking with "BLI Tower." They do know where these "homeboy" landmarks are and appreciate it when you include them in your initial call up. They themselves will often ask you to report "shorline, or crossing the river, passing the Casino, or over the marina, etc.. After I became based out of BLI I learned by experience what landmarks they like to use, and thus began to use the same landmarks when contacting them. As you stated, I think the only designated landmark is "Eliza Island" that's close to BLI. To know some of the other landmarks is also helpful, to the Tower.  If there is any question as to "miles away" such as the long Chuckanut shoreline, I will also include the miles. This way, if I report Sandy Point, and you report North Lummi, we are both reporting about 9 miles west, but now the Tower knows exactly where we are in relation to each other, and will immediately alert each of us, or vector one of us away from the other. When no tower is involved, I am with you 100% on the obscure landmarks that are always thrown out there and it is a pet peeve of mine when that method is used too much with the assumption that are all "locals".   ....maybe see you at Concrete. I'll be near the "Trailhead by the Pond"  :D
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