Ep. 44: Landing at Class C Airport | ATC Radio Communications


So today we’re going to look at flying from
the Venice airport which is a class G airport or often referred to as a class E airport. The Echo airspace starts 700 feet above the
surface, so we’re taking off from Golf airspace, we’re going to be flying north about 20 miles
to Class Charlie airspace at Sarasota International. We’re going to look at all the radio calls,
all the steps to take to get you into that Class Charlie airspace, all the way to a landing
at the Class Charlie airport, and also taxied into the ramp, and how to request those taxi
instructions, how to understand them and how to read a taxiway diagram. Alright so before we depart Venice here on
runway 23 and heads towards Sarasota, the first thing we’re going to go ahead and do
is switch over to the Sarasota ATC. So we’re going to have that all dialed up
at 124.37, so we’re going from a Golf airport, a pilot-controlled airport, no tower, to a
Class Charlie airport. And of course, there’s Echo airspace that
starts at 700 feet above us that doesn’t really affect us any. Once we climb up we’ll get the ATC for Sarasota,
listen to that, get the information for the airport, and then we’ll go ahead an contact
approach as our next step before we proceed inbound to the airport. We’ll go ahead and check for any conflicting
traffic, and make our radio call. “This is traffic Cherokee 9907 Whiskey departing
runway 23, conflicting traffic, please advise– Venice.” We’ll set ten flaps for takeoff. We’ll get lined up with the runway and roll
our controls over to the left because we have that left crosswind coming in. We’ll start with our controls all the way
over to the left and slowly roll them back to neutral as we accelerate. We used just enough of that left aileron to
pick up speed as we hold that left wing down to keep from getting picked up, and the controls,
of course, become a lot more effective as we speed up here. Airspeeds are live, gauges in the green. Slowly rolling those controls back to neutral,
using a little bit of right rudder to maintain direction. Easing in a little bit of back pressure as
we come up to 60, and as we pass through 60 we rotate, and we’re up. Climbing for 85 miles per hour. Looking for traffic, the sky looks clear. And we’re climbing straight up as we climb
up to 500 feet that’s where we’re going to make our very first turn. Today we’re heading north so we’re going to
make a turn towards the north at 500 feet. We’re clear on the right. We’re going to go ahead and start making that
right hand turn with the right aileron and right rudder. We’re banked just the amount I want so I’m
going to set my ailerons to neutral and just hold this bank all through the turn. And I really don’t need much pressure at all
just barely touching the controls with just a few fingers on them to hold the airplane
where I want her. We’re still climbing at 85 as we come around
to follow the coastline north here, we’ll go ahead and level out with some left aileron,
and a little bit of left rudder. Alright, so we are up out of Venice, we’re
going to go ahead and make our departure call, and I’m going to make some little S-turns
here as we’re climbing to make sure there’s no traffic in front of us. “This is traffic Cherokee departing to the
North– Venice.” Traffic looks clear, we’re going to climb
up to 1600 feet today for our initial altitude, and go ahead and listen to the Sarasota ATC. “This is airport information Golf at observation
time 18532. 150 @11. Visibility 10. Air conditions few clouds, 5000. Temperature 28/19. Altitude at 30.00. Landing and departing at runways 14 and 22. Ground control on frequency 121.9. All aircraft runway assignments and hold for
instructions with your call signs.” Alright, we have information from Golf, we’re
going to go ahead and reduce power here and push my nose forward as we come up to 1600
feet for our initial cruise altitude. And I’m pushing forward kinda hard as we accelerate
here. I’m going to use my trim, I’m going to unscrew
my lightbulb so that we can trim nose down, and I’m not trimming to go down or to go up,
I’m trimming to relieve the control pressure. I’m pushing forward and I want to stop pushing
forward. So I just want to turn that knob up there
until I don’t feel like I’m pushing or pulling on the controls any longer. It’s not about trying to trim nose down to
go down a little bit because that’ll just make you speed up. And as you speed up you generate more lift
and eventually, you’ll start climbing again. So we want to just simply trim to relieve
control pressure, hold the airplane where you want her, trim to relieve that pressure
that you’re using. Don’t trim to go up or down. Use power to go up or down. Power for altitude, pitch for airspeed, and
trim is a factor of pitch. Alright, we’ll go ahead and contact Tampa
approach as our next frequency. And we’re about 15 miles outside of Sarasota
so that’s a good distance to call. We like to call 20 miles out but we’re already
within 20 miles when we took off out of Venice. “Tampa approach. Cherokee 99 071.” “Number 156ET Tampa Approach you can proceed
directly to Sarasota. If you’d like runway 22, it’s available.” And so we call first with just our call sign
just to get his attention, we don’t want to give him a whole spiel all at once because
clearly, he’s very busy. He’ll call us back when he’s ready. Now the key is to remember that we have two-way
radio communication established before we enter his airspace. Before we enter the Charlie airspace, he has
to acknowledge us by name. He doesn’t have to clear us in the airspace,
but he must acknowledge us by name. We’ll see if we can call him back here again. “9907Whiskey Tampa approach, go ahead.” “It’s Cherokee 9907Whiskey approximately 15
miles south of Sarasota international in-bound for landing with Golf.” “9907Whiskey, radio contact squawk with 0164
and climb to 2100.” “0164 in the box and to 2100 07Whiskey.” So he wants to bring us a little bit higher
to try and clear the air. “07Whiskey, Sarasota Golf expect right traffic
runway 14.” “We’ll expect right traffic runway 14, 07
Whiskey.” So he’s got us going up to 2100 feet to get
some traffic below us passed underneath us. He read us back the altender we want to make
sure we read back the altender because that’s a required readback. So we have our altender set right, 2998, so
we’re not going to be too low or too high. We have a good separation between aircraft
and importantly terrain. We need a good separation between terrain. He told us to expect right traffic on runway
14. If we were to lose radio communications we
would just simply enter right traffic on runway 14 and look for a signal from the tower. Again, as we come up here to 2100 feet, all
I did to climb was just add in power. That means we’re just going to climb to the
exact same airspace that we were trimmed for. I don’t have to push or pull. I’m going to go ahead and push forward a little
bit here and reduce power and that’ll help us stop our climb a little sooner, and since
we were trimmed out nice for a level flight before, we should still be trimmed for level
flight right now. And we are– I don’t have to push or pull
at all, we’re staying right here, level at 2100. He didn’t give me a heading, he just said
expect right traffic. I’m going to go ahead and follow the shoreline
and maybe bear a little bit to the right, a little bit inland to the east, rather than
just following the shoreline directly. But you can expect things like “follow the
shoreline,” or “fly heading at 330” that keeps you slightly away from the airport to give
extra room between you and other arrivals and departures coming in and out of Sarasota. Our only restriction is 2100. We’ll wait for him to tell us lower. If we never got lower, and we were still at
2100 and we were real close to the airport, real close to the runway, as soon as we get
a landing clearance, that is what gives us permission to descend out of 2100. Once you are cleared to land, that is as good
as clearance of an altitude restriction so that you can actually maneuver forward normally. It is very possible that they will hold you
at 2100 for too long and get you very close to the airport and you’re still up way too
high to make a good landing. You can either extend out, extend out the
downwind, or you could simply let the tower know that if they told you to turn in tight
or told you to turn right already, then you can just let them know, “Hey, look I’m too
high. I need to either go around or I need to make
a 360 out here– a left 360, a right 360– so I can go ahead and descend down to a normal
altitude before I get lined up for my landing.” As we’re flying in here we’re going to go
ahead and pull out our approach checklist. We have our ASL name, we have our altender
set, our approach brief. We’re going to be making a full stop landing
on runway 14 expecting right traffic. Our common nav is set our fuel section valve
is set to the fullest tank. And our strobe lighting light is on. Our strobe light is off since it’s broad daylight
and it won’t do as much good. We’re just trying to save that lightbulb. And our seats are locked, our seatbelts are
on. “07 Whiskey traffic 12 o’clock 4 miles turning
westbound, climbing out of 1500 climbing to your altitude.” “Looking for traffic 07 Whiskey.” And so we have traffic at 12 o’clock, and
he said he was climbing out of 1500 to 2100, and I believe I have him in sight there. I’m going to go ahead and report that traffic
sight. With the radio this busy, I won’t even bother
reporting that traffic sight because he’s no factor for us. We’re VFR so we’re responsible for our own
separation, and if I can’t get a word in edgewise, there’s no sense in me clogging up the frequency
just to report traffic sight. There’s a little break here. “07Whiskey traffic sight.” We let him know. Part of the reason why you do want to let
him know if you have traffic in sight if you’re able is because like he said, I’ll have lower
here for you shortly. Meaning I’ll let you descend here shortly. Basically, he’s holding us up at this altitude
until he knows that we have all the other traffic in sight and he can bring us down
and that we’ll maintain visual separation between us and the other traffic. We’re responsible for our own separation. He’s helping but we’re responsible ultimately. He wants to make sure that we’re going to
do a good job of separating ourselves from other traffic. And again, I wasn’t given a heading, I wasn’t
given a fall to shoreline clearance, I was just told to expect right traffic, so I’m
flying towards the airport to get myself lined up for a right downwind for runway 14. I’m still maintaining 2100 until I hear otherwise. And I’m just using this guy right here to hold myself level. This panel in relation to the horizon looking
out far ahead. I’ll also maintain my level flight attitude,
and I can also use my peripherals, my wingtips in relation to the horizon to tell if I’m
level or not. Alright, so we’re on a pretty wide right downwind. Still about 2.5 to 3 miles from the airport
on a right downwind for 14 at 2100, so we’re pretty high. But better high than low. We’re going to turn a little bit more towards
the airport and get us a little closer to a tighter right downwind. “Standby be right with you. Controller change in progress.” So he said controller change in progress. That’s a bad time to call him if you do have
any questions for him because he’s trying to brief the other controller on all the other
airplanes he was working, and now the other guy is trying to get briefed, understand what’s
going on in the sky, and then sit down and take the chair for him so the other guy can
go to the bathroom or take a little break. Don’t be surprised if sometimes you’re talking
to a controller, and all of a sudden the voice changes– you were talking to a male controller,
and now your talking to a female controller– and what happened? They simply just change shifts. We’ll go ahead and dial up 120.1 since that
is our tower frequency and we want to have everything set up so as soon as we’re given
that change over to the tower we can just hit the key and be right over to Sarasota
tower. “07Whiskey are you starting the downwind turn?” “07Whiskey affirm on the right for runway
14.” “07Whiskey Rodger. Be sure to maintain 1600. The traffic you’re following is going to climb
down to 1000.” “07Whiskey looking for traffic 07Whiskey.” Alright, we’re looking to follow some traffic
here– don’t have it in sight just yet. We’re just going to reduce power, we don’t
push or pull again, we just reduce power. We’re trimmed for the right airspeed and we
just descend down nice and easy about 400-500 down to 1600 feet. “07Whiskey the Seminole is just passing off
to your right. Proceed inbound to runway 14, contact that
tower.” “Hello, Contact Tower on 20.1. Traffic sight 07Whiskey.” Alright, we got traffic in sight of my right
wing. He’s way below us. We’re going to go ahead and reduce more power
so we can start descending even more. And we’re going to go ahead and make our right
base as he passes us on the final approach. “Sarasota Tower, Cherokee 07Whiskey, runway
14.” “Cherokee 9907Whiskey Sarasota Tower runway
14 clear to land, number 2, following a Seminole.” “Clear to land runway 14, number 2, 9907Whiskey.” We’ll want to use our full call sign if he’s
using our full call sign. We’re on our right base here and this is not
really a normal traffic pattern that we’ve been flying but we’re going to go ahead and
slow down to 80 here. We’ll go ahead and give ourselves some nose-up
trim to help with that. And we can go ahead and put on our fuel pump
and pull our first 10 degrees of flaps. We’ll roll on to final and we’re still awfully
high here. We’re on about a 2.5 mile final, and were
at over a thousand feet, still 1300. We’ll go ahead and reduce our power even more
here. We’ll do our last final check and make sure
gas is on the fullest tank, flaps are set, and throttle is set.Still got flaps to go.We’ve
got two more notches if we need them. We flying at 80, we’ve got a little bit of
a right crosswind here, so we’re slightly to the right. And we’ve got four white lights out there
showing us we’re way high. We’re at 1000 feet and we’re at 1.5 mile final. That is way high. We’ll go ahead and pull 25 degrees of flaps. I don’t want to reduce my power all of the
way to idle here and just lower my nose at the ground, and try to descend down without
any power because that could be a lot of cooling on the engine actually since we were flying
so hot up high, and now we’re going to shock cool it and cool it down too quickly. We want to keep the engine actually producing
power and actually create some drag instead. That’ll keep the cylinders warm and let them
cool down at a much lower rate than shock cooling them and possibly causing some kind
of metal fatigue cracking over time. And especially important to remember here
as we touch down to roll out, we’re going to expect to hear either instruction to vacate
the runway. Or we’re simply going to vacate the runway
and we’ll know where we’re going and he’ll probably hand us off to ground. If he’s really busy we probably won’t get
that ground handoff. He’ll just have us stay with him. And the most important thing is we are cleared
to land. We heard we were clear to land and we know
we’re clear to land. If we were short final and we were unsure,
simply call them back. “Hey is 07Whiskey clear to land?” And he’ll let you know. It is possible that sometimes they do forget
to clear you to land. they might give you instructions to turn right
face, and never clear you. Again coming in for landing here, we’re descending
down to glide path, looking good, just one hand on controls, nice light grip, the nose
is off to the right. I’m going to go ahead and get started bringing
it to the left with some left rudder. I’m putting my right wing down a little bit. Small corrections. We’re going to be down on the right wheel
first. Looking all the way down that runway, power’s
out. And we’re rolling all the way over to the
right with the controls as we finish out the landing, we’ll go ahead and slow down, and
we’ll make Charlie 2 here on the left. And if we don’t get instruction we can turn
off at whatever taxiway we’d like. We just want to vacate that runway as soon
as practical. We’ll go ahead and get our tail across this
hold short line here. And we’ll set the parking break here. We’ll go ahead and call the tower and let
them know we’re going, and also do our after-landing checklist. “Sarasota Tower 07Whiskey is going to taxi
north. “07Whiskey contact ground .9. See you later.” ” Ground .9 07Whiskey.” Alright, he handed us off to ground. We’re not going to call ground just yet, we’re
going to dial ground 121.9. He said ground .9 and this is a really interesting
fact: Most ground control frequencies start with 121. The vast majority in fact, like 98 or 99 percent
of them. Very few airports have ground set on something
else besides 121-point-something. So “Ground .1” would be 121.1. “Ground .7” would be 121.7. Probably not going to contact “Ground .5”
because 121.5 is our emergency frequency. So Ground on 121.9, we’ll put that into active. And we’re going to go ahead and do our after
landing checklist. Our flaps are retracted, our strobes and landing
lights are off, our fuel pump is off, our trim is set to our takeoff position, and our
com radio is set to 121.9, and I’m going to go ahead and open up our door here and get
a little air since it’s pretty toasty here in Florida. We’re
going to go ahead and ask them to taxi retrics north. They’re going to tell us to taxi via looks
like GHF but we’re going to go ahead and confirm on our taxiway diagram. Pull it up on our phone or tablet, or if we
had printed it up before we left. And finally, we’ll get a word in edgewise
here. “Sarasota Ground 07Whiskey cleared on runway
14 at Charlie 2 taxi retrics north.” “Cherokee 9907Whiskey Sarasota Ground, taxi
to retrics north straight ahead on Golf, left on Hotel Foxtrot.” “Straight ahead on Golf, left on Hotel Foxtrot
07Whiskey.” Alright, so that checks out with what we expected
what we looked at our map and expected to get. So we’re straight ahead on Golf. We see Golf taxiway here. If we were unsure in any way, shape, or form
if we didn’t know where Golf started or ended, or how to get there, or where we were even,
we would just say, “I’m unfamiliar with the airport, and I’m requesting a progressive
taxi.” And they’ll give you step by step directions,
watch you every step of the way, make sure you don’t make a wrong turn somewhere, and
they’ll tell you, “Alright, you’re coming up Golf to Hotel here. Hotel’s going to be your next one. Make a left turn on Hotel. Foxtrot’s going to be your next one. Make a right turn onto Foxtrot.”

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